URCO Impact Initiative

Student Research and Creative Activity Making a Difference

The URCO Impact Initiative supplements the Undergraduate Research & Creative Opportunities (URCO) grants in support of community-engaged research that reflects USU’s role as the state’s land-grant institution. 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 eligible 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 recognizes and supports 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 Health and Wellbeing of Utahns:
    • Developing and communicating research-based, factual information about health and wellness
    • Increasing access to health and wellbeing resources for marginalized populations
  • 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”

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.


Projects should fall within the following guidelines:

  • 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.
  • Include a plan for making the research 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:
  • Supported by at least one USU 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 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 and Spring applicants; for Summer semester, students must be enrolled full-time in either the Summer or Fall term.
    • 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).

Breakdown of Funding Sources

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

Submission Requirements

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

  • 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 and 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
  • 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
    • Performances
    • 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 during the dates outlined in the URCO Timeline. Please check with your mentor, department, and college for internal deadlines for applying for matching funds that may fall before the URCO deadline. 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, Public Dissemination Plan).