Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunity (URCO) awards provide a one semester, $1,000 scholarship to support original research, scholarship, or creative work by USU undergraduates with the guidance of a faculty member. Proposals may also include requests for additional funds to cover the costs of equipment, supplies, and project-related travel.
The Undergraduate Research & Creative Opportunity grant program is a powerful tradition at USU, going back to 1975. Mentor involvement is the keystone of the program, with faculty members and graduate students helping students conceive of, develop, and execute independent research or creative projects with scholarships and research funding.
A secondary but critical way that mentorship makes the program possible is in the evaluation of student proposals. The URCO application process is designed to be of educational value even before grants are awarded, mimicking the application process for most larger funding agencies such as the NSF or USDA. Every student that submits a proposal receives feedback on their application materials and encouragement to resubmit projects that are not selected for funding in the next cycle. Dedicated faculty, graduate students, and research staff contribute by assessing each application against our scoring rubric, then provide constructive written feedback on the proposal.
Reviewing can also be useful for faculty. Reviewers have the opportunity to learn more about research occurring in adjacent disciplines, are better positioned to mentor their own students through the application process, and can include this service in their own documentation of research and teaching efforts at USU.
With URCO grants awarded at the start of each term, we’re always looking for mentors willing to contribute their time to help review applications.
We request volunteers for three application cycles: October through mid-November, February through mid-March, and June through mid-July. If you have the time and are willing to review 4 to 6 proposals, please fill out this short form with your availability and discipline group(s).
The groups are as follows:
- Life Sciences
- Physical Sciences
- Humanities & Arts
- Social Sciences & Education
Each cycle, the number of submissions we get per category varies, so we may not need every volunteer. Alternately, if one category receives more submissions than reviewers’ capacity, we may reach out for additional volunteers from that category.
Thank you for your support of undergraduate research and the various programs we provide.