Quad Faculty Research Grant Program

This award has been revised for the 2023-2024 application cycle. Please review the information carefully, especially pertaining to Student Eligibility. Also note that applicants may request funding for a maximum of one student researcher.

The Quad Faculty Research Grant fosters excellence in scholarly research and creative inquiry by sponsoring academic-year research positions for early-career undergraduates with UChicago faculty members of any rank or other senior scholars with University arts and research institutes (see eligibility below). 
The Quad Faculty Research Grant program connects faculty and senior scholars with talented College students who support their research projects, while giving undergraduates the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with faculty mentors and to develop their research skills. 

Faculty members apply before autumn quarter for a grant to support an undergraduate researcher during the academic year.

Application deadline: September 29, 2023 (One application cycle per year)



  • UChicago faculty members of any rank in any discipline may apply; this includes instructional and senior instructional professors. Senior scholars with University arts and research institutes (e.g., the Smart Museum, Court Theatre, Hannah Holburn Gray Special Collections Research Center, Franke Institute, Neubauer Collegium, etc.) are also eligible to apply if they are formally appointed (paid) by the University of Chicago. Graduate students and postdocs are not eligible. 
  • To qualify for Quad Faculty research funding, the faculty or senior scholar member’s proposed project must (i) take place during the academic year at the University of Chicago and (ii) include substantive research responsibilities for the student with no administrative or clerical duties.
  • Independent student projects and projects with minimal faculty involvement are not eligible. 
  • All grant recipients are expected to abide by all current University COVID-19 and travel policies.


  • Students selected for Quad Faculty research positions must not have held a previous paid research appointment with this faculty mentor—via the Quad program or another means, such as a Metcalf or the mentor’s own research funds.
    • The Quad Faculty grant prioritizes students in the early years of their study and the early stages of their research involvement; more advanced students should consider the Quad Undergraduate Research Scholars program instead.
  • Students paid via the Quad Faculty Grant must be full-time enrolled undergraduates in good standing at the University of Chicago. As a matter of policy, students on a leave of absence from the College are ineligible for College-based research funding, as well as general undergraduate research advising from CCRF staff. 

Evaluation Criteria and Funding Priorities

Funding for this program is limited, and the following priorities guide application review and funding decisions. 

All competitive applications will clearly describe:

  • The student’s specific role and responsibilities within the project.
  • The likely contribution of this work to the student’s overall academic experience at UChicago, including particular research and communications skills to be developed and potential opportunities for dissemination of the research.
  • A trajectory of growth through which a novice researcher is anticipated to gain skills and increase independence over the course of the year.
  • A commitment to mentoring the student through regular contact and close collaboration.

While not required, applicants are also encouraged to mention the alignment of their proposal with any of the following additional areas of interest, if applicable. 

  • Interdisciplinary, collaborative, or multimodal projects
  • Projects that integrate an element of public benefit or public engagement (e.g., community outreach, elementary or secondary education outreach, dissemination through nonacademic publications, public exhibits, digital artifacts, etc.)
  • Involving undergraduates in newly established labs, research groups, centers, institutes, initiatives, clusters, or projects
  • Work that extends an established research program beyond the scope of existing funding
  • Projects seeking to lay the groundwork for future funding proposals that include undergraduate research
  • Projects in fields where extramural research funding is uncommon and/or intramural funding for undergraduate researchers is uncommon
  • Projects that seek to amplify the impact of other funding sources and/or that anticipate a long-term commitment to undergraduate research sustained by other funding sources

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

Award Amount

Awards are paid to students at a uniform hourly rate, up to a maximum of $5,000 for the academic year. If a student is eligible for federal work-study, the award will draw on those funds for as long as they are available, and the total amount earned by the student as a Quad Faculty researcher shall not exceed $5,000. In general, students are expected to dedicate 10-13 hours per week to the project. During the term, students may not work more than 20 hours per week cumulatively across all student employment positions. Quad Faculty awards terminate once students have earned $5,000 or on the last day of spring quarter, whichever happens first. If a faculty mentor wishes to employ the student researcher beyond the stipulated amount or duration, funds will need to come from other sources.

These earnings are 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 for which they are eligible. Please note: students cannot be paid for research that they are also getting credit for and they may not receive multiple grants from different sources for the same project. These are University-wide policies.

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 (350 words max per question):
    • Research Project Description
    • Undergraduate Researcher Experience/Impact (learning outcomes)
    • Undergraduate Research Mentorship Plan

Only faculty members or senior scholars may apply for a grant. 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. 

Awarded Faculty Expectations

If selected for funding, the faculty member will be responsible for selecting the undergraduate researcher and ensuring supervision for the student. 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 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 (LOA) from the College are ineligible for any College-based funding. Should a student go on a leave of absence or move out of good standing with the University, the award will terminate upon such change of status.
All students who receive grants through the Quad Faculty Research Grant program will be expected to present their research (poster or oral presentations) at the annual University of Chicago Undergraduate Research Symposium held in April of each year. 

Student grant recipients should plan to enroll in the zero-credit course “Undergraduate Research: What, Why, and How” (HUMA 10001) in Winter Quarter, if their course schedule permits. They will also participate in the CCRF Quad Scholars curriculum—a series of skills-based and community-building events throughout the year). Student recipients will be contacted directly with more information about these expectations. 

The selected undergraduate researchers will be required to submit a brief closing survey to share the impact of their undergraduate research and faculty mentor experience, as well as the impact of the award. Funded students will receive an invitation to complete the closing survey at the end of the academic year. 

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

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

Quad Faculty Research Grant FAQ

Can I apply with a specific student in mind?

Yes, faculty may apply for funding to support a specific student whom they find to be a good match for their research project, as long as the student meets the eligibility criteria outlined above. Alternately, CCRF can help you post and recruit undergraduate researchers for funded projects. Funding will commence once students are identified and hired.

What if I want to work with an undergraduate who does not meet the eligibility criteria for a Quad Faculty grant-funded position—for example, a student who has held a paid research appointment in the past?

These students should be encouraged to apply for the Quad Undergraduate Research Scholars program.

How much will students be paid?

Students will be paid hourly for approximately 10-13 hours per week. CCRF sets a uniform wage for all Quad Faculty-funded students. 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 Quad Faculty program.

Can I recruit a College alum who has recently graduated?

No, only current College students are eligible for the Quad Faculty Research Grant.

Can I request funding for more than one undergraduate researcher?

No. We are not able to support more than one undergraduate researcher per mentor.

Can I submit more than one application?

No. Due to the volume of applications received and our ability to support only one undergraduate researcher per mentor, we ask that you submit only one application.

Can I divide Quad Faculty grant funding in order to hire, for instance, two undergraduate researchers for 5-6 hours per week, rather than one researcher for 10-13 hours per week?

The Quad Faculty program prioritizes sustained, intensive engagement by undergraduates in closely mentored research experiences. For this reason—as well as the additional administrative burden created by non-standardized hires—we ask that you craft your proposal within the parameters outlined above.

When will funding decisions be made?

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

Click here to access the application. Due date: September 29, 2023

Questions or concerns? Please contact CCRF at ccrf-research@uchicago.edu

Pictured: 2020-2021 College Research Fellow, Sam Li, in a zoom discussion with faculty mentor, Prof. Savdeep Sethi, when demonstrating a piece of mathematics on his office blackboard.