CUR's flagship program is the Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships in Science, Mathematics and Engineering. It provides stipends for selected students, and may also cover other costs. Gifts from corporations and foundations, co-sponsoring scientific societies, grants from the federal government and gifts from individuals support the fellowships. In 1998, the Brian Andreen Undergraduate Research Fund was established to build a permanent endowment for the program.
CUR Suspends Summer Research Fellowships Program: a letter from Tim Elgren, CUR President 2004-2005
At its mid-year meeting, the CUR Executive Board decided unanimously to suspend the popular Summer Fellowships Program. The program had been operating on probationary status for the past two years due to a dramatic decrease in the number of stipends CUR was able to fund. The number of fellowships funded fell from a high of 59 in 1994 to single digits over the past three years. Proposal pressure remained high (164 proposals for 8 awards in 2004) until this past year. Unfortunately, the funding rate had dipped to less than 5%. At this rate, it is no longer an effective use of the generous time devoted by reviewers (two to three per proposal) or the CUR volunteers who serve on the Summer Fellowships Committee, not to mention the time devoted by faculty members submitting high quality proposals with little hope of funding.
For good reasons, the Summer Fellowships Program remained one of the most popular CUR programs over the past 15 years. During this time, over 400 student stipends were provided to enable undergraduates to pursue collaborative research with dedicated faculty mentors. Many of these stipends were awarded to students and faculty members at institutions where such support was limited or non-existent. These stipends provided an important opportunity for young faculty members starting research programs and mid-career mentors initiating new projects. Throughout the 90’s, this program filled an important need for the community of active scientists from primarily undergraduate institutions.
The Summer Fellowship Program was funded by a variety of government, corporate and individual sponsors. Recently, CUR Graduate Student Registry subscriptions also generated a number of stipends. Thanks to an initial donation from the Murdock Charitable Trust and subsequent individual contributions from CUR members and friends of CUR, The Brian Andreen Undergraduate Research Fund was established in 1998 to support undergraduate research activities. The Fund is named in honor of the founder of CUR and acknowledges his longtime service toward implementing and institutionalizing undergraduate research activities, particularly in his role as President of the Research Corporation. Income from the Andreen Fund will continue to fund undergraduate research activities within the other existing programs coordinated by CUR.
The funding climate for supporting undergraduate research stipends has changed dramatically during the past 15 years. CUR played a vital role in the first decade of this program by serving as an interface for industrial partners looking to support undergraduate research experiences, many of which were in the chemical sciences. Many of these corporate sponsors now fund their own initiatives, internal and external, to sponsor undergraduate student engagement in research. For example, Merck now funds nearly 10 new three-year awards annually to primarily undergraduate institutions through its Undergraduate Science Research Program (www.merckaaasusrp.org
). Furthermore, many of our own institutions fund a number of student stipends internally as one element of their own effort to institutionalize support for undergraduate research.
So it is with mixed feelings that I announce the suspension of the Summer Fellowship Program. On one hand, we’re suspending a program that has served many within our organization. On the other, we’re able to claim victory in our efforts to advocate for broad incorporation of undergraduate research experiences. The widespread adoption of these opportunities allows us to move on and focus our efforts on other initiatives that support faculty and institutions implementing and sustaining productive research programs that incorporate undergraduates.
click on the above link for more information on how to support the CUR Fellowships
2005 Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships
CUR is pleased to open our 16th round of summer fellowships. This year we are excited to announce to our Virginia members that we have received sponsorship for a fellowship from the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges. To see if your school is one of the 15 Virginia schools covered under this fellowship please go to VFIC's website at www.vfic.org
We also are in the process of negotiating another year of sponsorship from the American Psychological Foundation and anticipate having a psychology-specific award. In addition to these awards we hope to have at least 4-5 additional fellowships available.
- 2005 Fellowships Application Criteria
- 2005 Fellowships Online Application
The online application for the 2005 Summer Fellowship will be open on September 1, 2004. The submission deadline is November 26, 2004.
2004 Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships
- 2004 Fellowships Application Awardees
- 2004 Fellowships Sponsors
Registry of Undergraduate Researchers and Graduate Schools
The Council on Undergraduate Research has initiated a Registry of Undergraduate Researchers. The purpose of this registry is to facilitate matchmaking between undergraduates with research experience and a desire to pursue an advanced degree, and graduate schools seeking high quality students who are well prepared for research. The funds raised through Graduate schools purchasing access to the Registry are used to fund our Summer Fellowship program.