Call for Abstracts
It is increasingly important that the undergraduate research community works to ensure that those in the U.S. Congress who provide funding for research and education have a clear understanding of the programs they fund and why these programs are important. Undergraduate research must be among those programs that members of Congress understand if it is to continue to be supported.
Nothing more effectively demonstrates the value of undergraduate research than the words and stories of the student participants themselves. In the Spring of 2013 the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) will host its 17th annual undergraduate poster session on Capitol Hill. This event will help members of Congress understand the importance of undergraduate research by talking directly with the students whom these programs impact. There will be two student presentation sessions, a luncheon panel and poster session for arts and humanities students, and an evening poster session and reception for science and social sciences students.
The Posters on the Hill event was the highlight of my undergraduate career. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend and present at four national conferences, however Posters on the Hill topped them all. From the student's perspective, it was very exciting but also intimidating to have the opportunity to present my research to members of Congress and the Senate. During the presentation, I had many different people from national organizations to government agencies show interest in my work. During the presentation I realized that everyone in the room was as passionate as I am about undergraduate research. The support from each person in the audience made me feel as though the all of my effort, from the research process to the application process was absolutely worthwhile.
-- Joe Moloney, President, Student Organization for Undergraduate Research, and President, Class of 2011, President, Bridgewater State University.
CUR will invite representatives from federal funding agencies and nearby foundations to attend the poster session. We ask you to provide the name of the agency or organization sponsoring your research, and the name of the program officer, to facilitate our making these invitations.
CUR is calling for students to submit an abstract of their research that represents any of CUR's disciplinal divisions (Arts and Humanities, Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, Health Sciences, Mathematics/Computer Science, Physics/Astronomy, Psychology, and Social Sciences). Each abstract should explain the work that was performed and discuss the importance of the work to society (i.e., what larger problem were you trying to solve or understand?).
Please note that membership in CUR is required to submit an abstract. The student's institution must be an institutional member, or the advisor must be an individual member. To see a list of institutional members, please visit here
. Should you have a question about CUR membership or your membership status, please contact CUR's Director of Membership, Lindsay Currie at email@example.com
Abstract submissions will only be accepted by using our on-line submission form. Please refer to the "Information Required to Submit" document linked at the bottom of this page, as this will layout the required application information you will need to prepare prior to starting the submission process. Once you submit your abstract you will receive an email confirmation that we have received it, please note you will also receive an email for partically completed submissions which include instructions on how to login to complete the application (be sure to read these emails carefully to ensure you have a complete submission). An email confirmation will also be sent to the Advisor listed on your application. Their email will include directions on how to upload an electronic letter of recommendation. This letter must be submitted no later than the extended deadline of November 8, 2012, and must be on institution letterhead. Abstracts that are received for which no letter of recommendation has been submitted will not be considered. Only one letter of recommendation should be sent, and the signature on the letter must match the name of the advisor listed in the application. Multiple advisors may sign the single letter. The letter of recommendation should include the following information about the students':
1) progress toward completion of the project and probability of completion by March 1 of that year,
2) command of the subject matter,
3) communication skills, and
4) prior experience presenting the material to both technical and non-technical audiences.
Each time the application is submitted, the confirmation emails will be sent, and will include all information that is listed in the application. To confirm whether your letter has been received, please refer to the "Attachments" section of the confirmation.
Reviewers are CUR members and Councilors in our disciplinary divisions. Your application will be reviewed by these individuals within the same discipline as you indicate on your application. The reviewers are asked to consider:
- The readability of the abstract to a non-technical audience
- The student’s demonstrated ability to present to a non-technical audience
- The technical merit of the project
- The broader interest of the project
- Is the research complete or is it reasonable to assume that the research will be completed by March?
THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION for the 2013 Posters on the Hill Session has been extended to November 8, 2012 - no exceptions. Please note that this date is earlier than in typical years as we are pleased to announce a partnership with Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and we anticipate that the meeting will be held in mid-March. After November 8, 2012 you will no longer be able to access the submission form. For those selected to be presenters, as well as their advisors there will be a registration fee assessed to partially cover the expenses of breakfast, the evening reception or luncheon panel and facility/equipment rental. Guests of students will be able to attend at a discounted rate.
This is a unique opportunity that we believe will have a very positive impact on the future of federal funding for undergraduate research. We encourage undergraduates from both public and private predominantly undergraduate institutions, research universities, and those who have done their work at a national laboratory or facility to submit abstracts. A committee of CUR members anticipates selecting approximately 60 posters for participation in the evening poster session and approximately 15 posters for the luncheon panel and poster session. Students selected for participation will be notified in late February.
Funds are not available through CUR to support costs associated with student travel and lodging for the poster session. Students and their mentors should consider exploring a variety of sources of support, including their President's Office, Government Relations Office, academic dean, etc. While students may present their poster without mentor accompaniment, mentors are strongly encouraged to participate in the poster session.
A full day of activities is anticipated. In addition to the evening poster session and reception and luncheon panel, there will be field trip opportunities the day before, followed by an evening orientation session with a light dinner, and morning speaker session with a continental breakfast the day of the sessions. Students and their advisors will have an opportunity to visit their Congressional Representatives and Senators to talk about undergraduate research. CUR will provide instructions for setting up these meetings, but you should also consider contacting your institution's government relations officer as they might have contacts in the Congressional offices that you can utilize.
The primary selection criteria include:
- project quality, (e.g. timeliness, level of completion, and interest to both the scholarly and general communities),
- communication skills (e.g. being understandable by any educated person), and
- disciplinary and geographical distribution.
It is unlikely that more than one student project will be selected per school, but up to four students may be associated with a project.
Accepted participants may request sample press releases and other materials for their campus representatives.