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Office of Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Research and Travel Grant FAQ

Am I eligible for an Undergraduate Research Grant?

Any student enrolled in a degree program at CWU who is conducting research, scholarship, or a creative activity with a faculty or staff mentor can apply for an Undergraduate Research Grant. You do not have to have declared your major; your project can be in any discipline. You must have a faculty mentor endorse the project and write a letter of support for your application.

Is my project considered "research"?

Are you making "an original intellectual or creative contribution to your discipline"? That's how the Council on Undergraduate Research defines undergraduate research: An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. Your contribution might be an experiment in chemistry, a series of paintings, a field investigation of primates, a musical performance, or many other possibilities—we consider all of those projects to be research. If you aren't sure if you are making an original contribution, talk to your mentor.

How should faculty provide letter of support?

Letters of support from faculty advisors are required for OUR's undergraduate travel and research grant proposals. Funding for these grants is competitive, and faculty letters are a key component in our decision-making. Prepare ahead of time, so that your student can include it with their online application.

With that in mind, please follow these guidelines in preparing your letter:

Compose your letter on letterhead.
Describe how you have worked with the student on this project, and why you support this funding request. If you have other funding sources, please describe them.
Describe your knowledge of the student's research experience and abilities, and how this funding will contribute to their growth.
If the student's project is part of your own, ongoing research project, please describe how this project fits in.
Once you are finished, the student will submit the letter alongside other required documentation when they complete the online application.


Am I eligible for an Undergraduate Travel Grant?

Any student who is enrolled in a degree program at CWU and is presenting their work in a professional venue can apply for funds to help offset the costs of travel. You, the student, must be the presenter — you cannot receive funding simply to attend a conference, exhibit or show. You must submit verification that your work has been accepted for presentation—if you have submitted your presentation but have not yet heard if it has been accepted, you may still apply and submit verification at a later date in order to receive funding. 

What if I'm traveling internationally? 

OUR travel grants can support international travel, but all University-related international travel must be approved in advance by Steve Cook ( in the Office of International Studies and Programs. 

Can I apply for a Grant after I have already completed the work or gone to the conference?

Only if you have communicated your intention to the Director of Undergraduate Research via email and received permission. If you plan to attend a conference prior to the posted application deadlines, you can submit your application prior to your travel and it will be considered in the next round of applications.

Who reads the grant applications? 

A committee of faculty from across the university read the proposals and determine which ones we should support. The committee includes members from each disciplinary area (natural sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, education, professional studies, business), but not necessarily anyone from your department or discipline. The proposal should be written with that audience in mind.

How does the Undergraduate Research Advisory Committee decide which applications to fund?

All aspects of the applications are important and are considered by the Committee when determining which applications are meritorious.

Complete Application: Applications need to be on time, complete, and well-constructed.

  • If you are applying for travel funding:
    • Indicate the location and dates of the conference, performance, or juried exhibition where work will be presented.
    • Submit the letter/email from the conference or event indicating that your project has been accepted and that you have been invited to present or perform. The student(s) must be the lead presenter(s) – if you are presenting with other students and/or your mentor is presenting with you, describe the role of each presenter.
    • Each student applying must provide a professional development statement.

Clarity & Significance: The committee looks for clarity of your project and why the work or presentation is important both to you as a scholar and to the discipline.

  • The committee is made up of faculty from various academic disciplines. Write your abstract, project description, and/or professional development statement so that a non-expert reviewer can fully understand what you are doing, why it is important, and how you will do it.
  • If your project is part of your mentor’s research, clearly articulate your role and how your project relates to your mentor’s research.

Detailed Budget, Timeline & Support Letter: The committee looks at how realistic your budget and timeline are, and for strong support from your mentor as described in the letter.

  • Provide a detailed budget that outlines how you will use the funding and why each requested budget component is necessary.
  • Explain each step of the project and explain its importance in the timeline.

Can I get the money ahead of time? 

Unfortunately, no. All grants are paid out through reimbursement of receipts.

I have received an Undergraduate Grant. When do the funds have to be used by?

Undergraduate Research Grants must be spent by the end of the fiscal year in which they were provided. The CWU fiscal year ends in June.  All research grants not spent by the end of the fiscal year will revert back to the Office of Undergraduate Research. Undergraduate Travel Grant funds must be used within two weeks of the student returning from their travel.

Should a student require an extension, he or she can either reapply in one of the next year's opportunities for application or seek an extension on a case-by-case basis. If students receive a grant after they have expended funds for travel, they may be reimbursed for those expenses for which they have kept receipts.

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