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Office of Undergraduate Research

Preparing your Research and Creative Scholarship Grant Application

Grants from the Office of Undergraduate Research are competitive—we cannot fund everyone that applies. The information on this page will help you prepare a proposal that has a good chance.

  1. Carefully read through the application materials and talk with your mentor (and group members, if applicable) well in advance of the deadline.
  2. Write your application and get feedback.
  3. Prepare your budget and budget justification.
  4. Submit a letter of support.


We are happy to talk with you about your grant application. You can:


Read through the application materials and get everyone on board

Although you will submit your application online, you can download a PDF of the application to prepare your materials.

Talk with your mentor well in advance of the deadline and discuss whether or not you should apply. Discuss what would be in your project description and your budget. Make sure your mentor knows that they will have to write a letter of support for you.

If you are part of a group, select one student to take the lead on submitting the application, and make sure that the student has everyone's first and last name and CWU email address.

If your research involves animal or human subjects, you will need to provide documentation that you have received approval for your work as part of the application; this can be the letter of approval you and your faculty mentor received from the Human Subjects Review Council (HSRC) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).


Write your application and get feedback

The application includes significant written components in addition to information about you, your mentor, and budget. These written sections take time to prepare well.

For research proposals, you need to prepare:

  • An abstract (150 words maximum): This should describe your project and the context for it in a way that is understandable for a committee of faculty from across the university.
  • A project description (3 pages, double-spaced, 12-pt font): Please include the following sections:
    • Project goal(s): What you hope to achieve. The important thing here is to be realistic. The committee does not expect you to cure cancer with $500.
    • Project objectives: How you plan to achieve your goals. What are the steps you will take and the methods you will use?
    • Background: How your project relates to what is already known or has already been done, both within the broader discipline and, if applicable, within your lab on campus.
    • Anticipated results: This section will vary considerably based on the type of project. If this is a project you've been working on for a while in the lab, you might have a very good idea what to expect; if you are just starting out, you may be in a more exploratory phase. The committee does not expect you to know exactly what will happen, but wants to see that you've thought about what might happen.
    • Timeline for completion of your project, including plans for presenting your work
    • References (not included in the 3-page limit)
    • If your research involves human or animal subjects, you will need to submit your approval from the HSRC or IACUC for your research.
    • Note: Your project description should be understandable by a committee of faculty from around the university. That does not mean that you can't use specialized vocabulary, but is something to keep in mind as you write.


Prepare your budget and budget justification

A well-considered budget is a very important part of your proposal. Please show real, total costs in your budget. Although the amount of funding you can receive from the OUR is limited, the budget should accurately reflect all of your expenses.

Put your budget together using a spreadsheet (template and example provided below).

Your budget should include:

Your budget justification helps us interpret your budget. It describes why you need what you've asked for, and how you calculated the costs. The budget justification should be written in paragraph or bullet list form, or a combination of the two. 

  • The purpose of the itemized expenses should be explained and prioritized in case you are not fully funded.
  • If you are purchasing equipment, describe where it will reside once your work is complete (equipment purchased with grant funds belongs to the university, not to the grant recipient).
  • For all expenses, provide the basis for the cost estimates (online catalog links are fine, vendor quotes, etc.).
  • ​If your expenses total more than the amount you are requesting from the OUR, describe how you plan to cover those additional expenses.
  • If you have applied for other funding, describe what you've applied for and when you expect to hear about your funding status.


Submit a letter of support

A letter of support from your mentor is an important part of your application—and it's required. Talk with your mentor and make sure he/she/they know what they need to do. The letter should be specific to you and your project, written on letterhead, and needs to be submitted alongside the other required documents in the application. 

It is the responsibility of the student(s) applying to obtain the letter of support from their mentor and submit it in the application. Your application will not submit without the letter of support being uploaded. 

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