Funding Policies

General PoliciesGroup Travel and ProjectsIneligible CostsRequired DocumentationIRB DefinitionsAcceptance & Awarding

The Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) provides grant support for scholarly and creative endeavors conducted outside of regular three- or four-credit course work, although work undertaken within the context of a course may also be considered.

PLEASE NOTE: CUSE is a cost-sharing entity and, consequently, students are expected to apply for grants from their Colleges and other funding entities, such as:


General Policies:
  • Students are limited to one CUSE grant per academic year and one CUSE grant in the summer.
  • Funding priority is given to students and projects with limited eligibility outside of CUSE.
  • Students engaged in research leading up to a Senior Thesis or Capstone project are especially encouraged to apply.
  • Students who demonstrate financial need will be given priority.
  • Grant applications will be reviewed until all available funds have been allocated.
  • The CUSE team will collaborate with other grant programs on cost-sharing student projects. Every effort will be made to make funding decisions quickly and notify students in a timely manner. Please allow a minimum of three weeks from the time of submission before making inquiries of the CUSE team about the status of your application. Students are advised to allow plenty of time for IRB review and/or travel approvals that may affect their travel and research plans.
  • In order to process awards in a timely and efficient manner, all external requirements—including IRB approvals for Human Subjects Research and Notre Dame International approval for travel to regions with state department travel warnings—must be received NO LATER than ten days before the project start/travel start date. If all necessary materials and approvals are not received by this time, the award will be rescinded.
  • If you are not able to undertake your project (for whatever reason), your CUSE grant will be rescinded and you will be required to return any funds you have received in full.
  • CUSE does not award funds for projects or travel undertaken before an application is submitted (i.e., retroactive funding).

Note For International Students: If you are awarded a grant to conduct research in the United States, Notre Dame's accounting office will deduct the taxes you owe before you receive your original disbursement. Because of this, the amount of money  you see on your check will appear lower than what you were awarded. However, you are still expected to document that you spent the entirety of your grant, not just the amount that the check listed.

Group Projects and Travel:

Students often participate in research, discernment, and scholarly engagement activities as part of a group--e.g. conferences, service learning experiences, paired research projects. CUSE understands the value of these kinds of activities and does support these efforts. The following guidelines apply to group travel and projects:

  1. All members of the group must submit their own unique proposal that meets or exceeds the standards for funding established in our funding guidelines and criteria.
  2. Students should make sure to highlight the differences and unique aspects each member will bring to the project. While some parts of a proposal may be very similar, your perspective and how the project will affect you, your major, your future plans, etc. should be unique for each applicant. 
  3. Duplicate proposals, in whole or in part, will not be considered for funding.
  4. Each proposal will be judged on its own merits and funded accordingly. Weak proposals will not be funded.
  5. Number of students funded is for group projects is always dependent upon available resources. Even if all proposals are stellar, CUSE cannot guarantee support for all proposals.
  6. Students involved in group projects are expected to seek out additional support beyond CUSE.
CUSE does not fund:
  • Student wages and stipends
  • Durable equipment, such as digital voice recorders, books, or camcorders
  • Tuition or administrative program fees
  • Crowdsourced travel or accomodation services, such as Uber, AirBNB, etc.
  • Although CUSE does not fund Visa and/or passport fees for conference attendance/presentation, we may fund Visa fees for students who require such documents in order to participate in internships or service-learning opportunities abroad. Funding support for Visa fees will be determined on an individual basis based on student financial need and availability of funds.
  • CUSE will typically only fund round-trip airfare out of a single destination unless multi-city destinations are less expensive.
  • Graduating seniors are ineligible to receive funding for any activity that takes place after their last week of attended classes.

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All CUSE grants must include these following documents: 
  • Project specific proposal
  • Detailed and itemized budget justification following the linked instructions.
    • This must include an itemized budget that shows all your calculations for figuring out each cost and a source to justify those calculations.  It is the student's responsibility to develop a budget that is complete and accurate. Students must submit their budget on URApply with the student budget form. Any changes to a budget after the project is awarded, such as transfers between line items, must be pre-approved by CUSE.
  • Faculty Letter of Recommendation
    • It is the student's responsibility to assure that their faculty mentor uploads their recommendation letter. It is expected that students request their faculty letters at least three weeks in advance of the application deadline, even though faculty will not be able to submit their letter until after the proposal has been submitted. We allow a 5-day grace period beyond the deadline to receive letters of recommendation. Grant proposals for which we do not receive a faculty recommendation five days beyond the original deadline will not be considered for funding. Faculty letters of recommendation are understood to be confidential. Students applying for CUSE funding are subject to this confidentiality agreement and waive access to letters of recommendation.
  • Travel waiver
    • Should students be approved for research or conference travels in the United States, they must submit a Domestic Travel Waiver, supplied by CUSE.
    • Students traveling internationally must complete the travel registry with Notre Dame International. Instructions on how to do so are available on our International Travel page. Please DO NOT complete the travel registry until you have received notification that you have received an award from CUSE (disregard the automated email that URApply sends requesting one). Copies of approvals should be submitted to CUSE at : urnd@nd.edu.  Read the Notre Dame policy on international travel. All requirements for complete approval for non-travel warning states must be complete within 7 days of the award letter or grants will be rescinded.
  • Human subjects / IRB approval, if applicable
    • Students engaging in research involving human subjects must complete research ethics training and submit a protocol to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for approval. Students who require IRB approval to conduct research must submit a copy of the approval from Notre Dame Research. Follow the link for more information on IRB and the training and submission process. If you are unsure if your research fits the definition of Human Subjects, please refer to the following definition from Notre Dame Research website:
Definition of Research and Human Subject

Federal regulations (45 CFR 46.102(d)) define research as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” For the purposes of this policy, a systematic investigation is an activity that involves a prospective research plan, which incorporates data collection, either quantitative or qualitative, and data analysis to answer a research question. Investigations designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge are those designed to draw general conclusions (i.e., knowledge gained from a study may be applied to populations outside of the specific study sample), inform policy, or generalize findings.

Federal regulations (45 CFR 46.102(f)) define human subject as “a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual or (2) identifiable private information.” Private information includes information that an individual can reasonably expect will not be made public, and information about behavior that an individual can reasonably expect will not be observed or recorded. Identifiable means that the identity of the individual is or may readily be ascertained by the investigator or associated with the information.

Research Involving Human Subjects will not be funded unless a protocol has been approved by the IRB and received by CUSE.

PLEASE NOTE: Grant applications which do not include all of these elements are considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

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Funds Acceptance and Awards procedures:

In order to accept CUSE funds, grant recipients must return the following documents to the CUSE office by the date stated in the award letter:

If these items are not received by the specified date, CUSE will assume the grant has been declined and will redistribute the funds to alternate applicants.

Before any CUSE funds can be issued, proposals for travel and research must be in compliance with University guidelines governing research, risk management/safety, and international travel. Thus, before any award is processed, the recipient must demonstrate that the following conditions are met (if applicable):

Once the project is shown to be in compliance, CUSE will award funds. It is the student’s responsibility to submit IRB protocols and apply for International travel approvals well in advance to allow time for processing. The IRB only meets once per month so it is important to submit early.

CUSE funds are awarded through a combination of pre-payment and reimbursement. CUSE awards 75% of its funds up front via check or direct deposit and reserves 25% to be reimbursed upon receipt of student’s receipts, internal expense report, and final report. Access the final report form.

Students are responsible for keeping track of all expenses, retaining receipts, and turning in the required materials at the end of the project period. See the post-grant requirements section for more information.

If CUSE does not receive the required materials (receipts, expense report, photos, thank you cards, and final report) by the date specified on the award letter, the remaining 25% will not be issued. If CUSE funds are used for non-allowable expenses or not documented by receipts, the student will be responsible for paying back funds issued as part of the advance.

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