Undergraduate Research Grants

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The mission of the Office of Undergraduate Research is to develop, administer, and promote programs and activities that encourage faculty and undergraduate students to engage more actively in collaborative research projects. Our goal is to involve as many undergraduate students as possible in research projects mentored by faculty members. Secondary goals include enhancing the academic reputation of the university and attracting the interest of high-quality prospective students.

The purpose of the Undergraduate Research Grant program is to encourage participation of undergraduate students in faculty-mentored research projects by providing financial assistance to the students, faculty, and project needs.

Grants will be awarded based on a competitive selection process. Faculty members may submit applications to be evaluated and selected by the University Undergraduate Research Council comprised of seven faculty members including representatives from each college and the Director of Undergraduate Research. Applications will be judged on the perceived value of the project, its impact inside and outside the university, and its benefits to the undergraduate participant(s) (see Rubric for UR Grants Evaluation). Preference will be shown to proposals exhibiting a high level of engagement for student researchers.


  1. Increase student involvement in research
  2. Increase faculty mentoring of students in research
  3. Promote research presentation and publication

At least one undergraduate research assistant must be integrally involved in the research project. Faculty mentors may apply for undergraduate research internship stipend support during both the semesters and summer, faculty summer stipends, course release, faculty development funds and other research costs as part of the overall internal grants application process. Awarded project totals generally do not exceed $10,000. Student stipends are at the following rates. For summer work: $400/week for a student working full time. $300/week for 3/4 time, $200/week for 1/2 time, and $100/week for 1/4 time. During the Fall/Spring semester up to $500/semester. Faculty summer stipends are at the summer course rate.

Faculty will complete a report detailing the progress made toward goals is due by the Second Monday of September, and a final report further detailing the progress made and the scholarly product completed is due by the last Monday of January following the project period.  Any student receiving support will submit a research report in the form of a short journal article (including background info, completed work, conclusion with suggestions for future work, etc.)  For students who do an internship in a field in which a research report is not appropriate, the faculty member may consult with the Director of Undergraduate Research about an appropriate substitute. The report should be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Research one month after the end of the student internship. Students receiving stipends are expected to present their research results at the ACU Undergraduate Research Festival, and they are also encouraged to present at a professional conference.

For more information contact the Director of Undergraduate Research at uresearch@acu.edu.

Note: All Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocols must be met before conducting research.

For more information regarding research proposals and IRB approval, contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) or see the IRB website.

New in Reasearch

Dr. Ryan Jessup, Assistant Professor of Marketing

Dr. Jessup is interested in decisions.  What causes people to choose poorly?  How do learning and contextual factors influence choice?  In seeking to answer these questions, his research uses psychological models of motivation to distill the computational properties of decision making.  Computational modeling enhances research by requiring precision in theory formulation and constraining predictions.

One of Dr. Jessup’s primary streams of research concerns the behavioral differences between decisions when options are completely described vs. decisions when options must be learned about via experience.  Prior research found that individuals choose quite differently between the two paradigms but the reasons underlying the difference are poorly understood.  One of Dr. Jessup’s studies demonstrated that the reception of feedback overwhelms descriptive information, driving the behavioral differences between paradigms.  This work has led him and his colleagues (including Dr. John Homer and undergraduate researcher Allison Phillips) to build a new model that merges sophisticated decision making mechanisms with reinforcement learning in order to successfully predict behavior in both paradigms better than existing models. Dr. Jessup has previously received Cullen awards for this work and is currently seeking external funding to continue this fascinating line of research.

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