skip to main content
Undergraduate Research at UM
University of Mississippi

UM Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (UM-SURE) 2019: Call for Proposals for Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship

Posted on: February 2nd, 2019 by

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs seeks applications in two tracks for UM Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences (UM-SURE); also, for Undergraduate Travel Grants.

Track-1: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF)

This track is for applications from UM undergraduate students to conduct mentored research or creative scholarship projects on the Oxford campus in Summer 2019. SURF applications are sought from currently enrolled UM freshmen, sophomores, and juniors from a broad range of backgrounds, disciplines, and program affiliations.

The most competitive applications will propose work in which the student makes a substantial independent contribution. The proposed work should result in, or contribute to, a significant finished product for the student—for instance, authorship on a publishable manuscript, or the production or presentation of a creative work.  This product should be targeted for completion within six months of end of the funded period.

SURF Fellows will conduct their projects during a 9-week experience on the Oxford campus, beginning May 28, 2019, and ending July 26, 2019. SURF Fellows will receive a taxable $3,000 participation stipend payable in five semi-monthly installments throughout the program period.[1]  Faculty Mentors on 9-month contracts may receive a $1,000 mentorship stipend. Applications may also request up to $500 to cover additional, detailed expenses required to complete the project. Thus, the max budget for each application is $4,500$3,000 + $1,000 + $500.

SURF Applications should be developed and submitted by students in close consultation with their prospective faculty mentors, and must include:

  • Student’s name, classification at the time of the application, major department/program, and faculty mentor.
  • A description (max 1,000 words) of the scholarly project and the activities in which the student will be engaged to carry out the project. If the summer project is a portion of a larger piece of work such as a senior thesis, the description should address the role of the summer component in the larger project.
  • A description of the role the project plays in contributing to the student’s broader academic and/or professional goals.
  • A description and proposed timeline for completion of the anticipated product of the scholarly activity (e.g., publishable manuscript, research presentation, senior thesis, creative piece or performance, etc.).
  • Expense Budget. A short but detailed description of each anticipated project cost, and why it is needed. Generally, this is expected to total between $0 and $500.

Upon submission of the application by the student, the faculty/mentor will receive an e-mail prompt to fill out and submit, within one week, a confidential endorsement form via the portal. The endorsement form, downloadable from, will require:

  • brief description of the scholarly project and both the mentor’s and the student’s roles in designing the project and in carrying it out.
  • An assessment of the student’s ability to complete the work.
  • A description of the nature of the mentoring relationship planned for the student during the funded period. If the mentor is already supervising the student, the endorsement  should include a description of the mentoring activities to date, and plans to develop or continue these activities during the funded period.
  • A description of the final product of the scholarly activity (e.g., publishable manuscript, research presentation, senior thesis, creative piece or performance).
  • A comment on the expense budget—including a confirmation that the project can be completed within 9-week timeframe with the budget estimated.

SURF proposals will be evaluated by a faculty review panel convened by ORSP, and scored based on the quality of the written proposal, the clarity of the plan/achievability of results, the student’s expected independent contribution, and the strength of the faculty/mentor’s endorsement. Funding decisions will be made based on the application scores, the diversity of disciplines represented, and the availability of funding. In the 2018 competition, 12 Track 1 proposals were funded from among 40 applications received (for a funding rate of 30%).

Students awarded these fellowships (SURF Fellows) must be present and engaged in their research projects for the full 9-week program period, with their mentors also present to guide them on the project.  Each SURF Fellow may also have the opportunity to participate with other SURF Fellows in a few common UM-SURE programmatic activities (e.g., training sessions, networking sessions, etc.) to be scheduled during the summer. At the conclusion of the fellowship, each SURF Fellow will complete the Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences assessment (DOI: 10.1187/cbe.07–06–0039), and submit an initial program report by August 31, 2019, a subsequent program report by January 31, 2020, and a final program report by March 30, 2020. In addition, SURF Fellows may be asked to participate in on-campus poster symposia, and news releases about the program or their individual projects.

Track-2: Summer Undergraduate Research Group Grants (SURGG)

Each Summer Undergraduate Research Group Grant (SURGG) will support a team of faculty members to offer intensive 9-week summer research or creative scholarship experiences under a common theme for a cohort of between two and five undergraduate students. Diverse teams of faculty from different disciplines are encouraged to apply.

The primary goal of this track is to prepare faculty collaborators to submit competitive external funding proposals for undergraduate research activities by designing and conducting a smaller pilot program. Applicants must identify a target external funding opportunity for an undergraduate research program, and will be expected to work with ORSP Research Development Fellows to develop a proposal for submission within 12 months of the UM funded SURGG project.

Winning faculty/teams will then recruit UM undergraduate student participants into the summer program as SURGG Fellows. It is strongly recommended that each program begin May 28, 2019, and end July 26, 2019. All undergraduate participants will receive a $3000 stipend for the 9-week experience.[2] Proposal budgets may also include an additional $1,000 per faculty mentor (9-month academic appointees only), and an expenses budget of up to $500 per anticipated student (or $2,500 maximum), detailed by expected expense, amount, and justification. Thus, the maximum proposal budget for program with 5 anticipated students and 5 anticipated mentors would be $22,250: 5x$3,000 + 5x$1,000 + 5x$500.

Track-2 Applications must include:

  • Biographical and Contact information for all team supervisors. Biographical and Contact information for any currently identified student participants.
  • Targeted Funding Opportunity for Undergraduate Research Programs.
  • Proposal (2-page limit): include statement of importance, background, hypotheses, methodology and continued research plans.
  • Description of undergraduate research mentorship plan (500-word limit): detail specific ways in which undergraduates will be actively mentored, with special attention given to student learning outcomes and scholarly products resulting from the research experiences of the students. Include formal advising roles and undergraduate mentorship.
  • Explanation of team rationale (500-word limit): describe how individuals will work together to provide a collaborative research environment.
  • Plan and Timeline for leveraging this award into an external funding submission, with an emphasis on how to sustain and expand the program.
  • Budget (1-page limit): detail all expected costs, including student stipends, mentor stipends, and other expenses.

SURGG proposals will be evaluated by a faculty review panel convened by ORSP, and scored based on conceptual clarity, level of feasible involvement of undergraduates in the research plan, potential for continued student involvement, and especially potential to sustain and expand the program through competitive external funding. Funding decisions will be made based on the application scores and the availability of funding. In the 2018 competition, two Track 2 proposals were funded from among five applications received (for a funding rate of 40%).

Once awarded, faculty teams may solicit and evaluate student applications, and select the students who will participate as SURGG Fellows.  The program should be conducted over 9 weeks in the summer as proposed. Awarded investigators will be required to submit a final report within one month of project completion. All student participants (SURGG Fellows) will complete the Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences assessment. (DOI: 10.1187/cbe.07–06–0039)

SURGG Fellows will be encouraged to present a research poster at an on campus research event, submit their research results as a manuscript to the UM Undergraduate Research Journal, and submit a summary suitable for posting on ORSP’s website. The summary should describe the project’s goals and content, what the student learned through the experience, and how participating in this research project contributed to the educational experience.

Undergraduate Travel Grants

UM undergraduate students may request up to $500 in competitive funding to defray travel and other costs associated with presenting the products of their original research or creative scholarship at regional or national conferences. These travel grants are designed to provide undergraduate students with the valuable opportunity to present their research and scholarship and more fully integrate with the community of scholars in their field.

Undergraduate Travel Applications should be submitted by the students and include:

  • Student and Research Mentor Contact Information
  • Confirmation of the acceptance of a paper for presentation at a research conference.
  • A detailed travel/expenses budget and schedule
  • Evidence of co-funding from other sources, if necessary, to cover any costs over $500.

Application Instructions

All applications must be submitted via the Ole Miss InfoReady Review Portal.[3]


Track 1 SURF

Proposals Due: Feb 28
Endorsements Due: March 8
Decision Date: March 22

Track 2 SURGG

Proposals Due: Feb 28
Decision Date: Mardh 22
Travel Grants

Proposals Due: No Deadline
Decision Date: Rolling

Questions about the program or application process should be e-mailed to, and addressed to Mr. Jason Hale.  Check UM Today for updates.


Q1: For the SURRG Proposal (2-page limit), the instructions say to “include statement of importance, background, hypotheses, methodology and continued research plans”
What should be the focus here?  Are these regarding the importance, background info, hypotheses, etc. of the summer undergraduate research program itself or are these referring to the research taking place?  Or both?
A1: Both. Please tell us why the research focus area is important, and give examples of some of the hypotheses and methodologies that will be pursued by the students under the mentorship of the faculty. These do not necessarily have to be the final hypotheses/methodologies, as specifics may depend on the students selected and their particular strenghts and interests. Please also tell us why it is important for undergraduate students to participate in projects like these.