Academic Year Undergraduate Research Grants

Academic Year URGs provide up to $1,000 to pay for your research expenses to do an independent academic or creative project in any field. The project is connected to an independent study or thesis seminar.

Deadline: 

Deadlines for the 2017-18 academic year are as follows:

  • Tuesday, October 3
  • Tuesday, October 31
  • Tuesday, November 28
  • Tuesday, January 23
  • Tuesday, February 13

Before you submit, please review the Academic Year URG Submission Checklist!

Eligibility: 

Northwestern University undergraduates. Seniors may not apply to conduct projects after graduation. Only one Academic Year URG may be awarded per student during their academic career. To receive the Academic Year URG, the student must take an independent study or honors thesis course during the academic year in which they receive the grant. It is not required that the student register for the course before submitting their proposal, but they should plan their course load to accommodate it.

Research Grant Proposal Writing - Grant Man, Episode 5

Undergraduate Research Grants

American Studies - Radway

Guidelines

What It Is: 

Up to $1000 to cover research expenses on our own research project, to be conducted during the academic year. The project does not have to be a year-long project, and you can propose projects that take place over the Winter or Spring break.

Research expenses can be any costs associated with the research: lab materials, travel to archives or field sites, study participant compensation, or something else – you decide. If you travel internationally, you can request up to 50% of your airfare in addition to the $1000.

While your project may relate to a faculty member’s research, or develop from work within a lab, you must design and execute the project independently. You faculty member provides advisory assistance. 

Projects take place within an independent study or a thesis seminar (398 or 399). Please note that a URG proposal will not be the same as your thesis proposal. You will be writing for a new audience - the URG Review Committee. You can meet with a URG advisor to learn how to make these types of revisions.

Your application will include a budget. You won’t have to turn in receipts (keep them in case we ask). You can have your grant paid directly to your lab/department.

Applications center on a two-page research grant proposal and we have many resources, including one-on-one advising, to help teach you this new skill:

Proposal Writing

Advising Request

How to Apply

Research involving any kind of interaction with living people (Human Subjects) will require additional steps, so plan ahead to make sure you have enough time between hearing back from the review committee, completing the Human Subjects requirements, and the proposed start date of your project. 

Once a project is approved for funding, major changes need the approval of the faculty sponsor and the Office of Undergraduate Research. Unapproved changes may result in a breech of the terms of the grant, including repalyment of grant funds.  Check with the Office of Undergraduate Research with any questions. 

You will submit a two-page final report at the end of the grant period.

What It Isn't: 

This program is for new, original research only. Grants cannot be applied retroactively to cover expenses for research already completed.

The money may not be used toward tuition, program fees, or expenses normally incurred during regular coursework. Grants may not be used for the purchase of "durable equipment" such as cameras over $100, or for the purchase of books or other materials available from libraries.

When: 

Many students conduct their projects over winter break or spring break. Doing your project during a quarter or over the entire academic year is fine too.

You have to complete your project by the end of the academic year in which it was awarded.

Students receive notification of award approximately two weeks after the deadline.

Where: 

Conduct your research project wherever you like: on campus or almost anywhere around the country or the world!

When you apply, you can request extra money (half your airfare) for international projects.

Read up on international projects for important travel restriction information.

Faculty Role: 

Faculty members can help you explore your research interests and develop a good project. You will identify a faculty sponsor/advisor, and this person will help you develop your application materials and oversee your project if you are awarded the grant. See Working with Faculty.

Endorsement

Your faculty sponsor/advisor must submit an online endorsement of your research grant proposal within 24 hours after the application deadline. Unendorsed projects will not be considered. Make sure you have given your faculty sponsor enough warning of the deadline, that you have discussed your project with them ahead of time, and that they have a copy of your final proposal draft. Do not leave it to the day before to ask someone to give you an endorsement!

Approval of Final Report

If your application is succesful and your project is funded, your faculty sponsor/advisor is required to approve the two-page final report which you will submit after your project is done.

See also: Info for Faculty.

Help: 

Selection Process: 

Your research grant proposal will be evaluated by a faculty review committee. The committee looks for quality projects, and they can award as many grants as they want. We call this a merit-based, non-competitive process.

Students receive notification of award approximately two weeks after the deadline.

Applicants who are unsuccessful on their first attempt may be invited to revise their proposals and re-apply at another deadline. Apply early in the year if you can!

Group Projects: 

Group projects are allowed. Explain why this project needs to be done with multiple people. Group members collaborate to create a single grant proposal that clearly articulates the different roles, responsibilities, and qualifications of each member.  Each group member submits the same proposal, and each is eligible for a $1000 grant. We recommend that all groups work with an Office of Undergraduate Research advisor.

FAQs: