Independent Research

*NEW Grant Policies and Application Requirements for 2018-2019*

  • NO deadlines for academic year grant applications and recommendation letters. Priority deadlines for fall, winter, and spring breaks can be found hereThe final deadline to submit a complete application for a summer grant is March 8, 2019. 
  • CUSE grants will not fund study abroad programs, class projects, or club or student group travel.
  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and can be submitted at any time. However, grant funding will not be award retroactively.
  • 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 to countries with Level 3-4 Travel Advisories. Students are advised to allow plenty of time for IRB review and/or travel approvals what may affect their travel and research plans.
  • CUSE has instituted priority grant application deadlines for academic year breaks. In order to ensure that your application has the best possible chance to receive funding, you are strongly encouraged to submit your completed application by the dates below. While applications submitted after this date may still be reviewed, CUSE does not guarantee that funding will be available or that the committee will have time to review your application and make a decision before you travel.
    Priority Fall Break: September 9, 2018   |   Priority Winter Break: November 11, 2018   |   Priority Spring Break: February 10, 2019   |   Summer Deadline: March 8, 2019
  • 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.

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

Independent Research

A student applies a disciplinary or interdisciplinary methodology to investigate a specific hypothesis, problem, or question in collaboration with a faculty mentor and potentially others. The significance and originality of the research project should be such that the anticipated results could be incorporated into stand-alone or group presentations and publications.

Click here for specific information on the Roberts Endowment for Undergraduate Research in East Asia.

Grant Application Requirements:
  1. A Cover Page and Abstract.
    • Complete the CUSE Grant Cover Page form and provide a 100-200 word abstract describing the proposed project or activity. The abstract should introduce your project/activity and highlight your major goals. For assistance writing an abstract, see the UW-Madison Writing Center's guide to abstracts and abstract examples.
  2. A Proposal (4-5 double-spaced pages) that includes:
    1. An Introduction that states: the proposed project; the topic, question, or issue that you wish to investigate; and the anticipated significance of the project in lay terms.  
    2. A Background that: explains the issues related to the project; a brief review of work that has already been done in the area of your project; and a clear, compelling rationale for the project.  You should demonstrate engagement with the scholarly literature and recognition of the gaps in knowledge and need for further study.  Therefore, in-text citations AND a short bibliography of relevant scholarship must be included in the proposal.
    3. A Project Design/Methodology section that provides a detailed description of the research methods that will be used and justification for this approach.
    4. A Student Credentials & Faculty Collaboration section that explains how you are qualified to undertake this project and how you and your faculty mentor will work together on the proposed project.
    5. A clear Statement of Research Goals section that explains what you hope to learn and what the outcome of your project will be. What do you hope to discover?  What knowledge or skills will you develop?  How does this project fit in with your academic or professional goals?  Will your project contribute to a senior thesis or capstone project?  Will you share your research by presenting at a conference or publishing in a journal? The most persuasive proposals clearly indicate how this particular project contributes to your long-term trajectory by providing an essential learning experience for your academic and professional goals with explicit, specific language.
    6. Any additional information or items relevant to your proposal.
  3. A Letter of Recommendation from a supervising Notre Dame faculty member.
    • After you have submitted your proposal using the Student Grant Network (URApply), the faculty member should receive an email with instructions for uploading their letter. Faculty will not be able to submit their letter until after the proposal has been submitted. Grant proposals will not be reviewed until we receive a faculty recommendation letter.
  4. An itemized Budget using the approved CUSE student budget form
    • CUSE budget guidelines can be found here. The budget must be itemized and show 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. 
  5. A completed domestic travel waiver if traveling within the United States. Students traveling internationally must register their travel with Notre Dame International.
    • *If you are traveling to a country with a level 1-2 travel advisory, 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). 
  6. 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
Funding Limits:
  • Academic Year: $2000
  • Summer: $3000
Exceptional Research Proposal Example:
  • Click here for an example of an exceptional research proposal that requires Human Subject Research IRB approval. (Please note: this proposal is twice the required length of a CUSE research grant. If you can fit all of necessary pieces into the five page requirement, there is no need to write an extra long proposal). 
  • Click here for an example of an exceptional research proposal that does NOT require IRB approval.