Independent Research

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Fall 2021 Note: CUSE has updated our funding policies as of August 4, 2021. It is vital that you review them before proceeding with a grant application. 






*All students applying to CUSE grants MUST do the following before submitting an application:*

  1. Review the CUSE funding policies and contact us with any questions.
  2. Review the information provided on CUSE grant deadlines
  3. Review the CUSE budget crafting policies and guidelines.
  4. Review the international travel and registration guidelines if your work is taking you outside of the United States. 
  5. Review the requirements for human subjects research and the IRB to see if your project requires the certification. 
  6. Review the CUSE post-grant requirements to familiarize yourself with your responsibilities when you return.
  7. Meet with a CUSE advisor prior to submitting an application. Students who fail to meet with an advisor are at a disadvantage in the grant review process.

All students are expected to have reviewed the information and taken the necessary steps relevant to their project before continuing to the application steps below. Once you have completed steps 1-7, proceed to the instructions below for compiling your application.

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.

CUSE expects independent research projects or preliminary research/creative endeavors to apply directly to a student's Thesis or Capstone project, or have a direct connection to your post-graduate trajectory.

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

Click here for specific instructions if your application is a Creative Endeavor. (Please note, if your creative project is eligible for funding through ISLA, you cannot apply for a CUSE grant.)

Grant Application Requirements:
  1. An Abstract outlining your proposed project.
    • Provide 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 this guide to abstracts and this abstract example.
  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?  
    6. A clear Connection to your Academic & Professional Goals. 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.
    7. 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 Application System, the faculty member should receive an email with instructions for submitting 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 the Student Grant Application System 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.
  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:
  • The average funding provided for Independent Research is $2,000 during the academic year and $3,000 during the summer. 
  • CUSE will consider requests for higher funding amounts on a case by case basis. 
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.