College Research Fellows Program

The College Research Fellows Program fosters excellence in scholarly research and creative inquiry by sponsoring academic-year research positions for undergraduates with UChicago faculty members. The program connects faculty with talented College students to support their research projects and gives students the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with faculty mentors and to develop their research skills. Faculty apply before autumn quarter for a grant to support undergraduate researchers during the academic year.

Only faculty members may apply for a grant, but students are highly encouraged to share this opportunity with their faculty mentors if they are interested in participating in the program. If you currently have an undergraduate working with you on your project, please do not ask them to write the proposal. This is a faculty-driven application process. 

Important policy note: All College-based undergraduate research funded positions must be remote until further notice.  

Application deadline (application link below):

  • Autumn (ONLY): Monday, September 21, 2020 

Eligibility

  • UChicago faculty members in any discipline may apply. Senior scholars with University arts and research institutes are also eligible to apply but they must be formally appointed (paid) by the University of Chicago (Smart Museum, Court Theatre, etc). Graduate students and postdocs are unfortunately not eligible.
  • To qualify for College Research Fellows funding, the faculty member’s proposed project(s) must (i) take place during the academic year and (ii) include substantive research responsibilities for the student with little to no administrative or clerical duties.

Independent student projects and projects with minimal faculty involvement are not eligible.

Award Amount

Awards are paid out hourly to students and faculty may apply to fund up to two undergraduate researchers for approximately 10-13 hours per week. Students are paid hourly to accommodate work-study eligible candidates; funding is up to $1,500 per quarter, with a maximum of $4,500/academic year. If you wish to keep a researcher on beyond the stated amount/duration, funds will need to come from other sources. This is considered taxable income for the student. Work-study eligibility will be taken into account and students are asked to disclose other sources of research funding. Please note: students cannot be paid for research that they are also getting credit for. This is a University-wide policy.

Award Expections

All students who receive grants through the College Research Fellows program will be expected to present their research (poster or oral presentations) at the annual University of Chicago Undergraduate Research Symposium held in May of each year. This year's symposium is schedule for May 21, 2021 and student recipients will be contacted directly about applying. Students will also be expected to participate in the CCRF Research Scholars curriculum (presentation and poster design workshops, preparing for research grants and fellowships, and so forth). 

Application Process

Faculty members apply by submitting a brief application form through the CCRF online application portal (application link below). The application includes:

  • Faculty applicant data
  • Undergraduate researcher information
  • Research Project Proposal questions (all 350 words max):
    • Research Project Description
    • Undergraduate Researcher Experience/Impact
    • Undergraduate Research Mentorship

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of faculty and staff members according to the following criteria:

  • Project description: does the proposal clearly describe the research project(s) and outline the specific role(s)/responsibilities of the student(s)?
  • Student experience: will each student have a meaningful co-curricular experience that will benefit the student's academic and research experience at UChicago? Will the experience help the student(s) to develop research and communications skills and include opportunities to disseminate their research?
  • Mentorship: does the mentor plan to guide the undergraduate(s) during their experience and offer an opportunity for faculty and student(s) to collaborate closely on the project(s)? 

The committee will also consider faculty funding needs and divisional and disciplinary diversity to promote equity among funded projects.

College Research Fellows FAQ

Can I apply with a specific student in mind?

  • Yes, faculty are encouraged to apply for funding to support specific students they find to be a good match for their research project(s). It is not required, however, students will need to be identified in advance to qualify for funding. Note: CCRF can help to post and recruit undergraduate researchers for funded projects.

How much will students be paid?

  • Students will be paid hourly for approximately 10-13 hours per week. Note: Students cannot work more than 20 hours per week during the academic quarters.

Can I only recruit undergraduates?

  • Yes, only undergraduate students are eligible for funding from the College Research Fellows Program.

Can I recruit a College alum who has recently graduated?

  • No, only current College students are eligible for the College Research Fellows Program.

Can I submit an application for more than one project?

  • Yes. Please submit one application and discuss all projects you are seeking funding for.

Can I request funding for more than one undergraduate researcher?

  • Yes. Please indicate how many academic-year undergraduate researcher positions (up to two) you are seeking funding for and for which project(s). Please also discuss the needs and roles for mulitple undergraduate researchers.

When will I be notified about whether or not my proposal has been accepted?

  • Decisions will be distributed within approximately five weeks of the application deadline. 

Awarded Faculty Expectations

If selected for funding, faculty members will be responsible for selecting the undergraduate researcher(s) and ensuring supervision for the student(s). CCRF can assist faculty members with posting and promoting their research opportunities.

Faculty members will not be responsible for processing students’ onboarding paperwork or distributing their pay. CCRF will work with selected students and departmental administrators to complete and submit all documentation for the program research experience and pay.

Note: CCRF may request that participating faculty submit brief check-in surveys to ensure that funded undergraduate researchers are meeting and fulfilling their responsibilities and expectations. 

Awarded Undergraduate Researcher Expectations

If selected for funding, College students must be actively engaged with their research project(s) and faculty mentor during the award period and remain a full-time undergraduate student in good standing with the University. Note: Students on leave of absence from the College are ineligible for College-based funding.

All students receiving funding from the College Research Fellows Program wil be required to present their research at the annual University of Chicago Undergraduate Research Symposium (May, 2021, and every May thereafter); if unable to present at the first symposium, they will be required to do so before graduation. 

In good practice, the selected undergraduate researchers will be encouraged to submit a brief closing report to share the impact of their undergraduate research and faculty mentor experience, as well as the impact of the award.  Due dates for closing reports will be communicated at the time funding is granted.

Note: CCRF reserves the right to adjust funding for seleted students receiving other sources of research funding to promote equity. CCRF may also dismiss students from the program and stop program funding if they are not meeting or fulfilling their research responsibilities or expectations. 

2020-2021 Academic Year Program: APPLY HERE

Questions or concerns? Please contact Tracy Nyerges, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research at ccrf@uchicago.edu or Nichole Fazio, Director, College Center for Research & Fellowships, nfazio@uchicago.edu.