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Fall 2021 Update

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Thesis Funding

A.B. senior thesis funding opportunities, including those from individual academic departments, the Office of the Dean of the College, and other offices and programs on campus are posted through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) administers the Dean of the College thesis funding through the OUR Senior Thesis Research Funding Program.

B.S.E. students seeking support may apply for the School of Engineering and Applied Science thesis and independent work funds.

OUR Senior Thesis Research Funding

Eligibility

All A.B. undergraduates seeking support for senior thesis research related to their concentration and/or certificate program may apply to the Office of Undergraduate Research for funding. Certificate-specific funding requests should list a faculty affiliated with the certificate program as their faculty adviser. Students applying for funding are eligible for thesis funds available through the Office of the Dean of the College; the match between funder and project will be made during the selection process.

When to Apply

There are multiple opportunities to apply for funding from OUR:

  • In the spring of junior year, rising seniors may apply for funding to conduct thesis research during the summer
  • In early fall of senior year, students may apply for funding to conduct thesis research over the fall break / semester
  • In mid fall, seniors may apply for funding to conduct thesis research from December through the end of March.

For OUR senior thesis research funding application dates and deadlines, please consult the PURC calendar. 

We encourage you to start working on your application materials early so that you have ample time to meet the strict deadlines set by the various funding sources.

OUR Funding Timeline

Fall Research

 Winter Research

Summer Research

AY2122

Oct 16 – Dec 06, 2021

December 22 – Mar 21, 2022

May 15 – Sept 7, 2022

Application opens

August 30, 2021

November 08, 2021

February 18, 2022

Application closes

September 19, 2021

December 1, 2021

March 20, 2022

Funding decisions posted

October 15, 2021

December 20, 2021

April 15, 2022

How to Apply

Your application must be made through SAFE 

Students applying to the OUR senior thesis research funding program are required to apply for all departmental and programmatic funds for which they are eligible in one single application.  You will be able to save your application in SAFE and go back to it, but you must complete and submit the application by the earliest deadline of all the funding sources to which you are applying; once your application is submitted, changes to your project can be noted in the ‘project changes” section of your application only and additional funding opportunities can also be selected when eligible.

The application will ask for a full account of your proposed research, a detailed budget, your envisioned timeline and a planned itinerary if traveling within the US. You will also be asked to provide the name of your thesis adviser. If your adviser has not yet been assigned, you may ask the faculty member who you hope to advise your thesis to evaluate your project; if in doubt please consult with your director of undergraduate studies about who might be the best person to evaluate your proposal.  No project will be funded without a strong faculty endorsement. We strongly encourage you to take the time to submit a thoughtful and thorough proposal for one or all rounds of funding for which you are eligible. Please be sure to read the application carefully and complete it in its entirety.

For instructions, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit User Resources for the Students Activities Funding Engine and search under resources for students and groups.

Budget Preparation and Justification

Please take care to develop a thorough, accurate, and reasonable budget and justify your estimated costs in your project statement. You are encouraged to consult the list of allowable expenses below when building your budget. 

Expenses Covered

Costs are expected to be moderate; you are responsible for researching competitive pricing in order to maintain reasonable costs.

  • Travel to research sites in the US, unless the site is within 25 miles of your home town Travel expenses may include a daily food stipend (limited to $35 per day), accommodation and local transportation (expected to be through public transport unless safety is a concern). If your research involves overnight travel outside of the metropolitan New York City and Philadelphia corridor, you must obtain travel approval through the Enroll My Trip platform (EMT) at least two days PRIOR to travel. Your award will be revoked if you travel prior to receiving approval for your trip in Enroll My Trip. For questions related to EMT or the current University travel guidelines, please visit the Travel Enrollment page or the Pandemic Travel Guidelines page. For a list of restrictions regarding the rental or use of vehicles while on University-sponsored domestic trips, visit the University Travel WebsiteStudents may not schedule travel that conflicts with their end-of-semester exam schedule or academic obligations.
  • Weekly stipend to cover housing and dining costs ($500) during the summer, for a maximum of nine weeks for students on financial aid.
  • Books (covered only if a personal copy is needed)
  • Conference fees, only if you are presenting ($500 maximum)
  • Photocopying
  • Payments to Human Subjects (departmental and IRB approval required, maximum of $3,000 for surveys)
  • Consumable laboratory supplies not covered by an existing lab grant or departmental thesis allocation. The request should be itemized and justified.
  • Off-campus laboratory data acquisition not covered by an existing lab grant or departmental thesis allocation; request should be itemized and justified.
  • Software specific to your research project not available through your department

Expenses Not Covered

  • International travel to research sites: University-sponsored undergraduate international travel remains suspended; until these restrictions are lifted, all related expenses will not be covered including airfare, passport and visa applications, vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases you might be at risk for at your destination, local phone or SIM card
  • Wi-Fi connection fees
  • Laptops, tablets, desktops and basic computer accessories (typically not covered unless specific to research, may be eligible for loaner program)
  • Cloud storage subscription (you may be eligible through OIT, contact thesis@princeton.edu for details)
  • Hard drive (typically, department SCAD can provide NAS or cloud subscription options instead)
  • Purchase of capital equipment such as binoculars, recording or electronic machinery (we might cover rental costs)
  • General laboratory equipment
  • Transcription services
  • Payment to individuals for services rendered (except for human subjects)
  • Tuition for instructional programs
  • Thesis binding
  • Travel to hometown
  • Entertainment and/or personal expenses
  • Although not covered by your research grant, we strongly recommend travel insurance. If the University deems your destination unsafe prior to travel, you will be responsible for returning the total award because the University cannot fund student travel in these circumstances.

The following exceptions also apply:

  • If the thesis research you plan to conduct is expected to take place during the term of your internship, you are not eligible for senior thesis research funding. Exceptions may be made with the explicit recommendation of your University program or internship sponsor; please contact the appropriate person in order to inquire about possible approval before submitting this application.

Application Support

Please consult the central calendar PURC to learn about information sessions, workshops, and other resources made available in support of the senior thesis funding application. For answers to frequently asked questions regarding the SAFE submission process, please visit the SAFE Student FAQ.

Review and Award Process

Once the deadline of your earliest funding opportunity has passed, the faculty member you have listed as your adviser will be automatically notified and directed to log in to answer a series of evaluative questions about your proposal. If you are planning to apply for funds, speak with your adviser as soon as possible about your application — the notification of your application should not be their first indication of their involvement with your intended research.

Your application and your adviser’s evaluation will be reviewed by your director of undergraduate studies, who will answer a short series of evaluative questions.

Applications without both an adviser and a director of undergraduate studies evaluation will not be considered, nor will late submissions.

Our review process takes into account the following:

  • the quality of your proposal and the strength of the departmental endorsement
  • the feasibility of your budget (please take care to provide accurate and detailed estimates of the costs you will incur)
  • the number and quality of requests for funding made by the senior class (we do not have sufficient funds to fully fund all proposals)

Dean of the College funds will not be assigned until all other awards have been made.

Financial Information

Upon acceptance of the Office of Undergraduate Research senior thesis research award, you agree to OUR’s funding terms and conditions as outlined in SAFE and your award letter. Your award is based on the budget you submitted and is considered a contract and should be used to cover the specific expenses listed in your budget. You must fulfill all requirements prior to receiving your award and beginning your research. It is recommended that you begin the process in advance. To expedite this, we suggest that you submit for IRB or IACUC approval as soon as possible (when applicable) and establish direct deposit with the University.

Post Project Requirements (PPR)

Expense report: At the end of your award period, you are required to substantiate all of your expenses (except for the $35/day stipend for food, when applicable) by uploading your receipts in SAFE. Please note that you are required to provide a full account of the funding you received for your research project (including portions of the award covered by other funders, if applicable).

Unspent funds must be returned via a check or money order made out to “Princeton University”; to receive your returned scholarship form and the mailing address where to send these funds, please contact thesis@princeton.edu. If you received funding from multiple offices, you should start by returning your unused funds to OUR up to the amount that was awarded by OUR, and return the balance to the funder that awarded the largest amount among the other funders.

Research Summary: You must upload a 1-2 paragraph (< 300 words) summary of your thesis research in SAFE. The summary should be a narrative account of the research you undertook with the support of OUR’s award, any findings that either confirmed or changed your hypothesis, and efforts remaining to complete your research.

The deadline to complete your PPR will be specified in your award letter. To request an extension, email a copy signed by both yourself and your faculty adviser (electronic signature ok) of the
 PDF iconSTR-PPR Extension Form 2021.pdf to thesis@princeton.edu.

Email Inquiries

Feel free to contact thesis@princeton.edu with any questions about the funding process. Questions pertaining specifically to SAFE, outside of student FAQ's, should be directed to helpdesk@princeton.edu.

 

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