UM Summer Undergraduate Research Group Grants (SURGG) 2021

Call for UM Undergraduate Research Grant Proposals 2021

UM ORSP Research Development invites small faculty teams to submit Summer Undergraduate Research Group Grant (SURGG) applications by March 26 to develop and pilot a new, intensive, thematic program of summer research or creative scholarship for a small cohort of UM undergraduate students.

The objective of SURGG grants funded under this solicitation is two-fold:  To prepare faculty collaborators to submit competitive external funding proposals for undergraduate research activities by designing and conducting a pilot summer program in a thematic area of interest to the faculty team; and the larger goal is to increase and expand opportunities for UM undergraduates to engage in research and creative scholarship.

Programs may be proposed for durations of 8 to 10 weeks, hosting cohorts of 2 to 5 students. Requests outside of these suggested ranges may also be considered, with compelling justification. All undergraduate participants will receive a $3,000 stipend for the experience.[1] Proposal budgets may also include an additional $1,000 per faculty mentor (9-month academic appointees only), and an expense budget of up to $500 per anticipated student, with detailed and justified expected expense categories and amounts. Up to $3,500 may also be budgeted for an independent evaluation of the program.[2] The maximum award amount for any SURGG grant will be $25,000.

To minimize potential Financial Aid complications related to providing paid experiences to students who are, or might be, simultaneously enrolled in credit-bearing courses, program directors are strongly encouraged to minimize the number of intersession or summer session terms overlapping their program. For example, programs that begin on or after May 31, and end by July 31, will not overlap with May or August intersessions.

In addition to describing their proposed program, applicants must identify a target external funding opportunity (or range of such possible opportunities) suitable for sustaining and expanding the new program in future years.  Those awarded SURGG grants will be expected to work with the ORSP Research Development Team to develop a proposal for submission to one of those opportunities within 12 months of completion of the UM funded SURGG pilot project.

Diverse and/or interdisciplinary teams, and those who have not received prior SURGG funding, are especially encouraged to apply. This program is NOT appropriate for funding existing UM undergraduate research programs.

Application Instructions

All applications must be submitted by March 26 via the Ole Miss InfoReady Review Portal.[3] , and include the following:

·      Title of Program (short but descriptive)
·      Team Leaders’ contact information
·      Proposed Start and End Date
·      Anticipated Number of Participants
·      Proposal Narrative (5-page limit): including the following named sections:

o   Purpose of Program
o   Program Activities
       §  What activities will participants be involved in?
       §  What programming or activities will all participants have in common?
       §  How will participants’ experiences differ?
       §  Where will the activities occur?

o   Research Theme and Focus

§  What is the unifying theme of the program?
§  Why is it important?
§  What is the (range of) research question(s) or hypotheses that will be explored?
§  What methodologies and approaches will be employed?

o   Recruiting/Selection Process

o   Advantage to Department:

§  What immediate advantage (if any), and longer-term advantage of the department for providing this experience to students?

§  NOTE: This is NOT a program to hire student workers. While some of their activities may resemble those for which others in their department are being paid to do as part of a job, the purpose of this program needs to be clearly, explicitly, and actually the development of these students as scientists/scholars, NOT getting tasks accomplished for a department or advisor. Nevertheless, certain benefits may accrue to the hosting departments or their advising faculty, such as developing a qualified applicant pool for UM graduate programs, developing an interdisciplinary collaboration with another department, or establishing a track record of broadening participation leading to more competitive grant proposals.

o   Benefits to Participants:

§  Aside from the stipend, what benefits will accrue to program participants?
§  What skills will participants develop or sharpen?
§  How will this experience better prepare them for future educational, scholarly, or professional opportunities?

o   Expectations of Participants:

§  What will be expected of the participants during, and following, the paid experience?
§  To what extent will the students be allowed to participate in the design or conceptualization of their project?
§  What follow-on expectations or opportunities will there be for participants to participate as co-authors on peer-reviewed scholarly products?

o   COVID-19 Safety Plans:

§  Describe your current plans, consistent with evolving University guidance, to mitigate the risk of spread of the Coronavirus in the conduct of your program.
§  Explain the expected range of problems that could result from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and your plans for responding to these problems.
§  For example:

·       What if program leader, advisor, or participant tests positive and has to isolate, or is exposed to a positive case and has to quarantine, and there are no isolation/quarantine spaces on campus?

·       Alternatively, what if there is a larger outbreak and the university has to temporarily scale-back further on-campus or in-person activities?

o   Mentorship Plan:  

§  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.

o   Team Rationale:

§  Describe how individuals will work together to provide a collaborative research environment.

o   Assessment Plan:

§  What are the target outcomes?

§  For the program itself?
§  For the participants?

§  How will you and others know the extent to which the outcomes have been realized?
§  How will you and others know how the program can be improved for future years?

·      Budget (1-page limit):

§  Detail all expected costs, including student stipends, mentor stipends, and other expenses.
§  Provide a narrative justifying the expenses.

SURGG proposals will be evaluated by faculty volunteers and others recruited by ORSP Research Development, and scored based on conceptual clarity, plan, potential impact to students, and potential for follow-on competitive external funding. Funding decisions will be made based on the application scores and the availability of funding. We anticipate making two SURGG awards in 2021.

Once awarded, faculty teams should begin soliciting or selecting the students who will participate as SURGG Fellows.  Selected teams should also immediately prepare and submit (by April 9) a new Student Program Request Form to, in order to be recognized as an experiential learning program for which participants can be paid in an other-than-employment capacity. Once program recognition is given and students are selected, the program should be conducted over the summer as proposed.

All SURGG Fellows will be expected to give a presentation on their project at a UM Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium on July 30, 2021. The Awarded Investigators will be required to submit a final report within one month of project completion.

Questions about the program or application process should be e-mailed to, and addressed to Jason Hale or Renee Cain.  Check UM

[1] Financial Aid Note: It is expected that most SURGG Fellows will NOT be enrolled for UM course credit during either summer term. SURGG Fellows who do plan to enroll for summer course credit should make an appointment with Ms. Cindy May in the UM Office of Financial Aid to discuss whether SURGG participation will jeopardize their total 2020-21 aid package.


[2] Assessment Note: The UM Center for Research Evaluation (CERE) has experience assessing summer undergraduate research programs. CERE can work with program directors on the front end of a project to design and conduct an assessment that is right sized for the project and budget.

[3] Ole Miss InfoReady Review Portal: