Undergraduate Student Research (USR) Fund
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.
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. For applicants requesting support for travel, the application must arrive in our office at least one month before the travel date.
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.
Recipients are expected to share their research findings with the campus community. Students will need to work with their faculty mentors to determine the most appropriate forum for this activity. Students are encouraged to consider presenting at the annual UIS Student Technology, Arts and Research Symposium (go.uis.edu/stars). In addition, the names of students who received funding under this program and their faculty supervisors, and the titles of their research projects and conference presentations, are listed on the Student Research Support Program web page.
A final report is due to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs before May 1, 2020. Please submit a brief (one paragraph) report to Kim Erbe, MS PAC 525, email@example.com.
Your report should include the following information:
- Progress toward the goals stated in your proposal
- Specific outcomes of your project (e.g. submission of a journal article, completion of a book chapter, presentation at a professional conference, etc.)
- Documentation of how you shared the results of your project with the campus community
- a photograph of you working on the project or presenting it at a conference (such as STARS).
Please fill out the online application form (USR Fund Application.pdf downloadable for preparation purposes). You will also need to print and submit a signature page (PDF). Only those proposals that are endorsed by the student’s academic department and college are eligible for funding under this program.
- Consult with your faculty mentor about your research proposal and the preparation of your application to the Undergraduate Student Research (USR) Fund.
- Double-check the completeness and accuracy of your application before submitting it to your faculty mentor and major department chair for signature. (If you are being mentored by a faculty member in a department outside your major, submit the application to the Chair of their department.)
- Submit the application to your College Dean’s Office. (If you are being mentored by a faculty member in a department outside your major, submit the application to the Dean of the College in which their department resides.)
- The Dean’s Office will forward funding recommendations for USR funding to the Undergraduate Research Support Program Office, where final funding allocations will be determined. Please allow two weeks for processing.
- If funded, you will be notified by e-mail. Work with your faculty mentor to make purchases and travel arrangements related to your research. Use the Student-Research-Reimbursement-Request form.pdf (addressed to the business officer in your College Dean’s Office) to apply for funds to purchase supplies or be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses (more details below).
TRAVEL EXPENSES ESTIMATION WORKSHEET
Begin by checking the University’s Travel Policies and Reimbursement Rates at
http://www.obfs.uillinois.edu/travel/reimbursement-rates/ and then itemize expenses below.
Air Fare (roundtrip):_
Ground Transportation by Personal Vehicle (number of miles one-way): * 2 * $0._ = $
Hotel rate per night (including taxes):
Number of nights:
Meals: flat rate of $ per day (in-state) or $ per day (out-of-state), or prorated for travel that is less than a full day as indicated in the University Travel Policies.
Other (clearly specify):
Total Anticipated Travel Expenses:
BE SURE TO SAVE ALL RECEIPTS. THESE WILL BE NEEDED FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES.
Pre-paying for expenses is preferred to the reimbursement process. Funding is limited to the amount in the approval letter. When you are making your travel arrangements, be sure to use the most economical means of transportation, and remember that reimbursement of expenses is subject to the limitations of the USR program and University travel regulations. The University’s Policies on Travel and current Reimbursement Rates can be found at http://www.obfs.uillinois.edu/travel/reimbursement-rates/.
Requesting expenditures or reimbursement of student expenses will be processed through their faculty mentor using the Student Research Reimbursement Request form below, following these processes: Student Research Expenditure/Reimbursement process (doc)
- Receipts for all of the expenses you incurred on your trip, including airfare, auto mileage, hotel , food, shuttle bus fare, road tolls, parking, conference fee, etc. Your deans office may be able to pre-pay for certain travel expenses (e.g. airfare, registration, hotel).
- Your Hotel Receipt MUST have your name on it and show that it was paid by you.
- Your Air Fare Receipt MUST show proof that you purchased. For example, a printed statement from online vendors (such as Orbitz, CheapFlights, Travelocity, or Expedia) will not show proof that you paid for the air fare. You also need to have a statement showing that it was charged to your debit or credit card. (You should blacken out your credit or debit card number on the statement or receipt before including it with your request for reimbursement.)
- Keep a copy of the receipt or credit card statement showing that you paid the conference fee.
- Keep all receipts for food. The receipt for meals must be itemized, showing what was purchased, not just the total amount. Alcohol is not reimbursable.
- Students may be reimbursed at the approved mileage rate if they use their personal vehicles for the travel. Please submit a MapQuest or YahooMaps page indicating the travel mileage from the University to your conference or meeting destination, along with your other travel receipts.
COMPLETION OF THE STUDENT AWARD REIMBURSEMENT/EXPENDITURE REQUEST FORM
1. Work with your Faculty Mentor and Major Department Secretary to prepare the Student-Research-Reimbursement-Request (PDF) form. Attach original receipts. Have your faculty mentor sign it before submitting it to the dean’s office for processing. Keep a copy for your records
2. BE SURE TO COMPLETE THE FORM THE WEEK AFTER YOU RETURN FROM YOUR TRIP.
- Allow 4-8 weeks for the processing of your travel reimbursement.
Student Research Project Budget: Example
For illustrative purposes, the following example involves a variety of expense categories. It would be unlikely that any one undergraduate student research project would involve all of these; however, the range of items described should prove helpful to students as they develop project budgets.
Assume that a proposed research project involves (a) travel to Chicago, Urbana, and Edwardsville for data collection purposes (one trip to each, with only one overnight stay in Chicago); (b) the need to purchase copies of a copyrighted questionnaire for data collection; (c) the need to make Xerox copies of a survey form that the researcher has been given permission to use in the research; and (d) the need to purchase specific computer software, HyperTRANSCRIBE 1.5, in order to transform the information collected into qualitative data that can be analyzed. As part of the data collection process, the student researcher will be allowing some research participants in Chicago to return completed questionnaires by mail. Although the research will also require an expensive piece of scanning equipment, the major department has agreed to allow the researcher to use their scanner for the research; thus, there will be no cost for equipment.
The student will be using a personal vehicle for travel to data collection sites outside of Springfield. Using MapQuest, the student determines the one-way mileage to each of the data collection locations:
202 miles to Chicago, 97 miles to Urbana, and 74 miles to Edwardsville. Checking the University’s website on travel policies and reimbursement rates (http://www.obfs.uillinois.edu/travel/reimbursement-rates/), the student researcher finds that mileage is currently reimbursed at the rate of 56 cents per mile. Thus, the expected expense rates are calculated as follows:
Round trip to Chicago: (2 * 202 miles) * $0.56 = $226.64
Round trip to Urbana: (2 * 97 miles) * $0.56 = $108.64
Round trip to Edwardsville: (2 * 74 miles) * $0.56 = $ 82.88
The student has checked the University of Illinois’ Webstore (http://webstore.illinois.edu/) to determine whether the HyperTRANSCRIBE software can be purchased through the University Webstore at a discount; unfortunately, it is not available through Webstore, so it will have to be purchased online from the developer, ResearchWare Inc., and the price is $99. Shipping and handling will be an additional $18.
The student researcher checks the University’s website on travel policies and determines that the maximum reimbursement amount for lodging during the Spring semester, for Cook County in Chicago, is
$158. The student researcher explores hotel options in the area and learns that the lowest rate available is $125 per night (plus $18.75 in taxes).
The researcher will need to purchase 150 copies of Questionnaire A from the test developer ($35 for a packet of 50; $12.50 total shipping and handling), and has been granted written permission by the survey developer to make 150 copies of Survey Y ( 5 cents per copy) for research purposes.
The researcher will need to purchase 25 manila envelopes and pre-pay for postage to enable research participants at one facility in Chicago to return completed data collection questionnaires. A package of
25 manila envelopes costs $6.75 at a local discount office supply store, and return postage will cost
$1.80 per envelope ($45).