What is a grant?
Broadly speaking, a grant is an agreement between a sponsor and a researcher that provides funding for a specified research project to be performed in a designated period of time. Grant funding can be a great way to acquire the resources needed to carry out research projects.
If you already have an idea for an independent research project, you can connect with a faculty mentor who can provide guidance and help you with the process of applying for and managing your grant. Many faculty members also have ongoing grant-funded projects with opportunities for students who want to gain experience while working on research.
What can grant funds pay for?
While grant funding can help with research in lots of ways, a grant is not just a blank check to be used for anything related to research. The particular expenses allowed will vary depending on the sponsor and the terms of the grant, but there are a few general categories that will often apply for undergraduate research projects.
Materials and Supplies
This category can include expendable items that are necessary to complete the proposed research. Depending on your project, supplies might include laboratory materials, glassware, chemicals or samples.
If a project requires travel outside the local area to gather data or perform work related to the research, funds are often available to cover airfare (or mileage reimbursement for driving a personal vehicle), lodging, meals and other related expenses.
If you are working on a grant-sponsored project for a faculty member, you may be able to be paid for your time spent working on research.
How can I find grant opportunities?
There are a wide variety of undergraduate research grant opportunities, some offered by Baylor and some by outside sponsors.
URSA Small Grants
The Office of Engaged Learning offers funding for undergraduate research through the URSA Small Grants program. These grants can fund student-initiated research mentored by a faculty member or projects by faculty members with undergraduates involved in carrying out the project. In either case, applications must be made by the faculty member, who will serve as the principal investigator on the research. Applications are competitively reviewed and awarded as funds allow. The application may be found on the URSA web page.
In addition to URSA Small Grants, funding is available from other sources including university departments, nonprofit foundations, federal agencies and more.
BURST, a student organization dedicated to undergraduate research in STEM fields, has a website with links to a number of research opportunities, internship announcements and searchable funding databases.
EUReKA, a program of Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, maintains a list of student research opportunities grouped by academic discipline.