Guidelines 2021

Miami’s Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU) provides administrative support to the University Senate Committee on Undergraduate Research. 

Email undergradresearch@MiamiOH.edu to request an MS Word fillable document with Section I Pages 

Undergraduate Research Award Program Guidelines

For over four decades, the Miami University Senate has sponsored the URA Program to provide Miami Undergraduates a faculty-mentored experience in developing grant applications. These partnerships encourage discovery, creative activity and/or novel, inquiry-based activity.  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 of 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 may be made for support of a research project that is also being conducted for academic credit. The maximum award is $1,000 pending available funds with typical awards range from $150 to $500. 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.   

Project Categories:  1) Individual or 2) Team projects must be endorsed by a faculty sponsor (tenured, tenure-track, TCPL (Teaching, Clinical Professors and Lecturers) faculty are eligible to serve as sponsors) who certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame. Graduate students may be part of the mentoring team along with the faculty sponsor.  

New this Year! A special call for interdisciplinary proposals that focus on neurodegenerative care, an emphasis of the Live Like Lou Foundation.

Teams of 3-4 students are invited to collaborate with two or more faculty members from different disciplines to develop and address research questions that have a bearing on neurodegenerative care. Examples of disciplines include [but are not restricted to] Engineering, Gerontology, Kinesiology, Nursing, Nutrition, Neuroscience, Family Studies, Social Work, Speech Pathology

URA Applications MUST be Submitted online as a single pdf document.

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

The URA Program offers two Student Proposal Submission Deadlines during the academic year.

Round 1 Oct 18th is the deadline to apply for funding to conduct a project in Winter 2022/ Spring 2022
  • After consulting with their sponsor, the students should submit their revised proposal as described below.
Students and mentors will be notified via email of the Undergraduate Award Committee’s funding decision in late-November 2021
  • Final abstract (brief project report) submission due 04/22/2022
  • Request a no-cost extension of time to complete the research by 04/15/2022
Round 2 March 7, 2022 is the deadline to apply for funding to conduct a project in Summer 2022/ Fall 2022
  • After consulting with their faculty sponsor(s), the primary undergraduate student should submit the URA proposal as described below.
Students and mentors will be notified via email of committee's funding decision in late-April 2022
  • Final abstract (brief project report) submission due by 11/28/2022
  • Request a no-cost extension of time to complete the research by 11/16/2022

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.

Student Responsibilities

Plan ahead! Successful proposals are typically reviewed by faculty sponsors throughout the entire  process, but especially early on as you are developing your ideas. 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 in order for the faculty to review and provide feedback
    • Note: The faculty sponsor needs time to provide useful feedback in time for student revision of the proposal. Aim to give the faculty sponsor a final proposal draft no later than two weeks prior to the application deadline.
  • obtaining the required faculty sponsor signature on the application
  • submitting the application as a single pdf file via the required online submission instructions.
  • By submitting the application, the student(s) certify agreement to abide Miami regulations for responsible conduct of research.

Faculty Mentor Responsibilities

Endorsement of the project

Each project (proposed by an individual or by a student team) must be endorsed by a faculty sponsor who will be the award’s financial manager and who MUST ensure the student(s) adhere with the compliance committee’s requirements prior to starting the project (see below for ‘Research Compliance Requirements’). By submitting the application, the sponsor(s) also certified(s) 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) during each application cycle.

Research Compliance Requirements

The project sponsor will ensure the student(s) adhere with the compliance committee’s requirements prior to starting the project. Federal and State Regulations and university policies require that Miami ensure 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 by the URC Committee

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 composed of eight faculty from a variety of departments, 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 with their writing. 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.

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?
  • Ssignificance 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?

About Proposal Preparation by the Primary Undergraduate Student Research

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

You must obtain the faculty mentor's signature on the Project Endorsement Sheet before you scan your document to a single pdf file. Your application should be typed, single-spaced, 11-point font with one inch margins and should not exceed specified page limits.

Required Formatting and Page Order Instructions.

Section I URA  Student and Faculty Information and Proposal Endorsement Sheet
  • The Student and Faculty Information URA 2021-22 
    • Primary Student Educational Background Statement
    • Team Member pages (if any)
  • Endorsement Sheet - Certification Statements by the Faculty Sponsor and Primary Undergraduate Researcher.
    • The Endorsement Sheet must be signed by the undergraduate researcher and the faculty sponsor(s) and placed first in the pdf file you must create for upload.
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 the 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.
  • DEI Statement: A 100 word statement addressing DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion). Your DEI statement will ideally address multiple facets of how your values and experiences advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in your work. It is customary to write the statement in first person. Six guiding questions have been developed for consideration by the mentor and student who jointly write a brief DEI statement.
  • How will your research serve the DEI mission of the institution?
  • How will your research contribute to your professional discipline?
  • What are the societal benefits of your research?
  • How is your research relevant for your career development?
  • How will your research project incorporate diversity of thought?
  • How do you take agency/positionality/ownership of your work, and recognize the contribution of others?
Section III Project Narrative must include the following bulleted sub-section headings (2 pages maximum):

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 at this time (if any) or what work will be done by you as part of this project.

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 hypothesis or statement 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 intend to analyze your results, interpret them, as well as how you will present and critique your final product, and to whom. Explain the significance of the intended achievements or results.

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 (you may arrange this in a table) 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 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 the spring semester ends. If an award is made to conduct a fall project, all funds must be expended one week before the end of the fall 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 the 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
    • in a header the project ID, primary student name, mentor name
    • in the body, your rationale and your plan to complete the research
    • end date of next semester for your extension date
  • Label your report file with your unique ID
  • Create a single pdf file of your progress report and submit via Formstack link:
https://MiamiOH.formstack.com/forms/ura_final_abstract_form_or_extension_request
The Office of Research for Undergraduates will email you a reminder to submit a final brief project report by the revised date.