Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Research Council

The purpose of the Undergraduate Research Council (URC) is to encourage research and creative activity by UNK students. Several support mechanisms have been developed with this purpose in mind, and the student programs are described under the first tab below. The URC is particularly interested in encouraging and supporting student-faculty collaboration in the research enterprise.

All proposals must adhere to the URC guidelines described under the third tab below. Proposals not meeting the detailed guidelines, including the budget limitations, will not be given consideration. It is absolutely necessary that proposals be submitted by the published deadline. Students and mentors are encouraged to discuss the proposal with the Director of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity before submission.

Student grant recipients are expected to participate in UNK Student Research Day (SRD), held in the spring. SRD highlights student research and provides an opportunity for students to enhance their presentation skills and prepare for professional meetings. It is also an opportunity for the academic community to recognize student researchers and their Faculty Mentors.

The URC’s student programs are intended to support student-originated and student-conducted research and creative activity. Faculty serve as mentors on these projects and are responsible for the financial components. Students must be enrolled at UNK during the grant award period. The URC is interested in promoting activities that encourage student-faculty collaboration, involve several students working on a single problem, or are interdisciplinary in nature. Several workshops are conducted in which information regarding specific programs is shared with student attendees. See that schedule here.

Undergraduate Student Research

Awards are competitively selected. A request for up to $400 may be made for operating expenses, supplies and travel. Partial support is expected from the department and/or student participant(s). Students may also receive partial support to present their results at national or regional meetings through the Student Conference Presentation Program. Submission details can be found in "Proposal Guidelines" tab.

Student Conference Presentation

Funds are provided to assist undergraduate student presentations of research and creative projects at scholarly meetings. Partial funding will be provided up to a maximum of $300, with the remainder expected of the student or department. Documentation must be provided that the project has been accepted for presentation and the student is presenting. Students supported through this program are also expected to participate in the UNK Student Research Day held during the spring semester. Support for multi-authored presentations may be reduced accordingly or limited to the first author.

The application for travel funds must include:

1. The abstract or paper submitted for consideration as a presentation.
2. The acceptance letter for the presentation.
3. A description of the student’s role in the presentation (paper presentation or poster).

Please submit the completed Cover Page/Budget form to the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity – Conrad Hall Room 115 – at least one month prior to the conference.

Students may also apply for Travel support through SET fee funds administered by the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (FNDH 1000). Contact the SVCAA’s office for details.

UNK’s Student Research Day is an annual event held each spring for students in all disciplines to present their scholarly work. Students’ research accomplishments and the important role faculty play as mentors are both highlighted. Any undergraduate UNK student engaged in collaborative or independent research is eligible and encouraged to participate, even if their work was not funded through UNK.

Presentations include poster sessions, oral presentations, musical performances, and art exhibitions. Poster and oral presentations are judged and awards are given at a reception at the end of the event. Student Research Day 2015 will be April 15. Application forms will be available in the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity in Conrad Hall Room 115, and must be submitted by February 27, 2015.

To see names of 2014 SRD winners and previous years' SRD programs, click here.

General Instructions

Individual students may receive no more than one research award and one travel grant per fiscal year. Requests for materials, supplies and other expenses related to the conduct of the proposed activity will be considered.

Proposals must be written in terms that educated lay persons can readily understand. It is important that reviewers outside of applicant’s discipline can understand the abstract, budget and narrative. Avoid the use of jargon whenever possible, and explain clearly any technical terms and procedures that are critical to the proposal.

All information must be provided in the format specified. For this reason ALL APPLICANTS MUST MEET WITH THEIR FACULTY MENTOR TO THOROUGHLY REVIEW AND DISCUSS THE PROPOSAL. You are also strongly encouraged to contact the Director of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity to review the proposal before submission. Please call 865-8894 to schedule a time. This should be scheduled before the program deadline in order to provide adequate time for any necessary revisions to the proposal.

Submitted proposals must include the Abstract, Project Description, Faculty Mentor Statement and URC Cover/Budget form.

The Project Description should not exceed five double-spaced pages (please number) and must include a:
  • Statement of purpose and objectives (student should include a brief personal statement describing how he/she became interested in the project)
  • Methodology and work plan
  • Description of the activities and expected results/product
  • Timetable for completion of the project
  • Itemized budget and justification of funds requested (use budget form and attach narrative justification/explanation of budget request).

Please note that:

  • All expenditures must be in accordance with University policies and should be based upon principles of economy.
  • Actual expenditures must be for items requested in the proposal. Deviations from this policy must have prior approval of the Director of URCA.
  • Title to materials and equipment purchased with grant funds remains with the University. University of Nebraska policies relating to copyright, royalties, patents, or income apply to these grant programs. Questions regarding these matters should be addressed before submitting the proposal.
  • Funded projects involving human subjects in research must be approved by the Institutional Review Board for Protection of Human Subjects (IRB) before they are initiated. Please contact Kathy Zuckweiler, IRB Director, at 865-8886. Funds will not be available until documentation of IRB approval is received by the Graduate Office.
  • Funded projects involving animals used in research must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) before they are initiated. Please contact Janet Steele, IACUC Director, at 865-8325. Funds will not be available until documentation of IACUC approval is received by the Graduate Office.
  • Publications or presentations resulting from projects supported by URC grant programs should include the following statement: “Funding provided by the UNK Office of Graduate Studies and Research/Undergraduate Research Council.”
  • URC does not fund participation in clinics, workshops, or other related training.
  • Student grant and travel award recipients are required to participate in the annual Student Research Day event held during the spring semester.

Additionally, a Faculty Mentor Statement must be attached to the student’s proposal. This statement must include a(n):
  • Statement indicating how the student’s project related to ongoing work of this mentor or whether the student initiated the project
  • Analysis of viability of project objectives and methodology
  • Verification of budget needs and costs
  • Description of the mentor support that will be provided
  • Description of the student’s background and preparation for the project

Lastly, please note that after completing the proposal, the URC Cover/Budget form must be signed by the Department Chair and Dean of the applicant’s area of research or activity.

Students may also request, through separate application, partial support for travel to professional meetings for the purpose of presenting the results of research or creative activity. A maximum of $300 may be provided. See “Student Conference Presentation” for program description and details.

Proposals not adhering to these URC Guidelines will not be considered.

Once the proposal has been completed according to the specified guidelines, it should be delivered to the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity in Conrad Hall #115 by 4:00pm on the deadline date.

Proposal Checklist:

  • URC Cover/Budget form
  • Abstract
  • Project Description
  • Faculty Mentor Statement
  • Signatures

You can also download a printable checklist here.