Nevada Undergraduate Research Award

Students in all disciplines – from STEM, arts, social sciences and humanities – are encouraged to apply for these opportunities.

Click here for important dates, proposal examples, workshop schedule and application.

Neuroscience student and mentor in a computer lab with brain imaging photos around the room


Undergraduate Research provides competitive grants available to all University undergraduates through the Nevada Undergraduate Research Award. These awards are co-funded by Research & Innovation and the Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN). All undergraduate students regardless of the field of study and class standing are eligible to submit a proposal. We accept proposals from undergraduate students in any discipline to fund student academic research, scholarship or creative activity under the direction of a mentor. Students must be enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno as an undergraduate a) in order to apply for this grant and b) for the duration of their project period. There are no GPA requirements for the Nevada Undergraduate Research Award, but transcripts may be used to evaluate the likelihood of a student's ability to complete the project.

There are four categories for submission: STEM, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts. Students are required to self-identify with only one category for their proposal. Proposals of research and/or creative activity can be an original idea, connected with a faculty mentor's research and course project or thesis.

The project should be planned in close collaboration with an eligible mentor. Proposals are solicited annually in the spring and fall semesters. Projects must be completed during the award period. Research continuations are considered to enable continued funded research. Awardees resubmit a proposal for each new research cycle for funding consideration. Undergraduate Research does not fund undergraduate projects retroactively nor does it provide funding for research/creative activities that have already been completed.

Although applicants are welcome to apply for more than one funding source, such as NSF EPSCoR and the Nevada Undergraduate Research Award, students may not receive simultaneous funding from multiple grant sources for the same project.

Previously funded students

Students are eligible to receive more than one award from Undergraduate Research while at the University of Nevada, Reno. All previously funded students who have completed their original work must submit a new two-page proposal and an additional one-page statement describing the results of their previous research and explaining the contribution that the newly proposed research will make towards the project. This is a requirement regardless of continuation of project or new project proposal.

Students approved for renewal will be required to present at the spring, summer, or fall Wolf Pack Discoveries symposium for each round of funded research.

Mentor eligibility

This award is provided through Undergraduate Research and must be supervised by an eligible mentor. Eligible mentors are those under contract with the University of Nevada, Reno or the Desert Research Institute during the award as either a faculty member, researcher, lecturer, or postdoctoral scholar. More than one mentor may be included on a proposal, but one mentor must serve as the primary point of contact. Mentors are expected to be present on campus for a majority of the period of the student's award and attend the Wolf Pack Discoveries symposium.


The NURA award period has three timelines and budgets available to best fit the need of the awardee's project. Students may apply for a semester cycle ($2,250), a summer and semester cycle ($3,375) or a summer only cycle ($1,125). Students are allowed to put in hourly student work at $15 per hour. Students are allowed to request funding for materials and supplies, or travel to obtain data. The total budget request including any salary, travel and materials is not to exceed the allotted award amount. Students requesting money for salary must provide an expected work schedule in their budget justification, and brief explanation of how the salary will help them in conducting their research.

The funding for each student is based on the sample budget and justification in the application. Funds must be spent by the end of the awarded academic year. Extensions will be granted only with permission from Undergraduate Research.

Additionally, faculty mentors will receive an award payment of $500 for each student they advise. This can be received as salary, be put into an account that can be used to support the faculty's research or be transferred to the student's award. If a student uses any portion of their funds for hourly wages, the faculty mentor will be responsible for confirming the work hours of the student. Mentor letters of support must include a statement acknowledging responsibility for monitoring the student's work hours.

For rules on allowable and dis-allowed purchases, please refer to the budget rules.

Travel requirements

This section contains links to 3rd party online content; if you experience any issues accessing this content, please contact Undergraduate Research.

Funded students are allowed to travel to conduct research. All the expenses regarding travel will need to be reflected on the Budget & Budget Justification covered in the Proposal Requirements below. Travel to present at conferences is not allowed under this award.

Students must work with their departments to complete the paperwork necessary for travel. Undergraduate Research will not be responsible for filing travel paperwork.

All students planning to travel in-state, out-of-state or internationally as part of their research must submit the following:

Undergraduate Research cannot guarantee reimbursement if students do not follow the University of Nevada, Reno’s travel policies.

Class presentation requirement

Students are required to present a brief synopsis of their research to a class they attend and share information about Undergraduate Research programming. Students will submit a signed form by their professor to Undergraduate Research.

Wolf Pack Discoveries Symposium

Nevada Undergraduate Research Award recipients present their research findings in a poster format. This symposium is attended by students, community partner organization representatives, university leadership, and members of the public.

Post-award survey requirement

Awardees and their mentors are also required to provide feedback on the program by completing a questionnaire provided by Undergraduate Research at the completion of their award.

Proposal requirements

The proposal application is a simple online form with fields to enter text, numbers, and upload PDF documents. We recommend preparing all PDFs and information prior to beginning the online application as the application cannot be saved when it is partially complete. Students are encouraged to view the online application in order to familiarize themselves with it. Proposals that do not conform to the format requirements, are late or are incomplete will not be accepted for review.

Undergraduate Research requires that PDFs uploaded for submission should be converted to PDFs from their original form (Word, Excel, Google Docs, etc.) If a document is scanned to PDF, make sure the final PDF recognizes the text in the document and is not merely an image of text. Additional assistance on creating readable PDFs can be found at the @One help desk.

Summary of components

Proposal sections to be uploaded as PDFs

  • Project proposal (two-page limit)
  • Previously funded student’s document (if applicable, one-page limit)
  • Literature cited/bibliography (if applicable)
  • Budget and budget justification (one-page limit)
  • Mentor’s Letter of Support
  • Current Transcripts

Project proposal

The proposal must consist of the sections and headings outlined below. The first five sections must be written by the student. The proposal must be written in a way that is understandable to reviewers from various backgrounds—write using simple, nontechnical terms. The formatting must conform to a two-page limit, single spaced, 11-pt. Times New Roman font, and 1" margins.

  1. Abstract
    • These are written to outline the content and give the reader an idea of what to expect in the paper. These should include all the major parts of the content, including the purpose or thesis, methodology, and scope of the work.
    • 50-100 words in length.
  2. Introduction
    • This is the place to tell us what the proposed research/creative activity is all about and place it within a larger context.
    • What is the goal/purpose of the project?
    • Clearly state the problem being addressed.
    • Point out why the project is necessary or important.
    • How does it connect to the larger discipline?
    • Discuss previous research/creative activity of others related in topic.
    • Identify any gaps in previous work that this research/creative activity would fill.
  3. Objectives
    • Objectives are specific, measurable or identifiable tasks you will do to address the problem identified in the introduction.
    • What are the specific tasks and expected outcomes of the research/creative activity?
    • Bulleting or numbering the objectives can be a useful way to stay on track and clearly present the aims of the project.
    • Include study questions or hypothesis as appropriate.
  4. Plans for research/creative activity
    • This section explains how you will accomplish the tasks outlined in the objectives section.
    • Clearly list and describe the steps required to complete the project and the specific methods used for each step. Use numbers or bullets if appropriate.
    • Discuss in detail how this research/creativity activity will address gaps in previous works.
    • Define essential technical terms and use plain language to the greatest extent possible. Reviewers will not be experts in your field so do not assume specific expertise.
    • Describe access to specialized equipment or resources required to complete the project.
  5. Timetable
    • Use text or a table to explain the general timing of the steps outlined in the plans.
    • Be realistic. Reviewers will be looking to see if your project is feasible.
  6. Dissemination of results
    • At a minimum include your intent to present at the Nevada Undergraduate Research Symposium.
    • You are encouraged to find other avenues to share your work (publications, professional presentations, other university symposiums, performance, exhibit etc.)
    • Demonstrate who will benefit from the research/creative activity that is done and how to share it with the public, other students, and the academic community.

Literature cited/bibliography

List all of the sources cited in the proposal. This is not part of the two-page proposal. Use a citation format that is common within your field.

Budget & budget justification

The online application will provide an opportunity to list all planned expenditures; allowable expenses include materials, supplies, postage, software, copying costs, travel to collect data/information, stipends, and gift cards to survey participants etc. Items that are not allowed without justification include computers and equipment that is readily available through your department or @One. Travel to present at professional conferences is also not allowed. Equipment obtained through @One, DeLaMare Technology Lending or a similar no-cost equipment/media rental facility on campus does not need to be listed in the budget. The mentor’s stipend must not be included in the student’s budget. This section also allows the justification for the grant request that covers anticipated expenses for each of the budget items.

  • Provide a specific list of ALL items, their quantities, and their costs required for the project, creating a total budget.
  • Identify each item to be purchased through this grant, creating a grant request.
  • Provide justification for each item in the budget that qualifies as a grant request item.
  • Hosting costs are not permitted in the budget.
  • If applicable, identify any additional funding that has been attained to cover any costs not covered by the grant request. No tickets may be sold for any event that is associated with fulfilling the annual symposium requirement.

Mentor's letter of support

The proposal must include a letter of support from the mentor indicating his/her approval of the proposal and describing the mentor's level of involvement in the project. It is the responsibility of the applicant to request that a letter of support from the mentor be ready for submission. If your mentor provides you with the letter of support, you may upload a PDF in the application. Alternatively, your mentor may directly submit your letter of support to Undergraduate Research by submitting the letter as an attachment to

Do not apply without first discussing the letter of support from your mentor.

Note that this is not merely a reference letter. The letter should:

  • Describe the mentor's endorsement of both the proposal and the student.
  • Describe the mentor's prior experience with the student (class, lab assistant etc.)
  • Describe the qualifications of the student and their preparation to complete the proposed project.
  • Indicate the mentor's commitment to oversee the project.
  • Report whether the mentor has directed any projects funded by the Honors Undergraduate Research Award or the Nevada Undergraduate Research Award in the past five years and include the name(s) of the student awardee(s), if any.
  • If a student's GPA is less than a 3.0, the mentor must address this in their letter of recommendation.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to request a mentor's letter of support from the mentor identified in the application.


Applicants must include a pdf of their unofficial transcript as a supplement to the proposal.

Projects involving human subjects or vertebrate animals

Prior approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for human subjects and/or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for animal subjects is not required for proposal submission. However, students chosen to receive a scholarship under this program who anticipate the use of human or animal subjects in their research must receive approval of their research protocols by the appropriate review board prior to the beginning of their research and the release of funds.

  • Human subjects: If this proposed project involves the collection of information from human beings through interaction or observation, include an attachment (not included in the two-page limit) that provides sufficient information to enable reviewers to evaluate potential risks to subjects. Include information concerning the subject population, type(s) of information to be gathered and measures to be taken to protect privacy and reduce risks.
    Visit Research Integrity & Security for more information.
  • Vertebrate subjects: If this proposed project involves living vertebrate animals in any way, include an attachment (not included in the two page limit) that provides sufficient information to enable reviewers to evaluate the choice of species, number of animals to be used and any exposure of animals to discomfort, pain or injury.
    Visit Animal Resources for more information.

Review process

Separate review panels will be created to evaluate the four application categories, STEM, Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. The Nevada Undergraduate Research Award review panels will be comprised of University of Nevada, Reno faculty, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and advanced Undergraduate Research alumni appropriate to each sub-discipline. Reviewers on each panel will still reflect a wide range of disciplines and each will be assigned a set of proposals to evaluate. Remember to write to a well-educated but non-specialized audience. Reviewers are instructed to weigh criteria by providing scoring and written comments for each application. Written comments will be shared with individual applicants once the selection process is complete.

Selection for this grant is determined by the scores provided by the reviewers. Each criterion will be scored E(excellent), VG(very good), G(good), F(fair), or P(poor). Undergraduate Research weighs criteria 1 & 2 higher than criteria 3 & 4. The first two criteria relate to the two-page proposal:


  1. Intellectual/creative merit (clear explanation of scholarly/creative importance, novel idea, clear hypothesis/question/creative goals)
  2. Likely ability to complete the project (clear methods/approach, reasonable timeline, access to equipment, reasonable budget)
  3. Quality of student's preparation (coursework, GPA, relevant experience)
  4. The final criteria is based on the mentor's letter of support

Application submission confirmation

When you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours that your proposal has been received. If you do not receive an email, please call (775) 682-8403 or email



Fall 2024 awards

  • Award Disbursement Period: Fall 2024
  • Application due by 5 p.m., Monday, April 8, 2024
  • Present results: Wolf Pack Discoveries symposium in December 2024
  • Funds spent by: December 31, 2024

Required downloads

Sample application sections

Proposal writing workshops

Register for the proposal writing workshops being held via Zoom.

  • Friday, March 8, 2024, 10-11 a.m.

Ready to apply?

Online application


For questions regarding the proposal format and contents please contact Undergraduate Research.