URCO Impact Initiative

Student Research and Creative Activity Making a Difference


The Office of Research (OR) is pleased to announce the 2021 URCO Impact Initiative, a program to supplement the Summer 2021 cycle of Undergraduate Research & Creative Opportunities (URCO) grants. Undergraduate students at any level and in any degree program at ALL USU campuses (and in remote-learning programs) are encouraged to apply for an additional $500 unqualified scholarship per student for Impact Initiative qualified projects. The $500 will be added to the base URCO scholarship award of $1,000 individual or $500 per group member. It does not require additional matching funds, and it does not affect the amount of research expenses allocated.

This award will recognize and support excellence in student-driven research and creative projects that address one or more of the following themes:

  • Think, Care, Act:
    • Building an understanding of and tools for inclusion, diversity, and equity through research or creative work.
    • Aligning with the principles of Aggie Think Care Act
  • Enhancing Pandemic Understanding and Response:
    • Developing and communicating research-based, factual information about preventing disease spread, managing the impacts of infection, maintaining mental health, and raising community awareness of COVID-19 related issues.
    • Making available to the public materials that support health and safety, such as infographics, PPE, or other types of information or health and safety materials.
    • Working with specific populations on (and off) campus to help create a culture of safety.
  • Contributing to USU's Commitment to Community Engagement:
    • Impacting communities and engaging with community members and organizations.
    • Developing resources, technologies, or programs of benefit to a community served by USU’s land-grant mission.
    • Connecting with USU’s Center for Community Engagement mission of “developing active citizens through community engagement and scholarship” (https://www.usu.edu/communityengagement/AboutCCE).

Projects selected for the Impact Initiative will be made available to the USU community on the OR Student Research website, and successful applications for this additional funding will include an additional research communication plan on top of the usual dissemination plan.

Criteria

Projects must be:

  • Student-driven research or creative ideas of an individual or groups of up to four students working with a faculty mentor.
  • Completable in less than one year and prior to student(s) graduation.
  • Made available for public dissemination upon completion of the project.
  • Meets the standards of integrity and compliance expected of all USU research: rigorous, adherent to all discipline-specific best practices, and aligned with all USU, state, and federal research regulations and ethical expectations.
  • Directly addressed to one or more of the Impact Initiative elements:
    • Aggies Think Care Act values (https://thinkcareact.usu.edu/principles).
    • Enhancing pandemic understanding and response.
    • Contributing to USU’s Commitment to community engagement (https://www.usu.edu/communityengagement/AboutCCE).
  • Supported by at least one faculty mentor; additional research or community mentors or partners are encouraged.

Students from any discipline, campus, or degree program are eligible, but you must:

  • Have signed the Think Care Act pledge, regardless of project focus.
  • Be eligible for a normal summer URCO grant:
    • Undergraduate student status required; joint bachelor-master’s program students are eligible only if they are in the first four years of the program.
    • Full-time enrollment is expected for Fall 2021 if not enrolled in Summer 2021 credits.
    • Matching funds secured through faculty mentor, program, college, or other campus entity to fund 25% of the base URCO scholarship and 50% of project expenses up to $1,000 (no additional match required for additional Impact Initiative scholarship).

Research expenses up to $1000 are 50% Office of research and 50% Department, college, or unit

Scholarships ($1000 individual or $500 group members) is 75% Office of Research and 25% Department, college, or unit

Impact initiative supplement ($500) is all Office of Research

In order for your URCO proposal to be considered for the Impact Initiative, you need to submit:

  • A proposal that meets all requirements for URCO grants:
    • A project narrative no more than 2,500 words that gives the research background for this material (including a bibliography).
    • Timeline for work and completion.
    • Education plan outlining personal and learning objectives of the project.
    • Budget & commitment form outlining project expenses and matching funds.
    • Letter of faculty mentor support.
    • Curriculum vitae or resume for each applicant.
  • An Impact Statement (no more than 500 words) that articulates how your project connects to one or more of the three stated goals of the initiative: Aggies Think Care Act values, enhancing pandemic understanding and response, and contributing to USU’s commitment to community engagement.
  • An additional dissemination plan that will yield materials for public, virtual communication of your research. Final products could include the following:
    • Podcasts
    • Written communications suitable for public dissemination (research journalism)
    • Posters
    • Art exhibits (virtual)
    • Performances (virtual)
    • Videos
    • Websites
    • How-to guides or infographics

Technical and design support will be available to Impact Initiative grantees to facilitate the production of professional quality public, virtual communications tools such as podcasts, videos, and websites.

Proposals will be accepted between February 1-15, 2021. Please check with your mentor, department, and college for. Internal deadlines for applying for matching funds that may fall before February 15. When applying for the URCO, please check the box indicating that you would like to be considered for the Impact Initiative, and you will be prompted to submit the additional elements (Impact Statement, Virtual Public Dissemination Plan)