Discover Grant

The Discover Grant for Undergraduate Summer Research (sponsored by the Schwartz Undergraduate Research Fund) supports immersive, full-time summer research experiences for undergraduate students at the University of Rochester. The goal of the program is to help students get involved in research early in their academic careers and enhance their competitiveness for future fellowships and other advanced research opportunities.

Fast Facts

  • Deadline: March 31
  • Purpose: living expense support to be used toward early academic career, mentored summer research projects that are otherwise unpaid
  • Eligibility: University of Rochester undergraduates in Arts, Sciences, & Engineering—with the exception of graduating seniors—working under the mentorship of a University of Rochester faculty member
  • Time requirement: minimum of 300 hours of research-intensive involvement through the summer
  • Funding: up to $5000 fellowship to support living expenses. Decisions announced by April 18.


Info Sessions: January 26, 5-6 p.m. OR January 27, 5-6 p.m. via Zoom 

Link to Jan. 27 zoom session HERE

We'll cover grant eligibility, how to apply, and how to get started on great written statements.

Can't make it? Check out the overview slides.

Looking for some examples? Check out a sample Research Project ProposalPersonal Statement, and Mentorship Plan.

For assistance in crafting your resume, please see the resources provided by the Greene Center for Career Education and Connections.

The Discover Grant application is now closed; it will reopen on January 15, 2023

Students from backgrounds underrepresented in science, as defined by the NIH are especially encouraged to apply:

  • Students who are Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander.
  • Students with disabilities, and/or
  • Students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including first-generation college students and students who come from families with income below established low-income thresholds
  • All undergraduate students who will continue enrollment into Fall 2022 (including December 2022 graduates and T5 or e5 students) are eligible.*
  • Projects of all disciplines are eligible for the Discover Grant; however, they must
    • take place during the summer,
    • be otherwise unpaid (no hourly wage or large fellowship stipend), and 
    • be conducted under the mentorship of a University of Rochester affiliated supervisor.
      • Your UR-affiliated supervisor can work anywhere within the University of Rochester system: River Campus, URMC, the Laser Lab, Mt. Hope Family Center, etc.
      • Independent field or archival work may take you outside of campus walls—for example, a history or political science project that takes you to a research site in Mexico or China (with compliance to UR COVID-related travel guidelines). These projects are still eligible, so long as you are working with a Rochester-affiliated mentor to help guide your project.
  • Students engaging in their first research experience are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Students will only be able to receive one full Discover Grant during their time at UR. Students who received partial funding may reapply.

Not eligible for Discover funding:

  • May 2022 graduates.
  • Programs that include a fee or tuition to participate, including study abroad.
  • Research projects conducted under non-UR-affiliated supervisors. Summer research projects mentored by non-UR-affiliated supervisors are eligible to apply for Summer Internship Funding through the Greene Center.
  • Entrepreneurial projects. Students interested in entrepreneurship should connect with the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship for a variety of different financial supports.

*Please note: 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 apply for funding from the Discover Grant or other sources. You may apply for additional Discover Grant funding, but your remaining funds will be incorporated into your Discover Grant if your application is successful.

  • Applications open: February 1
  • Application deadline: March 31
  • Funding decisions announced: April 18
  • For awardees: all but $50 of the funds will be paid to the recipient no later than June 30; the remaining $50 will be paid upon completion of a follow-up survey that will be provided in September.
  • Final report/presentation: details under "Awardee Responsibilities"
Application Process
1. Search for and secure a research position.
  • Prior to applying, students must identify and secure a mentored research experience with a University of Rochester faculty member.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to find a mentor—applications are due March 31.
2. Apply online before the March 31 deadline, notifying your mentor EARLY about their application responsibilities.
  • The online application consists of a student section, a sponsoring faculty/mentor section, and questions about the research experience (details under the "Application Components" section). All application components must be completed and submitted to be considered for an award.
  • The deadline for the application is 11:59 p.m. on March 31. There is no advantage to early application, so take the time you need to develop the strongest application possible. Late applications will not be considered.
Application Components

Through our online application system, the STUDENT and SPONSORING FACULTY will complete the following sections of the application...

  1. Student information: contains basic information about the student (class year, major, contact information) and an eligibility checklist
  2. Student resume/C.V.:  .pdf format only
  3. Sponsoring faculty / supervisor information: please enter the name, department, and contact information for the faculty sponsor and the day-to-day supervisor, if different
  4. Research project information and mentorship plan: in this section, be sure to consider and address the following topics
  • Research Proposal (from the STUDENT): describe the aims, methodology, and significance of the project. The description should be written for a non-specialist audience (Limit: 750 words not including citations; .pdf only if uploading as attachment). See a sample research proposal.

  • Personal Statement (from the STUDENT): describe how this experience will support educational and professional goals. Optional: please describe any relevant needs, circumstances, or hardships the committee should consider (Limit: 750 words; .pdf only if uploading as attachment). See a sample personal statement.

  • Mentorship and/or remote supervision (from the SPONSORING FACULTY/MENTOR): describe how many hours per week the student will work on this project, how often the student and mentor/supervisor will meet, etc. If project is remote, please specify and tell us how progress will be tracked (Limit: 750 words; .pdf only if uploading as attachment). See a sample mentorship plan.

Both students and sponsoring faculty/mentors may submit and return to edit the application before the March 31 deadline. Students and supporting faculty will receive email confirmations after submission; the link to edit the form will be in the auto-generated confirmation email
Application Evaluation
  • A panel of UR faculty and staff will evaluate complete application packages.
  • Factors that will be taken into consideration in evaluating applications include the merit of the research plan and the educational impact of the research experience.
  • We anticipate that around 66 applicants will be offered funding. Each award is $5000.
    • Funding decisions will be announced on April 18. The Office of Undergraduate Research will maintain a waitlist of non-funded applicants, in order of descending application score, in the event that any student offered a Discover Grant withdraws their request or receives alternative funding.
Awardee Responsibilities

Award recipients will be responsible for

  1. Reading these linked instructions regarding tax responsibilities and direct deposit for the grant.
    International students: your award may be subject to withholding. Although you are likely eligible to apply for a tax refund in the spring through the IRS, please use the instructions provided to minimize any potential withholding.
  2. Participating in periodic programming with other summer researchers, as available. Schedules of these potential events will be distributed to awardees.
  3. Completing a follow-up survey in September. The Office of Undergraduate Research will award the remaining $50 of the grant upon completion.
  4. Completing a final report or presentation. Discover Grant awardees will be required to either present their research at the University's annual Undergraduate Research Expo or submit a 2-page report on their summer research. Details and submission deadlines will be shared with award recipients. Students who fail to submit a final project report or present at the UR Expo may be required to pay back a portion or all of their summer funding.

Please visit the Discover Grant FAQ page for common questions regarding eligibility, evaluation, decisions, and payment.