Funding Policies

The policies below are on active beginning on August 4, 2021. 

2021-2022 Updates| Undergraduate Travel PoliciesGeneral PoliciesEligible ProjectsGrant Review TimelineGroup Travel and ProjectsIneligible CostsRequired DocumentationIRB DefinitionsAcceptance & Awarding

*Grant Policies and Application Requirements for 2021-2022*

  • CUSE has updated the type of activities eligible for funding. Please see our list of activities that are eligible/ineligible for funding here.
  • CUSE expects all students applying for grant funding to meet with an undergraduate research advisor before submitting their applications. Students who choose not to do so are at a disadvantage in the grant review process. 
  • NO deadlines for academic year grant applications and recommendation letters. Priority deadlines for fall, winter, and spring breaks can be found here.The final deadline to submit a complete application for a summer grant is March 24, 2022. *Note: CUSE will not accept any applications between March 24, 2022 and one week prior to classes beginning in August, 2022. If your proposal is for April, or any time between these dates, please make sure to make the March 24 deadline as well. All recommendation letters are due by the same listed deadline for an application to be considered complete. Exceptions will NOT be made for conferences or discernment activities announced after the deadline date.
  • CUSE grants cannot be used to fund activities that are eligible for funding by any other unit at Notre Dame. (I.e., if your proposed project meets the eligibility requirements for another unit's funding opportunities, like ISLA, a Keough School institute, the College of Science, or another unit, then you cannot apply to CUSE for funding for your project.)
  • CUSE grants cannot be used to fund the following types of scholarly engagement activities:
    • Clinical shadowing
    • Credit-bearing programs
    • Exam fees
    • Study abroad programs
    • Notre Dame-related programs
    • Community engagement
    • Internships that are not research-based and/or paid 
    • Language acquisition programs
  • Exceptions to the above two bullet points will only be considered for members of the CUSE Sorin Scholars Program and applicants for specific funding opportunities, like the Eagan and Grogan Fellowships.
  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and can be submitted at any time. Students are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to submit an application at least 3 weeks prior to their travel date to ensure ample processing time. More information on how the CUSE grant process timeline works can be found here.
  • Applications WILL NOT be reviewed until ALL required application materials and necessary approvals have been submitted to CUSE. Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding.
    • All grant applications must include: (1) a proposal, (2) a faculty letter of recommendation, and (3) an itemized budget.
    • Certain projects may also require IRB approval for research involving human subjects and/or NDI approval for international travel. Students are advised to allow plenty of time for IRB review and/or travel approvals what may affect their travel and research plans.
  • For group projects, each student must submit an individual application with their own, unique proposal. Duplicate proposals, in whole or in part, will not be considered for funding. Students planning on traveling in large groups should know that applications will be compared and only the strongest, if any, will be funded.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all application materials and project approvals are submitted in a timely manner.

2021-2022 Undergraduate Travel Policy

As of August 5, 2021, undergraduate domestic travel is allowed without restriction. Students wishing to travel internationally need both the approval of their undergraduate dean and to have completed the Notre Dame International Travel Registration. Students should contact a CUSE advisor as soon as possible for assistance if they plan to travel internationally. 

Last updated August 5, 2021

The Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) provides grant support for scholarly and creative endeavors conducted outside of regular course work, although independent work that fulfills a course requirement may also be considered after approval from a CUSE advisor before application.

PLEASE NOTE: CUSE is NOT a cost-sharing entity and, consequently, eligible students must apply for grants from their Colleges and other funding entities. For a full list of funding entities, click here

General Policies:
  • Students are limited to one CUSE grant per academic year and one CUSE grant in the summer.
  • CUSE grants are not intended to fund study abroad programs, class projects, or club or student group travel.
  • CUSE will only fund activities that are not able to receive funding from any other unit at Notre Dame.
  • Grant applications will be reviewed until all available funds have been allocated.
  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and complete applications will be reviewed by the Grant Review Committee. Applications take at least 3 weeks to review. For detailed information on the grant review process, click here
  • Applications will not be reviewed until all required materials—including IRB approvals for Human Subjects Research and Notre Dame International approval for travel to regions with a U.S. State Department Level 3-4 Travel Advisory—have been submitted to CUSE. Students are advised to allow plenty of time for IRB review and/or travel approvals that may affect their travel and research plans.
  • For group projects, each student must submit an individual application with their own, unique proposal. Duplicate proposals, in whole or in part, will not be considered for funding. Students planning on traveling in large groups should know that applications will be compared and only the strongest, if any, will be funded.
  • CUSE does not award funds for projects or travel undertaken before an application is submitted (i.e., retroactive funding).
  • 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.
What is Eligible for CUSE Funding?

What types of scholarly engagement activities does CUSE fund?

Current undergraduates can apply to CUSE to secure funding for the following types of scholarly engagement activities, as long as the specific project is not eligible for funding by any other unit at Notre Dame.

  • Independent research, including preliminary research
  • Research assistantship
  • Conference Presentation
  • Scholarly development activities
    • Conference Attendance
    • Seminars
    • Workshops
    • Practicums
    • Other forms of skill acquisition once approved by a CUSE advisor

Note that CUSE will discuss eligibility with students if their projects are fully virtual but do require cost on the part of the student. 

What types of scholarly engagement activities does CUSE not fund?

CUSE does not fund the following types of scholarly engagement activities:

Grant Review Timeline
  1. COMPLETED CUSE applications typically take 3 weeks to process. Therefore, students are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to apply at least 3 weeks before their travel date. Since CUSE does not retroactively fund projects, applications that are submitted fewer than 3 weeks before travel may not be considered. 
  2. For detailed information on the grant review process, click here
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 grant application 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. Students planning on traveling in large groups should know that applications will be compared and only the strongest, if any, will be funded.
  6. The number of students funded for group projects is always dependent upon available resources. Even if all proposals are stellar, CUSE cannot guarantee support for any proposals.
CUSE does not fund:
  • Student wages and stipends
  • Durable equipment, such as digital voice recorders, books, or camcorders
  • Tuition or administrative program fees
  • 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 applications for CUSE grants must include the following documents before it will be reviewed: 
  • Cover page and abstract
    • Complete the CUSE Grant Cover Page form and provide a 100-200 word abstract describing the proposed project or activity.
  • 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 must be pre-approved by CUSE.
  • Faculty Letter of Recommendation
    • Once an application is submitted via the Student Grant Application System, faculty will receive an automated email notification with a link to provide the recommendation letter to CUSE. Applications will not be reviewed until the letter has been received, and it is the student's responsibility to ensure that their faculty mentor submits their recommendation letter in a timely manner. It is expected that students request their faculty letters at least three weeks before applying, even though faculty will not be able to submit their letter until after the application has been submitted. Recommenders who wish to submit letters early or without using theStudent Grant Application System can do so by emailing letters directly to CUSE. Faculty letters of recommendation are understood to be confidential. Students applying for CUSE funding waive access to letters of recommendation.
  • Travel waiver/approval
    • Domestic Travel
      • Students traveling within the United States must submit a domestic travel waiver with their application on the Student Grant Application System.
    • International Travel
      • Level 3-4 Travel Advisory Countries: Students traveling to countries with level 3-4 travel advisories must receive prior approval from Notre Dame International. Copies of approvals should be submitted to CUSE at Additional information and instructions can be found on our International Travel & Registration page and at ND International. CUSE will not review applications to level 3-4 travel advisory countries until approval from NDI is received.
      • Level 1-2 Travel Advisory Countries: As of August 2021, Students traveling internationally to countries without level 3-4 travel advisories must ALSO complete the travel registry with Notre Dame International before CUSE awards their grant.  This is different than in prior years that CUSE has provided funding.  Additional information and instructions can be found on our International Travel & Registration page. Copies of approvals should be submitted to CUSE at: urnd@nd.eduAll requirements for complete approval for international travel must be completed before the project start date or the awarded funds 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. CUSE will not review applications that require IRB approval until the approval is received. 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 reviewed unless a protocol has been approved by the IRB and received by CUSE. It is not up to the student or their supervising faculty to determine if a project needs IRB approval. CUSE requires formal letters from the IRB board to grant exemption from the process or approval of the protocol. 

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 Pre-Award procedures:

In order to accept CUSE funds, grant recipients must return the following documents to the CUSE:

  • E-mailed acceptance of award
  • CUSE funding contract
  • Student Grant Summary
  • NDI Approval for University-sponsored travel to countries outside the United States (including all applicable waivers, GeoBlue health insurance verification, STEP program registration, a copy of your passport, and completion of the online safety summit)

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

Once CUSE has received all of the required documentation, CUSE will disburse 100% of the awarded funds directly to the student. For students working with a PI in a lab at Notre Dame or with a partner institution, CUSE can coordinate transferring funds for materials directly with the PI or lab (please contact CUSE's Student Programming Coordinator).

Upon completing your grant project or activity, students must complete all Post-Grant Requirements by the specified deadlines.

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