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The Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards

Deadline: Noon on December 2, 2013
Application Form
Workshop for Students Interested in Applying for the Harrison Award (video)

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Made possible through the extraordinary generosity of the late David A. Harrison III and his family, the Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards fund outstanding undergraduate research projects.

Purpose: The University of Virginia's Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards program funds outstanding undergraduate research projects to be carried out in the summer following application for the award and the subsequent academic year. Approximately forty awards of up to $3,000 each will be granted on a competitive basis to current first-, second-, and third-year undergraduate students. Applicants must be fulltime undergraduates at U.Va. and must remain enrolled at the University through the completion of their project.

Faculty Support: Working with the guidance of a University of Virginia faculty member, each recipient will plan and implement a substantial and significant research project. The student applicant is encouraged to identify and meet with a faculty advisor to discuss the proposed project early in the process of developing a proposal. The faculty advisor will write a letter in support of the student's proposal and, upon its completion, will submit a brief narrative assessment of the student's project. Harrison Award faculty advisors receive research support in the amount of $1,000. Faculty who do not wish to claim these funds should indicate this at the time the student applies. Foregone funds will be added to the funding pool available for student awards.

Conceptualizing a Project: Applicants are urged to think creatively in designing their research projects. Proposals focusing on any of the undergraduate fields represented at the University will be considered. Applications that integrate different areas and approaches are encouraged. Projects might involve travel, either within or outside of the U.S., to take advantage of resources that would be otherwise inaccessible to the student. Projects requiring laboratory work might call for the purchase of equipment that could not be obtained without an award of this kind.

Applying: Current first-, second-, and third-year undergraduate students who wish to apply for a Harrison Award must submit four copies of the application and two recommendation letters (including one from the faculty advisor). The application form requires the student to write a research proposal (2 pages maximum) with the following headings:

a. Background and Research Question

b. Methodology

c. Potential Outcomes and Implications

d. Bibliography

Faculty reviewers will assess each application based on merit, taking into account such considerations as clarity of the research question, appropriateness of methodology, the project’s feasibility, and the applicant’s preparation for undertaking the project.

Submitting Joint Applications: Applicants wishing to apply together should turn a single application. The proposal should explain each applicant’s role in the research. The project should have a single faculty advisor; the advisor’s supporting letter must discuss all applicants. Individual components of the joint application that must be provided for each applicant are: a letter from a second recommender, transcripts, and a discussion of relevant background and coursework. The total budget may not exceed $3,000. The application will be assessed as a single application.

Final Product: In the course of carrying out a research project, an awardee will be expected to create a bibliography of relevant background materials, read and research the topic, establish contacts with professionals in the field, and produce a final product (e.g., final paper, creative project) that summarizes his or her findings. Final projects must be submitted to the Center for Undergraduate Excellence in April of the year following the receipt of the award, along with the faculty advisor's one-page assessment and a brief report from the student accounting for expenditure of award funds. Students should be prepared to present their projects in the spring at a Center-sponsored event, and their advisors will be expected to attend the presentation.

Student Projects Abroad Travel Form: Students proposing to travel internationally as part of their proposed research need to apply to the International Studies Office as well, complete the Student Projects Abroad Travel Form, submit that form by email to the International Studies Office by December 2, 2013, and print out a copy of the form to submit with your Harrison Award application. The Student Projects Abroad application is available at:http://www.studyabroad.virginia.edu/?go=ZMTspa.

Institutional Review Board Approval: Many research projects require approval by one of the University’s Institutional Review Boards. If your project is selected for funding, you will be informed whether or not your project requires IRB approval. For more information on the IRB, we encourage applicants to watch the presentation available at: http://www.virginia.edu/vpr/irb/learningshots/Undergraduate_Research/player.html

Consideration for Other Awards: The Stull Family Award and the Finger Family Award are administered as part of the Harrison Award process. Applicants who are active members of fraternities or sororities, and who provide this information on their applications, are automatically considered for the Stull Family Award. The Finger Family Award supports undergraduate research in history; proposals for history projects are automatically considered for this award.