Nevada Undergraduate Research Award

STEM | Arts | Social Sciences | Humanities 

Student Eligibility

Undergraduate Research (UR) provides competitive grants available to all UNR undergraduates through the Nevada Undergraduate Research Award. These awards are co-funded by Research & Innovation (VPRI) 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 can be for original research/creative activity, research/creative activity associated with a thesis, or research/creative activity originating from a class project.

The project should be planned in close collaboration with an eligible mentor. Proposals are solicited annually in the Spring and Fall Semester. Projects awarded in the fall must be completed by the end of that academic year while projects awarded in the spring must be completed by the spring of the following academic year (ex: students awarded in the fall of 2017 must complete their projects by the end of spring 2018 while students awarded in Spring 2018 must complete their projects by spring 2019). UR does not fund undergraduate projects retroactively nor does it provide funding for research/creative activities that have already been completed.

Undergraduates may not be funded by more than one of the following awards in any academic year:

  • Honors Undergraduate Research Award
  • Nevada Undergraduate Research Award

Previously Funded Students

Students are eligible to receive more than one award from Undergraduate Research while at UNR. Previously funded students who have completed their original work are able to apply for a renewal. Applicants requesting a renewal 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.

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 or lecturer. Research/creative activity may include more than one mentor but one mentor must be eligible and identified as the mentor in the online application. Mentors are expected to be present on campus for a majority of the period of the student's award.


Up to $1,500 may be requested for materials, supplies, or travel to conduct the research/creative activity. This is not a scholarship and will not affect student scholarship status. Travel to a conference is not covered by this award, however travel to collect data/information is allowed.

The funding for each student is based on the grant budget request on the Budget & Budget Justification form in the application. Funds must be spent by May 31 of the awarded academic year. Extensions will be granted only with permission from the Undergraduate Research office. 

Additional Follow-up Requirements for Award

Annual Symposium Requirement

Nevada Undergraduate Research Award recipients must prepare and present a poster, oral presentation, exhibition, or performance at the Nevada Undergraduate Research Symposium, held annually in the Joe Crowley Student Union. This event is a venue for undergraduates to share their research, scholarship or creative activity with their peers, campus employees, and the general public. (current symposium)

Post-Award Survey Requirement

Award recipients are also required to provide feedback on the Nevada Undergraduate Research Award by completing a questionnaire provided by  Undergraduate Research.

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.

PDFs can be created a number of ways, UR 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
  • Literature Cited
  • Budget and Budget Justification
Human Subjects or Vertebrate Animals

No documentation is necessary for proposal submission; however, the project may require prior approval if you are awarded. You must have a conversation with your mentor about this possibility.

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 of 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

List all of the sources cited in the proposal. This is not part of the 2-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, small stipends/gift cards to survey participants etc. Non-allowable items include computers, equipment readily available through @One, travel to present at professional conferences. 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. This section also allows the justification for the grant request that covers anticipated expenses for each of the budget items. The grant request must not exceed $1500 in total, although the total budget of the project may exceed $1500.

  • 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.
  • Salary and hosting 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 the Undergraduate Research office by submitting the letter as an attachment to  

Do not submit an application 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.

Human Subjects or Vertebrate Animals

If the work includes human subjects or vertebrate animals the applicant will have an opportunity to note it in their application. If awarded the Nevada Undergraduate Research Award, it is the responsibility of the student to acquire approval from the Research Integrity Office or Animal Resources before research may begin.

Students planning research that may involve humans or their identifiable information should contact the Research Integrity Office for guidance about IRB review and the submission process. The office is the designated point of contact and offers consultations about projects to confirm if IRB review is necessary, and the level of review. The University recognizes the Research Integrity Office as the sole entity with the authority to make exempt and "not human subject research" determinations.

Research, teaching, and testing utilizing live vertebrate animals in the United States is regulated by numerous national, state, and local laws and standards, as well as institutional policies, to ensure species-appropriate methods of animal husbandry, veterinary care, procedural use, and the assurance of animal welfare. Regulations and ethical mandates place scientifically legitimate humane limitations on the types of research procedures which are appropriate for animals, as reviewed and approved by the University of Nevada, Reno IACUC.

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 and ASUN student senators 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 criteria will be scored E(excellent), VG(very good), G(good), F(fair), or P(poor).  UR weighs criteria 1 & 2 higher than criteria 3 & 4. The first two criteria relate to the two-page proposal:

Criteria 1. Intellectual/creative merit (clear explanation of scholarly/creative importance, novel idea, clear hypothesis/question/creative goals).

Criteria 2. Likely ability to complete the project (clear methods/approach, reasonable time line, access to equipment, reasonable budget).

Criteria 3. Quality of student's preparation (coursework, GPA, relevant experience).

Criteria 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


  • Academic Year 2018-2019 Award
    • Submission Deadline: Midnight, Monday, March 26, 2018
    • Recipients Announced: Friday, April 20, 2018
    • Present Results: end of spring 2019
    • Funds Spent By: May 31, 2019
    • Award Disbursement Period: Fall 2018-Spring 2019
  • Spring 2018 Award 
    • Present Results: April 30, 2018 
    • Funds Spent By: May 31, 2018
    • Award Disbursement Period: Spring 2018
  • Academic Year 2017-2018 Award
    • Present Results: April 30, 2018 
    • Funds Spent By: May 31, 2018
    • Award Disbursement Period: Fall 2017-Spring 2018

Required Downloads

Undergraduate Research Budget & Budget Justification

Sample Application Sections

Proposal Writing Workshops

Writing Workshop Dates:

  • TBD

Ready to Apply?

Online Application


For questions regarding the proposal format and contents please email

Currently Funded Students