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2018 Call for Faculty Proposals

We are excited to invite faculty project proposals for the 2018 Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI) program. Proposals are due by 5 pm on Monday, January 22, 2018. The 2018 URSI summer research program will run for 9.5 weeks for students and faculty from Wednesday, May 30 to Friday, August 3, at Vassar College.

During the URSI program, faculty members mentor student URSI Fellows, selected by individual faculty. Successful projects engage the faculty mentor in an instructional and supervisory role, both for the duration of the summer project and in preparation for the URSI Symposium held during the academic year. Faculty are expected to meet regularly with their URSI fellow(s) during the summer. Projects must involve significant student participation and exposure to research methods of the discipline (i.e., not merely photocopying, word-processing, or filing) with the intension of creating a sense of ownership of the project by the student. URSI proposals can be submitted in collaboration with colleagues to encourage shared mentoring and scholarly pursuits.  Faculty members are welcome and encouraged to contact Jennifer Kennell, the program director, to discuss possible project ideas.

Project selection will be based on the following criteria:

  • Proposals must be for research projects in the sciences or mathematics.  Curriculum reform or development projects will not be supported.
  • Faculty participants must be continuing members of the Vassar faculty (i.e., under contract for the following academic year).
  • Preference may be given to tenured or tenure-track faculty members.
  • Preference may be given to faculty members who did not participate in the URSI Program in the previous year.


  • Faculty: $1,100 split between the June and July paychecks
  • Students: $3,800, from which student pays for room and board
  • Research Supplies: up to $500 per project, regardless of the number of students being mentored. These funds MUST be spent by October 1, 2018 with no exception.

Throughout the summer, URSI Fellows will participate in required weekly lunches; faculty mentors are expected to allow time for their URSI fellow(s) to attend these events. Faculty are also expected to ensure that their URSI fellow(s) receives all safety training necessary for their proposed project. Finally, faculty are expected to advise their students on the requirements for URSI and the URSI Symposium. All student URSI fellows must serve as an author or co-author of an URSI abstract (due at the end of the summer) and of an URSI Symposium poster. URSI fellows who are on campus during the Fall are required to present or co-present their poster during the Symposium on Wednesday, September 26th.

Changes to the URSI Schedule for 2018:

This year's schedule has been changed in response to faculty feedback about last year’s experiment with the URSI schedule.  The official start date for both student fellows and faculty mentors will be Wed, May 30th.  We will hold a required lunch-time orientation for students and faculty on the first day of URSI.  The official end date for both student fellows and faculty mentors will be Friday, August 3rd.  Workshops on science communication, including poster design and abstract writing will be distributed across the last few weeks of URSI.  An option to request alternate dates for participation is given on the proposal form.  Student and faculty stipends will be prorated accordingly.

Changes to the Project Selection Process:

Faculty may request more than one URSI-funded student. Approval of additional students is contingent upon the URSI budget and the number of proposals received. In response to faculty requests for additional opportunities to have more than one student funded by URSI, beginning last summer we have been testing out a new system which will give priority for additional student requests to faculty who did not participate in URSI the previous year. This may eventually lead to a system in which faculty can "bank" student positions for a year or two to achieve a group of students rather than being limited to a single URSI student. We are not hosting an URSI Explorers group this year in order to allow for more faculty to have more than one URSI student.

This year we are also looking for faculty mentors who are interested in mentoring a second URSI student visiting Vassar from the University of Puerto Rico's Honors College as part of a collaborative educational program between Vassar, Williams College, and the University of Puerto Rico to help students impacted by Hurricane Maria. 

Submit your application no later than 5pm, Monday, January 22nd, 2018

You will have the option to “save and continue” your application by clicking the button at the bottom of the application. This will allow you to complete and revise your application in more than one sitting. Just make sure you hit the “submit” button once you are ready!  After submitting the form, you will receive an email confirmation. If you do not receive an automated email confirmation, then your submission has not been received and you should submit it again.