Funding Opportunities

Undergraduate Research and Creativity Award

The Undergraduate Research and Creativity Award (URCA) is designed to help faculty and students partner in meaningful projects that result in advances in understanding within their discipline/field of study. Support can be used to help defray the cost of material expenses and/or related travel, or can be used to provide a stipend for the students. The general URCA program is funded through the indirect costs generated by external grants awarded to UNCG. Students can earn up to $3,000 (annually) for their work. Faculty can request up to $500 in support of the project’s cost.

Special Category includes:

All awardees must present their results during the annual celebration of undergraduate scholarship held each spring: Carolyn and Norwood Thomas Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo

Fund Period – Deadline for requests:

  • Spring 2021 – October 4, 2020
  • Summer 2021 – February 14, 2021
  • Fall/Spring 2021/2022 – April 11, 2021
Instructions and Application
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the stipend amount of an URSCO URCA?

    Students are paid up to a $1,500 stipend for a given funding period (summer I, summer II, fall semester, and spring semester). Applicants may request a maximum of $3,000 for each student. The application has to specify the actual requested amount for each of the funding periods, with justification of any amount in excess of $500 per period.

    What is the justification of the requested amount?

    The mentor should provide reasons for giving the student money in addition to the benefits (specified earlier in the application) students receive when working on the project.

    One such reason may be that the project is very time demanding; if so, provide a justification for the hours the student is expected to work. Another reason may be that the student would otherwise take a higher paying job.

    Keep in mind that some benefits (such as a training in XYZ technique that is very important for student’s future career) are probably worth much more than the little bit of extra money the URSCO can provide in excess of $500 that the student could get for the period if the project is funded.

    Can the stipend from the award be used for project expenses such as supplies, travel, fees, etc.?

    The stipend will be paid to the student and it is up to the student to decide what to do with the money.

    Can a student receive both credit and the URSCO URCA for the same project?

    It is okay to receive course credit and the URSCO URCA award for the same project, but no student should be paid for the same work twice.

    Can a faculty member work with a freshman on the URSCO URCA?


    The URSCO URCA program can also support post-Baccalaureate degree seeking students who are enrolled at UNCG.

    What is the minimum G.P.A. a student needs to have to be eligible for URSCO URCA?

    The only requirement is that the faculty mentor is confident and comfortable working with the student.

    Can a transfer student be awarded URSCO URCA?


    Must the student be enrolled full time while completing an URSCO URCA?

    No, a student may be enrolled part time.

    How many students can a faculty mentor support through the URSCO URCA program in a given academic year?

    Up to two students. This can be accomplished in one of three ways:

    1. Extensive training in XYZ technique not typically covered during classes but important for student’s future
    2. One application for one student will be funded; OR
    3. Two unique proposals, one with each student, will be funded; OR
    4. One proposal that supports two different students will be funded.

    In the last case, the faculty mentor should clearly distinguish the unique role each student will play in the project, as well as the skill development and benefits each will receive.

    How many different applications can a faculty mentor submit in an academic year?

    No strict limit will be enforced. However, be reasonable and do not submit too many. The selection process is not a lottery and submitting an avalanche of proposals does not increase your chances of being funded. Keep in mind that you should provide different benefits for different projects or students.

    Can a faculty mentor use URSCO URCA to support a student that is part of a large, on-going research program?

    Yes. However it is important to clearly delineate the role the student will play in the overall project as well as the benefits for the student and mentor.

    Who can apply to the program?

    Any member of the UNCG faculty can request support for an UNCG undergraduate. Individuals who are on post-doctoral assignments are also eligible to apply. If the mentor is not in a tenure-track line, a letter from their supervisor is required to address how the student will complete the project if the mentor should leave UNCG prior to its completion.

    When are URSCO URCA applications due?

    • Summer Proposals: midnight, second Sunday of February
    • Fall/Spring Proposals: midnight, second Sunday of April
      • Watch for additional requests for proposals.

    Do you accept late applications?


    How do I apply for an URSCO URCA?

    Click here for instructions on how to submit an URSCO URCA award proposal.

    May I see an example of a successful proposal?

    Click on the links below to see an example of an URCA proposals selected for funding in Summer 2014.

    Please make sure your proposal has sections A-G. (See instructions for applications for more details)

  • Six Tips for URCA Writers ~ by a reviewer
    1. Make sure you addressed all of the questions! You would be surprised how often the goals are not specified and a lit review is presented (only), or how often people skip the budget justification. You should also proudly list your department(s) on the cover page.
    2. Projects should produce products that enhance faculty output. The projects are funded out of indirect costs. Therefore, you should be clear about what research, scholarly, or creative products will be produced. Projects that enhance teaching but produce no output are unlikely to be scored as highly as projects that produce outcomes.
    3. Think carefully about what the student gains. Be clear about what skills or knowledge the student gains, as well as any networking, personal growth, or other benefits. Some of the best proposals explain exactly what skills the student gains. The worst proposals just have students doing clerical work or other activities that do not obviously enhance their learning or marketability. The student should be involved in conceptual components of the research, not just carrying out tasks for the faculty member’s research. The greater the student role, the more impressive the project. If you plan to present it, publish it, or perform it, suggest some places that might happen.
    4. Justify your expenses carefully. The budget justification is strongest when there are research expenses that should be covered. For example, paying participants, buying necessary equipment or materials, and accessing materials that are behind a paywall are all expenses that couldn’t be met in another way. If the project is going to pay a student, make sure you explain (1) why this is beyond what could be done using a standard honors thesis or independent study course in terms of hours needed; or (2) that the student will be doing this instead of outside work, or has notable financial need. Keep in mind that in many departments, taking a 3-credit independent study (9 hours of work per week) is quite normal without any funding.
    5. Explain why we should care about this work. The project should be important and innovative, where possible. Innovation can come in the form of using new methods, integrating different approaches, or in terms of creativity. If the method is relatively new and being applied by your group, say that in the goals section. If we can’t understand why what you’re doing is new, it’s going to be hard to justify funding it. Remember that the reviewers are often not in your field, so they will mostly take your word for it that this is important in your field — but you have to explain it to them.
    6. Trade on past success or need, if you have them. If you have had successes in undergraduate research or creative accomplishment, list some of them. If you are new faculty seeking to get your work going or the work can’t be done without the funding, say that, especially if there is little funding available in your area.

Funded Projects:

Please note: some files require the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe web site.

All nonconsumable items purchased in support undergraduate research/creative inquiry become property of UNCG.