Guidelines 2021

Miami’s Office or Research for Undergraduates (ORU) provides administrative support to the University Senate Committee on Undergraduate Research. Get the URA application from your department or program.

Undergraduate Research Award Program Guidelines

For over four decades, the Miami University Senate has sponsored the URA to provide Miami Undergraduates a faculty-mentored experience in developing grant applications. These partnerships encourage discovery, creative activity and/or novel, inquiry-based activity.

Typical awards range from $150 to $500, but individual projects of exceptional merit or projects involving student teams1 may be funded up to $1,000. The purpose of these funds is to foster and support research and creative activity from all disciplines and to provide students with a hands-on opportunity to engage in the research process /creative activity -- from conception to proposal to results.  

NEW THIS YEAR! Students are invited to identify a project subcategory! If applicable

Proposals in these areas are encouraged to address a scholarly question that will lead to testable objectives or measurable outcomes. Regular eligibility criteria and application procedures, as outlined in the URA Program Guidelines, will apply. 

Subcategory Descriptions

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: In keeping with broader university-wide diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, a portion of available funds will be reserved for research, scholarship, or creative activities in the areas of social justice, human rights, diversity, equity and inclusion. Proposals in these areas are encouraged to address a scholarly question that will lead to testable objectives or measurable outcomes. Regular eligibility criteria and application procedures, as outlined in the URA Program Guidelines, will apply. 
IDEA (Interdisciplinary Engagement Award) This award category provides a student team an opportunity to collaborate with at least one faculty mentor across student team members’  disciplinary boundaries. The award can be used to address a research question and intentionally apply knowledge from different fields. The application must be sponsored by at least one faculty member. 

Students may submit an individual project or team1 project.
Each individual student project or team1 project must be endorsed by a sponsor who certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame. Applications may be made for support of a research project that is also being conducted for academic credit.

While students can propose projects that augment or are related to an existing faculty project, proposals must be developed by student applicant(s), under the supervision of and with sponsorship by a faculty member. The aim and result of specific projects supported by the program may be modest as long as the work can reasonably be interpreted as research or a creative endeavor.

Applications MUST be Submitted online as a single pdf document.

Open online form via this link.  URA Application Submission Formstack Link

Student Proposal Submission Deadlines 

Round 1 October 05, 2020 is the deadline to apply for funding to conduct a project in Winter 2020/ Spring 2021

  • Proposal drafts should be sent by the student to the faculty sponsor two weeks before the deadline.
  • Students will be notified via email of committee’s funding decision in late November 2020 
  • Final abstract (brief project report) submission due 04/19/2021

Round 2 March 1, 2020 is the deadline to apply for funding to conduct a project in Summer 2021/ Fall 2021

  • Proposal drafts should be sent by the student to the faculty sponsor two weeks before the deadline.
  • Students will be notified via email of committee's funding decision in mid-April 2021
    • Final abstract (brief project report) submission due 11/23/2021
    • Request a no-cost extension to complete the research by 11/16/2021

Student Eligibility

All enrolled full-time undergraduate students in all disciplines on all campuses who have a GPA of at least 2.0 are eligible to apply. A student may receive only one award from this program per academic year. Although projects must be initiated and developed by student applicant(s), a faculty member must also sponsor each project. 

Student Responsibilities

Plan ahead! Successful proposals are typically reviewed by faculty sponsors at early stages of the process. The individual student/or the primary member of the team of students is responsible for:

  • finding a faculty sponsor willing to supervise the research project
  • writing the proposal
  • meeting with the faculty sponsor during the proposal writing stages

The faculty sponsor needs time to provide useful feedback in time for student revision of the proposal. Give the faculty sponsor a final proposal draft no later than two weeks prior to the application deadline. 

The individual student/ or the primary member of student team is responsible for:

  • arranging for the faculty sponsor to review the proposal (ideally at least 2 weeks prior to submission deadline)
  • obtaining the required faculty sponsor signature on the application
  • submitting the application as a single pdf file via the required online submission process

Faculty Mentor Responsibilities

Each project (proposed by an individual or by a student team*) must be endorsed by a faculty sponsor who will be the award financial manager and who MUST ensure the student(s) adhere with compliance committee requirements prior to starting the project.

As part of the application process, the sponsor also certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame. Faculty may sponsor up to 4 projects (individual and/or team) each application cycle.

Research Compliance Requirements

The project sponsor will ensure the student(s) adhere with compliance committee requirements prior to starting the project. Federal and State Regulations and university policies require that Miami assure the safe and ethical practice of research and scholarly activities.

Members of the Miami community must be familiar with the requirements before starting any research or teaching projects that involve humans, animals, radiation, and some biological manipulations. This involves local training and often review and approval of proposed activities by relevant university-wide committees. If your project involves humans, animals, radiation, and/or biological manipulations, go to the Miami University Research Compliance website for details regarding training and submitting a protocol.

If you think any of these compliance issues are relevant to your research, check with your faculty sponsor for guidance and to find out from your sponsor if any of your research activities are already addressed in an existing protocol. Make sure to give yourself at least a month for the compliance committee application processes. Contact Jennifer Sutton, Research Compliance Associate Director, at <suttonja@MiamiOH.edu>

URA Project Proposal Evaluation

Proposals will be evaluated for funding by a committee whose members represent a wide range of disciplines. You are writing for a general, but educated audience. The URA committee is comprised of faculty, a graduate student and five undergraduate students.

Proposals that rely heavily on technical jargon may suffer—it is better to be clear rather than overly complicated. Student researchers submitting a proposal are encouraged to work with the Howe Writing Center staff to get assistance.

Proposals are required to follow the format described in these application guidelines and should be readable by a non-specialist; be free of technical jargon and free of undefined abbreviations. 

Undergraduate Research Committee members traditionally employ the following criteria in evaluating the proposals:

  • Readability and Format: Is the proposal easily understood and free of technical jargon? Does the application follow the format in the guidelines
  • Clarity: Is the research problem or creative activity clearly articulated?
  • Significance and Educational Value: Is the problem worth solving? Why is the work important to your discipline? Are the skills to be learned of high academic quality and significance?
  • Feasibility and Student Preparation: Can the problem be solved or the research/creative activity performed within the time available (one semester) and with facilities available to the student? Does the student have adequate training and experience to undertake and complete the project?
  • Budget: Is the budget reasonable, specific, and accurate?

URA Application Format and Required Order to Assemble Proposal Pages

Get the URA application form as a word document from your faculty mentor's department or program.

Follow these instructions to label your section headings and assemble your document. Make sure to

  • assemble your document in section order I through V as described below
  • label all of sections and the sub-sections with required headings
  • Number the pages and use 12-point font

Your application should be typed, single-spaced and 3-5 pages in length with one-inch margins. Label all of sections and subsections with the required headings. Number the proposal pages and use a 12 point font. Pages for Works cited, images or diagrams do not count in the proposal page limit.

Section I URA Applicant Data and Proposal Endorsement Sheet

  • The URA Program Endorsement Sheet (signed by the mentor) goes in front of all proposal sections.
  • The Endorsement Sheet must include all requested information (for each student researcher) and must be signed by the student(s) and by the faculty sponsor. If submitting a team project, make sure to include the Team Member Page(s) with information about each team member.

Section II Cover Page (1 page maximum), must include:

  • Project Title
  • Name/ E-mail of Investigator(s)
  • Abstract: In 200 words or less give an executive summary of the project. This should include purpose, expected outcomes, and significance of the project, not only to the field of study and/or society, but also to your own educational development.
  • If you checked a project subcategory, include a statement for:
    • DEI  Statement (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
      • Briefly describe how the proposed research, scholarship, or creative activity addresses attributes in areas of social justice, human rights, diversity, equity and inclusion.
    • IDEA Statement [Interdisciplinary Engagement Award]
      • Indicate the manner in which an interdisciplinary approach is appropriate or optimal  for your project.

Section III Project Narrative must include the following bulleted sub-section headings:

Introduction
  • This main section of the application should be a written explanation (narrative) of the details of the proposed research or other creative endeavor. 
  • As part of the introduction, be certain that you discuss the following questions as you describe the work you wish to produce as a result of this endeavor.
  • What work has been done by others in this area? For example, cite the relevant journal articles or books, or the relevant exhibitions or performances. Explain clearly why these earlier works are important precursors to yours.
  • What work has been done by you?
Statement of Goals for the Project

Here you lay out the specific questions you plan to address or the project that you plan to complete. The burden is on you as the student to clearly state what you intend to accomplish, achieve, or determine by completing your project. You should include a statement of hypothesis or of the creative question at issue. -What is the underlying motivation for this project? -What is the meaning of your work? -How will this change or advance your discipline?

Creative Processes or Methodology

This is the most important section of your proposal. It must briefly outline the materials you will utilize, the manner in which you will approach your project, and the major steps involved in completing your research. Explain how the creative techniques or research methods you intend to use are appropriate for accomplishing your stated goals. Describe the important steps and materials in a way that the logic of your approach is clearly understandable.

Expected Accomplishments or Results

This section provides a discussion of the analysis and interpretation of results and manner of presentation of creative work. Discuss how you will analyze your results, interpret them, and how you will present and critique your final product. Explain the significance of the intended achievements or results to the original project.

Section IV Budget and Written Budget Justification (1 page maximum)

Write a (one-page) itemized statement of your best estimate of the costs of doing your project and include a written budget justification. As you prepare your budget keep in mind that the Committee cannot give you funds you do not ask for and justify adequately. You may request up to $1,000, although awards typically range between $150 and $500.

Be certain that you:

  • Justify all requested items; including a rationale for items essential to the project success.
  • Explain why you require any unusual or particularly costly items listed in your budget.

Indicate why items needed that are generally available from your department or the University at no cost to students cannot be obtained from that source. Examples: books, journals, and routine lab equipment.

Note: The URA program does NOT fund travel. Funds cannot be used for student employment or paying students for any work.

SECTION V Literature Cited

Give references (complete with titles) for all literature cited in the proposal. Use appropriate citation style for your discipline. There is no page limit for this reference list. These pages are not included in the 3-5 page limit for the project proposal.

Post Award Requirements

Project Duration Period (14 weeks)

If an award is made to conduct a spring project, all funds must be expended one week before semester end. If an award is made to conduct a fall project, all funds must be expended one week before the end of the semester.

Final Abstract Submission

ORU staff will process the final report with the Chair of the Undergraduate Research Committee. ORU (Office of Research for Undergraduates) staff will remind awardees via email to submit a final project. Your final brief project report (maximum one page) will be a one-page abstract describing the major goal(s) and result(s) of the project.

How to Request an Extension of Time to Complete the Project.

Submit your request for more time electronically two weeks before end of semester classes.

  • Discuss and develop (with your faculty mentor) a rationale to request more time to complete the project
  • Write up a brief project progress report (maximum of one page)
  • Include your rationale and your plan to complete the research
  • Create a single pdf file of your progress report and submit it via online link
  • Label your file with your unique ID and submit it via online link

Office of Research for Undergraduates will email a reminder to submit a final brief project report by the revised date.