URCO Guidebook

What is URCO?

Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunity (URCO) grants provide a one time, $1,000 scholarship and up to $1,000 for research costs to support original research or creative work by USU undergraduates with the guidance of a faculty member.

URCOs are project/proposal based and support year-long (from award to report date) independent projects. The work must be original and substantive, given the standards and objectives of a student’s field. Each URCO proposal must be sponsored by a faculty member who has read and approved the proposal and who agrees to oversee the project to completion. Teams of faculty and graduate students review URCO proposals, and awards are made and coordinated by the associate vice president for undergraduate research.

URCO grants have two components: a scholarship component and an optional research costs component:

Scholarship component: All URCO awards include a $1,000 student scholarship, applied directly to a student’s account (students may not request to forgo the scholarship). The Office of Research covers $750 of the scholarship, and there is a required $250 match from another university source (generally, student’s home department, mentor, or mentor’s home department). Matching dollars must be confirmed by a person with budget authority at the point of application. Proposals without this confirmation will not be reviewed.

Research costs component (optional): An URCO proposal can also include a request for equipment, supplies, and research-related travel. These funds must be matched 1:1 from a university source (generally, student’s home department, mentor, or mentor’s home department). Up to $500 may be requested from RGS, making the total request for equipment, supplies, and research-related travel $1,000 (given a 1:1 match). Matching dollars must be confirmed by a person with budget authority at the point of application. Proposals without this confirmation will not be reviewed.

How many URCOs are awarded?

There will be approximately 20 to 25 URCOs awarded each round, with 75 total for the year.

What are my chances of getting an URCO?

Historically, roughly one-third of applicants are awarded the grant. You can improve your chances by providing a well-edited, detailed, original grant proposal.

How many times can I be awarded an URCO?

You can be awarded an URCO grant up to 2 times. You can apply for as many URCO grants as you choose, and we encourage students to revise rejected proposals and resubmit them in the next application cycle. Students may not apply for a second URCO grant within the year that their first URCO grant is funded.

How many students can apply for one URCO?

Groups of up to four students may submit an URCO proposal. In this case, the award is a $500 scholarship per student, with the Office of Research covering $375 per student and a $125 match from another university source. Groups may also request up to $1,000 for research costs, as above, with the 1:1 match from another source. All group members must be undergraduate students at USU.

What are the requirements for receiving a grant?

All students who are awarded URCO grants are required to attend an URCO orientation, present their research, and submit a final report.

Responsible Conduct of Research

As a research institution that receives funding from the Federal and state government, USU adheres to all guidelines for the Responsible Conduct of Research as defined by law and by university code. For URCO applicants and their mentors, this means acquainting yourself with the credentialing and approval processes required by the type of research you do. The Office of Research provides support in this area: if you are working with human or animal subjects, biohazards, heavy equipment, or other high-risk research materials or equipment and are not familiar with standard credentialing and approval processes, please contact us to get help navigating this necessary training and institutional review.

Orientation

All students who are awarded an URCO are required to attend an URCO orientation session (held twice per semester) prior to the funds being available. URCO training will include a description of the requirements, along with some other opportunities that are available to URCO awardees.

Presentation

All URCO grantees are required to present their work. This requirement may be satisfied in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, Utah Research on Capitol Hill, the Student Research Symposium, the Summer Research Symposium, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), or the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research (UCUR). A qualified professional conference is also allowable (and encouraged!). For the arts, an exhibition or performance may satisfy the requirement. URCO students may apply for the RGS Undergraduate Research Travel Award to help fund their presentation costs.

Report

A final report is required. The report should be approximately 2–4 pages summarizing what was done and the results of the project. In addition, an impact statement is required: What did the URCO do for the student researcher professionally and/or personally? A social media post about the project, while not required, will be strongly encouraged. For equipment grants, we require a budget report that includes scanned copies of receipts for all purchases.

Proposal Examples

Download an example of a proposal for your field of study.

Report Examples

Download example reports corresponding to your discipline.

Not every research project is successful, but all projects require a final report. If your project does not go smoothly, here is an example of the kind of report you can submit to show how your URCO grant benefited you as a researcher despite the project’s lack of success.

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COVID-19 Feasibility Guidelines
While we will continue to support student-led research projects in the 2021/22 academic year, the Office of Research is committed to the safety and security of all its researchers and research participants, from faculty and student employees to volunteers and human subjects. See current information about the university’s overall response and updated information on the main COVID19 page.

For the URCO applications submitted in the June 1-15, 2021 cycle for Fall 2021 funding, the following expectations should be met in order to qualify for the grant:

Travel

For any questions regarding travel to or from USU, please visit usu.edu/travel for updates.

The URCO program has moved all required steps for awardees to online format, ensuring that any student awarded the grant will be able to complete all requirements of the program remotely as needed. This includes a pre-award orientation training as well as post-project presentation opportunities and reports. If you have any questions regarding the potential COVID-19 impacts on your proposal, please contact Athena Dupont.