Undergraduate Summer Research Funding FAQ
Do I have to have confirmation of my opportunity before I apply? That is, can I apply in anticipation of a position?
You must have confirmed and accepted a summer research position with a mentor before applying. You will need to have had a thorough conversation with your summer mentor about your roles, responsibilities, and goals for the summer. Your mentor will contribute a separate portion of the application in which they will detail their mentorship plan for you—this component is due on March 27.
What if it doesn’t seem like a mentor will have an offer ready by the application deadline?
Let prospective mentors know early that, if you are to be eligible for University support, you have a deadline! This can be included as a line in your email (“I am eligible to apply for summer research funding should a project and mentorship plan be made prior to March 20th”), or in communications about setting up an interview or following up to an interview. Remain polite, and just let the faculty member know that receiving a decision in time to apply for funding will help you determine the feasibility of accepting an offer.
I connected with my mentor in April. Can I apply for funding?
All funding decisions will be announced April 10, at which point all available funds will have been allocated. Due to our budgetary constraints, applications received after the March 20 deadline will not be considered.
My day-to-day supervisor is a graduate student. Can I apply for funding?
Yes. Your day-to-day supervisor / mentor can be any University of Rochester affiliated faculty member, posdoctoral student, graduate student, or research staff member.
My research isn’t on campus. Am I still eligible for the Discover Grant?
Projects on River Campus, the Medical Center, the Laser Lab, Mt. Hope Family Center, Highland Hospital, or any other UR-affiliated site are eligible. Projects taking place off-campus must be mentored by UR faculty. For example, a history student traveling to Mexico for their research that is supervised/mentored by a UR history professor is eligible to apply for Discover. Students conducting research at different institutions under the supervision of non-UR faculty are not eligible for the Discover Grant and should, this year, apply for Summer Internship Funding through the Greene Center.
I’m an international student. Am I still eligible for the Discover Grant?
Yes! UR students of all nationalities are welcome to apply. However, international students should be aware that taxes may be withheld from your award amount dependent on the tax treaty between the US and your country of citizenship.
I’m graduating in May. Am I still eligible for the Discover Grant?
No; unfortunately, we can only support projects for current students who will also be enrolled at the University of Rochester the following fall semester.
My mentor is paying me. Am I still eligible for the Discover Grant?
Our budget necessitates that we prioritize unpaid research positions. If you are being paid an hourly wage by your mentor, we cannot provide further support.
There is a program fee associated with my research experience. Am I still eligible for the Discover Grant?
No. The Discover Grant cannot support experiences with associated program fees, including payment for course credits, even if they include a research component. Have your mentor reach out the Office of Undergraduate Research for options.
I am applying for (or have) another fellowship/grant to support my summer research. Am I still eligible for the Discover Grant?
We strongly encourage students to apply for other fellowships! However, if you do have or receive another large fellowship/grant, we must ask that you prioritize that opportunity and allow our office to give funding for research to another student whose research would be otherwise inaccessible. Students with RIG, HRIG, or the Humanities Center’s Meliora Scholars Program funding must use their pre-allocated funds before they are eligible to apply for a Discover Grant. We will cross-check award lists with contacts in other departments and centers to make sure our collective funding is supporting as many research opportunities as possible.
Example of available on-campus fellowships include
- American Heart Association Undergraduate Student Summer Fellowship (Biological Sciences)
- Bilski-Mayer Fellowship (Cognitive Sciences)
- Center for Visual Science Fellowship (Cognitive Sciences, Optics)
- De Kiewiet Fellowship (Biology)
- Eisenberg Fellowship (Chemical Engineering)
- Interdisciplinary Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs (STEM)
- Physics Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program (Physics)
- Strong Children’s Research Center Summer Program (Pediatrics)
- Summer Scholars Program (STEM)
- Xerox Fellowship (Engineering)
I have a Research and Innovation Grant (RIG). Am I still eligible for the Discover Grant?
If you are a Research and Innovation Grant (RIG or HRIG) or Meliora Scholars funding recipient, you will be expected to use your RIG or Meliora Scholars funding before you may apply for funding from another source, including Discover.
Do I need to work 40 hours per week to be eligible for the Discover Grant?
You need to be involved in 300 hours of research-intensive activity over the summer. You may fulfill this 300-hour requirement over the summer weeks however you and your mentor choose.
What is required in my written proposal?
You will write two separate statements: one research-oriented and one personal. Please use the prompts provided in the application to identify proposal requirements and address each carefully. Other resources that may help in writing your proposals are included below:
- General application evaluation guidelines
- Annotated, first-draft sample statements: personal statement and research statement
Where can I get assistance on my application?
Students are encouraged to utilize the Greene Center's Collaboration Hours (M–F, 1–4pm) and the Writing Fellows program, in conjunction with the general evaluation guidelines, for support on their portion of the application. Each application is expected to be unique and reflective of the applicant’s original thoughts and ideas.
How likely am I to receive a Discover Grant?
We anticipate receiving 150+ applications for approximately 75 available awards. The Discover Grant is competitive, and no partial funding will be awarded.
Is there a way to check on the status of my application or confirm submission?
You should receive an email confirming application submission from the online system; check your inbox and spam folder for a message from PerfectForms. No funding decisions will be released prior to April 10, at which point you will receive an email regarding your status.
What is the maximum award I can receive?
Our budget enables us to give around 75 awards of $2,500 each. Starting in 2020, students will only be eligible to receive one Discover Grant during their time as an undergraduate. For the 2020 application cycle, previous awardees are still eligible to apply.
If I receive the award, do I need to log my hours?
No; your final report or presentation will serve as your affirmation that you completed your 300 hours of summer research involvement.
Is there any way to appeal a decision?
No. All funding decisions are final.
RECEIPT OF PAYMENT
When will I receive my funding?
Payments are currently made in two allocations, one in June and one in July. Our funding sources cross over the University’s fiscal year which begins July 1.
How will I get my funding?
You are strongly encouraged to set up direct deposit through HRMS. You can find information on direct deposit, VPN, and taxation on this guidance page.
- If you already hold a position on campus, you can adjust your direct deposit status in your HRMS account.
- If this is your first payroll-eligible position, you will need to wait until you are “hired” in HRMS to set up direct deposit. As this may happen after you leave campus, you are strongly encouraged to get the university’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) client installed on your computer prior to leaving campus for the summer.
If you do not have direct deposit set up, checks will be distributed by payroll to our office, your CMC box, or your primary appointment site—it can get complicated, and there may be a delay in receiving your funding as a result. Therefore, we strongly prefer you set up direct deposit for your payments.
Is the Discover Grant taxable?
The Discover Grant is generally considered taxable income, and you should discuss the implications of this with a tax professional familiar with your individual situation.
Will tax withholding be taken out of my Discover Grant payments?
- US Citizens and permanent residents will not have tax withholding removed from your check.
- International students will have income taxes withheld according to the United States' tax treaty with your country of citizenship, which can range from 0% up to 30% of your award. Further information on taxes and steps to minimize withholding for international students can be found on the ISO website and our general guidance page.