Student Research Grant Applications


All non-expendable items purchased or constructed with Student Research Grant funds will become the property of the College upon the completion of the project.  This includes tools, frames, excess reagents and lab supplies, models, equipment constructed and/or purchased, etc.

 

 Application Requirements

1. Read over the Funding Rules. Applications must follow the funding guidelines listed below or they will not be funded.

Funding Rules

  • Funding is provided for student research projects associated with a thesis, research or project course for which the student will receive academic credit. (ex. senior thesis or project, sophomore Scholar’s project, research practicum)
  • Historically, for research practicum courses, funds were awarded during the third term of the course (when the credit was earned).  If requesting a grant award before the credit earning term of your practicum is critical to ensure project completion, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Research (ugr-director@union.edu) to discuss funding opportunities.
  • Examples of projects that are NOT eligible: terms abroad, a term paper or other major assignment in a regular course, independent research projects not associated with a credit-bearing course

Typical funding is $300-$400 for projects with a complete application that follows the guidelines. Maximum funding is $500*. *Awards of >$400 are competitive. Only a few awards of $500 will be made each year.  Individual students will not be awarded more than $500 in one academic year.

NOTE: All items purchased with Student Research Grant funds become the property of the College upon the completion of the project.

Research Supplies:  These are divided into two groups: consumables (are used up during your project) and permanent equipment/reusable items (things that can be used again).

Consumables could include a wide variety of things:

  • art supplies
  • reagents
  • disposable supplies
  • parts for constructing a device
  • photocopying expenses in excess of $50 (at $0.05/page)
  • maximum of $100 total toward postcards/food for a senior art show.  Note that students may print up to 10 catalogs.  The catalogs may be distributed to advisors, the department, the gallery the exhibition is shown in, the library, and one for the student.  The cost of each catalog should not exceed $8.00 each.

Permanent equipment and reusable items require a 30% match by whomever will retain and use the items after the project is completed (i.e. the project advisor or department/program).  Reusable items are defined as things that the entity providing the matching funds (i.e. faculty advisor or department/program) has a reasonable expectation of being able to reuse.  Please discuss with your advisor the potential reusability of the items in your proposal and if they will be willing to provide matching funds for any of them if required.  Both your project proposal and your support letter should clearly discuss matching on reusable items.

Examples of items that in certain contexts have been determined to be reusable include**

  • costumes
  • sensors, batteries and other parts that can be disassembled and are likely to be reused
  • small laboratory equipment

Costs for permanent/reusable equipment should not comprise more than 50% of the requested funds.

 

Travel to gather data, view archival materials or conduct interviews

FALL 2021 NOTE: We are currently funding student travel through the SRG program during the Fall 2021 academic term. We will continue re-assess the public health situation as the year progresses. Please keep in mind that the travel policies may change at any time due to changes in Union College policies and COVID-19 protocols. 

ALL students are required to work closely with their faculty mentor to ensure that Union College’s “Policy for Traveling Off-Campus with Students” be addressed (see the Policies and Forms page for the policy and instructions on the paperwork). All students must complete the paperwork required of this policy regardless of whether domestic or international travel is planned. Faculty advisors are responsible for overseeing the completion of the requirements of this policy.

**Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we require that all travel arrangements are “Refundable”

  • Funds for travel† (use least expensive travel method available, for ex. bus to NYC instead of air/train/personal vehicle). As of 10/2017 the College reimburses personal vehicle mileage at a rate of $0.505/mile, and the maximum for lodging is $225/night.

 

  • Funds for per diem costs (reimbursement based on current College travel reimbursement policy) As of 10/2017 the College rate for students is $45 per day for meals.

 

  • Funds for entry fees to a museum or library.

 

Your application must provide a clear explanation for why travel is required and phone calls / videoconferencing or email communication is not sufficient.

Proposals for travel to interview specific individuals must include documentation that you are in contact with these individuals, and they have agreed to be interviewed.

Local travel is NOT covered.

 

Payment of Study Subjects

  • Typical rate is $10/hour for study subjects.
  • In lieu of payment, subjects can be offered a small gift equivalent in cost to what would be $10/hour.
  • We expect that in departments where course credit is offered for participation in studies that normally half of study subjects will receive credit rather than payment.
  • NOTE:  The purchase of gift cards is not allowed.

‡Funding will not be released until approval of the Human Subjects Committee has been received; include the approval number in your proposal.  If applicable, it is helpful if you seek Human Subject Research review prior to submitting your SRG grant proposal.  Provide the approval number in your proposal if possible.

 

Examples of items NOT covered by Student Research Grants

  • Gift cards
  • Minor expenses (paper, pens, books, phone calls, small amounts of photocopying < $50).
  • Tuition, workshop or seminar fees.
  • Payment of professionals (laboratory assistants, translators, musicians, web designers, etc.).
  • Purchase of alcoholic beverages.
  • More than $100 total toward postcards and/or food for a student’s senior show.
  • Purchase of major equipment.
  • Photocopying of articles used for research.
  • Cameras, tape recorders or other personal electronic devices.
  • Books or software.
  • Minor parts (for example: screws, bolts, wires, resistors)
  • Standard lab supplies (chemical glassware and plasticware, pipet tips, stockroom items)
  • Bulk supplies that will be used for other projects (these can be included, but should be discounted so that only the supplies used for this project are requested)

Beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, proposals by groups such as teams building a vehicle for a competition will be handled through a separate process, with a single round of funding that will become available in the Winter term. Details will be made available soon.

2.  Prepare your proposal.

The application requires the upload of a proposal and budget (in a single .pdf document).

Proposal Requirements

  • 1-3 pages long, single spaced (with appropriate citations)
  • A statement of the problem being investigated
  • Your tentative hypotheses or questions to be asked
  • Research or design methodology to be employed
  • Anticipated outcomes
  • Reasons funding is necessary
  • If you are asking for more than $400, clearly explain why this is an unusual project that is deserving of greater than normal funding.  Note that is not sufficient to say that a certain amount of money is needed to successfully complete the project.

Budget Requirements

    • 1 page
    • A breakdown of all anticipated expenses including the TOTAL cost of the project.  Please include vendor name and product quotes.  Include shipping and handling costs, if applicable.  Note:  the purchase of gift cards is not allowed.

If your project involves travel, the budget must include a detailed breakdown of travel costs (price quotes for commercial transport, detailed mileage estimates for personal vehicles (reimbursed at $0.505/mile as of 10/2017), estimated food costs (per diem rate is $45/day for students as of 10/2017), other incidental expenses).

  • For Study Subject payments, please indicate whether participants will be paid with cash or with a gift item.
  • A brief explanation of why each item is important for the project.
  • A clear indication of how much funding is requested from the Student Research Grant program and for what portions of the project the funding is requested.
  • A clear indication of which items are consumable supplies and which are reusable equipment
  • A clear statement of the source and amount of matching funds, equal to at least 30% of the cost of all reusable equipment.
  • Any other sources of funding, including department or advisor matches for equipment and student contributions.

Hints:

Don’t ask for the maximum amount thinking that we will cut it anyway.  We do not cut all (or even most) projects.  Cuts are typically made if the funding guidelines are not followed or if the expenses are not clearly justified.  If you request something reasonable that is well justified, a full award is likely to be made.  Note that “padding” a grant is unethical.

3. Ask the faculty member supervising your project to complete the Student Research Grant Support letter.

4.  Complete the application form here.

 

Note that only complete applications (i.e. proposal, budget and support letter) will be considered by the committee.

 

Collecting your Awarded Funds

How you receive your funds depends on what department your project advisor is in. Please check with your advisor and the departmental administrative assistant to find out whether your department has a reimbursement agreement with the Undergraduate Research program; if they do, purchases will be made through the AA, using department funds, and reimbursed at the completion of the project.  Otherwise, you will be receiving your funds through the Assistant to the Dean of Students as described starting in the next paragraph.

Grant funds may be collected only after an account in the student’s name has been set up by the Finance Department (approximately 1 week after notification of the award).

Beginning at least one week after you receive your SRG award notification email, you can submit an electronic request to pick up your funds.  To request your funds you will use the Fund Disbursement Request Form link imbedded in the SRG award notification email.  

All funds are administered by the Assistant to the Dean of Studies (Science & Engineering Center, Room S-100)***. Once you have submitted the Fund Disbursement Request Form, the Assistant to the Dean of Studies will email you when your funds are ready to be picked up. 

Special conditions before funding can be released:

Students requesting travel funds must complete all the forms associated with the College’s “Policy for Traveling Off-Campus with Students.”  See your research advisor for guidance on accomplishing this.

Any study that involves the use of human subjects must have the approval of the Human Subjects Committee before the proposal is reviewed. We will not approve proposals that have not received HSRC approval. For information see their website.  Include the approval number from the committee in your proposal.

Once the account is set up, funds may be collected in one of the following ways:

1. Purchases/Travel:

NEW IN 2019-20: Large expenses that will be shared by a group of students, such as hotel reservations and plane or train tickets, will be handled by reimbursement to the relevant department. The reservation or ticket purchase for all students in the group should be made by the departmental administrative assistant or a faculty member using a departmental or faculty credit card. Once the group travel has been completed, please submit the account # to be reimbursed, along with electronic copies of the hotel/plane/train/etc. receipts to Ruth Cotter (cotterr@union.edu).

Union College offers a credit card for temporary student use. This card is not linked to your Social Security number but to your student ID and does not affect your credit.

To obtain your SRG credit card you will need to complete the Fund Disbursement Request Form link imbedded in your SRG award notification email.  Allow a minimum of 1 week from the time you receive your award in order to set up your SRG account and credit card.  The Assistant to the Dean of Studies will email you when your SRG credit card is ready to be picked up.

You are required to provide receipts for all purchases made with your SRG credit card within two weeks of making the charge.  To do this, you can either bring in original receipts or submit electronic copies of receipts (no larger than 1 MB) for any expenses you incur.  If you choose to submit your receipts electronically, you are required to keep the originals until July 1 should the Finance Office need to review them.  We recommend you put all original receipts in an envelope for safe storage.  If you are not able to produce an original receipt when requested, you will be responsible to reimburse the college for expenses in question.

2. You will not be reimbursed for items you purchase using your own funds, or for items purchased prior to the date your proposal was submitted for SRG award consideration.  This includes purchases made with a personal credit card, cash or check, as well as purchases made by a faculty member or department on your behalf prior to proposal submission. Prior approval from the Director of Undergraduate Research is required should you need an exception to this rule.  Please note that NO STUDENT IS ALLOWED TO PURCHASE ALCOHOL WITH THEIR SRG FUNDING.  You will be required to reimburse the college if you purchase alcohol on your SRG credit card.

3. Human Subjects Reimbursement:  A cash advance will be issued to you to pay participant fees. To obtain your initial cash advance, you will need to complete the Fund Disbursement Request Form link imbedded in your SRG award notification email.  The Assistant to the Dean of Studies will email you when your Cash Advance Form is ready to be picked up.  Take the form to the Cashier (first floor of McKean House) to receive cash.  Cash advances are limited to a maximum of $125 per day.

To account for the use of your SRG funds, you are required to submit a log of your payment to all study participants to the Assistant of the Dean of Studies before additional funds are disbursed. The log should include the date of payment, the amount of payment, the name of participant, and a signature of the corresponding participant indicating that they are in receipt of payment for their participation in your study.

To obtain subsequent requests for cash advances (for up to the full amount of your participant fee award), please visit the Assistant to the Dean of Studies in Olin 210c.

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