Undergraduate Student Research (USR) Grant Program

Program Purpose and Qualifying Criteria

The Undergraduate Student Research (USR) Fund was established by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Provost to promote student research endeavors at the University of Illinois Springfield. The Program provides matching funds, up to a maximum of $1000 per student, in support of approved research, scholarly, and creative activities that will promote the University of Illinois Springfield and the development of students as active learners and scholars.

Students may apply for funds to support data collection and/or  to present findings at professional venues, provided that the limit of a maximum $1000 per student is not exceeded for the combination of activities over the UIS career of the undergraduate student. USR fund requests may receive partial funding based on review. Funds provided through this program will be approved on a competitive basis.

Qualifying proposals will represent independent, student-led, research projects that are not associated with a regular course assignment. Proposals for research in any academic discipline at UIS are eligible for funding consideration under this program. Special consideration will be given to proposals that are interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary in nature.

When a qualifying project has been or will be jointly conducted by two or more students serving as co-investigators, each student may separately request USR funding to support the research activities or conference presentation of research findings.

Application Deadlines

There are no application deadlines for this program; applications will be accepted year round. However, limited funding is available, so student researchers are encouraged to submit their applications as early in the academic year as possible.

Use of Funds

The Undergraduate Student Research Fund is designed to assist students in covering expenses incurred in conducting approved research and/or presenting their research findings at professional conferences or scholarly meeting. Proposals may request support for a variety of activities within the scope of the qualifying criteria, including expenses related to the collection of data as well as the development of posters, papers, and presentations accepted for delivery at professional conferences or scholarly meetings. Examples include, but are not limited to, expenses associated with purchasing necessary equipment and supplies, postage, printing and duplicating, copyright permission fees, software, conference registration fees, and usual travel-related expenses such as transportation, lodging, and per diem. University travel regulations apply.

Travel to attend a conference or meeting without presenting research findings is not reimbursable under this program (i.e. just attending a conference is not supported by the USR fund.  Note that there is a free research conference on campus, STARS).


To be eligible for this program, applicants must:

  • Be currently enrolled as an undergraduate student at UIS;
  • Have obtained sophomore status or above;
  • Have a declared academic major;
  • Be in good academic standing at the time of application, with no incompletes and a minimum cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0;
  • Have developed an independent research project proposal that has the endorsement of a UIS faculty mentor who will serve as the research supervisor;
  • Provide evidence of endorsement and funding from the major academic department and/or college.

Matching Commitments and Evaluative Criteria

One indicator of the merit of proposed research activities is the extent to which the college of the academic major is willing to commit resources in support of successful completion. Therefore, a written commitment for 25% matching funds is required to submit a request for funding from the Undergraduate Student Research Program. Student researchers are encouraged to consult with their faculty mentor or research supervisor about the process by which applications for endorsement and support can be sought from the appropriate college.

In evaluating student research proposals for funding, it is expected that academic department- and college-level reviewers will consider the following criteria:

  • the clarity and specificity of the student’s proposal;
  • the extent to which the proposed activities and goals are realistically achievable;
  • the intrinsic merit and scope of the proposal;
  • the scope of probable contributions to student learning and scholarship;
  • the alignment with UIS mission and faculty and/or departmental goals;
  • the adequacy of available funding relative to resources needed.

Students who are thinking about submitting proposals to the USR Fund are strongly encouraged to consult with a faculty mentor before writing and submitting a research proposal.


Please follow the instructions on the USR Grant Program web page to apply for funding through this program.