Beginning a Research Program in the Natural Sciences at a Predominantly Undergraduate Institution Institute 

Starting a successful research program and conducting scholarly work at a predominantly undergraduate institution pose unique challenges for a new faculty member. This institute gives pretenured faculty members the opportunity to learn from and discuss with experienced faculty how to establish and manage a research program with undergraduates. At the institute, participants also will prepare plans for starting and/or advancing their individual research programs at their respective campuses. Topics to be covered include the following:
  • How to select undergraduate researchers
  • How to mentor student researchers, and develop and use their research skills
  • How to manage time - balancing teaching, research, and service activities
  • How to develop and select research projects appropriate for undergraduates
  • How to adapt from a graduate school environment to an undergraduate research environment
  • How to link research to the classroom, and
  • How to develop grantsmanship skills related to gaining external and institutional research support


Next Offering:

November 16-18, 2018

Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY

2018 Draft Institute Schedule


Institute Fees:

Application Fees:
$50.00, due with application submission
Should you be accepted to attend the institute, your application fee will be applied to your tuition fees. In the event that CUR does not accept your application, the $50.00 application fee will be refunded. Should you withdraw your application or elect not to participate in the Institute, the $50.00 application fee will be forfeited.
Institute Registration Fees*:
Registration Type Registration Fee
Enhanced Institutional Member $675 (per accepted participant)
Institutional Member $750 (per accepted participant)
Individual Member $825 (per accepted participant)
Non-member $925 (per accepted participant)
*The institute rates include all sessions, materials, and most meals (Friday evening through Sunday morning). Transportation to the hotel from an airport or train station is the responsibility of the registrant.
To guarantee that a place is held, payment for the institute must be received by the CUR National Office at least 30 days prior to the event, unless prior arrangements are made with the CUR National Office. Registrations for participants who have not paid, or made prior arrangements with the CUR National Office, may be cancelled. In the event that a participant’s registration is cancelled due to nonpayment, the application fee will not be refunded.
To check whether your institution, company or organization is a current member, please use the Institutional Member Directory or email the CUR Membership Team.  


Application Information:

Application Deadline:
October 30, 2018
Acceptance Notifications Timeline:
Accepted teams will be notified by early September 2018.
Other Important Application Information:
As a part of the institute application, please provide a one-paragraph narrative statement that includes the following:
  • A description of what you see as the future of undergraduate research at your institution, and
  • The desired outcomes from your participation in the CUR Institute.
In addition to the paragraph, please pose three questions that you hope will be discussed during the institute. If you wish, you may choose questions from the following list.
  1. What should be my research expectations for undergraduates?
  2. When should I submit my first grant proposal?
  3. I find myself in a department in which research is expected but not yet valued. What strategies can I use to overcome the notion seemingly held by some of the faculty that classroom teaching is much more important than supervised research and that research detracts from an instructor's classroom performance?
  4. In addition to learning about the research process, independent thinking, use of research instruments, etc., what else should students gain from a research experience?
  5. How do I establish rules (e.g., lab safety rules) and ensure that students obey them?
  6. How do I use my department's curriculum and my particular classes to attract students to conduct long-term research projects in my lab?
  7. How do I establish continuity between students coming into and leaving my research group so that I can keep the research program operational nearly continuously?
  8. How do I introduce research into my classroom?
  9. My institution does not have a grants and contracts office (or has one that is not well-staffed). How do I find the time to find appropriate funding agencies, and prepare and submit research grant proposals?
  10. What institutional and departmental policies and practices should I expect that will encourage or support my research with undergraduates?

Lodging Options:

Hotel - Group Rate Available:
Coming Soon


Cancellation Policy:

In general, the cancellation deadline is 30 days prior to the start of the conference, except where explicitly noted. Cancellations requests received in writing to the CUR National Office prior to the cancellation deadline will receive a full refund less a $50.00 cancellation fee. No refunds will be given after the cancellation deadline. Transfer of registration to another individual before the cancellation deadline is free of charge but subject to member classification charges due to differences in conference rates. Transfer of registration after the cancellation deadline will be charged a $50.00 transfer fee.
Institutions may not substitute one participant for another without prior approval of the CUR National Office.
CUR always suggests that registrants purchase low-cost travel insurance when booking their air reservations. Not only will this insurance cover your airfare in the event of cancellation, but it will also cover the registration cost for the meeting.

Last Offering:

The institute was last held November 18-20, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington, VA.


For questions or further information about the institute, please contact Tavia Cummings.