Learning Through Research

Poster on the Hill Abstracts

Call for Abstracts

Submission Period: September 2-November 4, 2013

Questions about your Posters on the Hill application?  Please email: Mary Pat Twomey, mptwomey AT cur.org.
As the undergraduate research community works to ensure that those in the U.S. Congress have a clear understanding of the research and education programs they fund, nothing more effectively demonstrates the value of undergraduate research than a student participant's words, work, and stories.  Undergraduate research must be among those programs that members of Congress understand if it is to continue to be supported, and to grow.
In the Spring of 2014 the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) will host its 18th annual undergraduate poster session on Capitol Hill.  There will be an evening poster session and reception where students will have the opportunity to speak directly to member of Congress and demonstrate how they have been impacted by these programs.
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, Bridgewater State University.
CUR will invite representatives from federal funding agencies and nearby foundations, members of Congress, and Congressional staff 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.
Submission Process:
Students: The Council on Undergraduate Research invites you to submit an abstract for the 18th Annual Posters on the Hill. Your research should represent one of CUR’s Divisions (Arts and Humanities, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Geosciences, Health Sciences, Mathematics/Computer Science, Physics/Astronomy, Psychology, and Social Sciences). Abstract submissions should describe your research, scholarship, or creative activity and discuss its significance to society (i.e. what larger issues or problems were you trying address or understand?; how does your work relate to current policy issues?).
CUR membership is required in order to apply: either the home institution must have an institutional membership or the faculty advisor or undergraduate research coordinator must have an individual membership. Membership will be verified either when you select your institution or when you add your faculty advisor or undergraduate research coordinator to you application through the search function. To check membership status, please reference the list of institutional members. Should you have additional questions regarding your membership, please contact CUR's Director of Membership at curmember@cur.org.
Abstract submissions will only be accepted by using our on-line submission form. To prepare you application, please refer to the "Information Required to Submit" document linked at the bottom of this page. 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).
Advisors: You will receive an email confirmation when your student submits an application.  This email will include directions on how to upload an electronic letter of recommendation.  Please note that the letter must be submitted no later than the deadline of November 4, 2013 and must be on institution letterhead.  Without a letter of recommendation, an application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.  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 student's: 
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.
Review Process:
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 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.
Fees:  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.
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.
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. Students selected for participation will be notified in late February.
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.
Accepted participants may request sample press releases and other materials for their campus representatives.