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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF)

  1. Purpose and Programs
  2. Eligibility and Availability of Funds
  3. Proposal Submission Guidelines
  4. Deadline
  5. Allowable/Unallowable Costs
  6. Review Committee and Process
  7. Academic Rigor
  8. Clarity of writing
  9. Budget (clear, justified)
  10. Post-award Requirements and Administration
  11. Past Awards and Abstracts

Purpose and Programs

With generous support of outside donors, alumni, and the Provost, the Center for Creative Inquiry offers a limited number of summer undergraduate research fellowships on a competitive basis.

These fellowships allow talented students to spend a portion of their summer conducting research or carrying out a creative project that makes an original contribution to their chosen discipline, extending learning beyond the academic year.

Projects emanating from all disciplines are eligible, as well as interdisciplinary projects. Each fellowship offers $4,000 (taxable income) to the successful student applicant. In addition, each faculty mentor of the successful student applicant will receive $800.

Summer research fellowships are intense educational experiences in that they expose the student to the entire research or creative process from start to finish, including:

  • Formulating a question or problem to be addressed, and articulating the current understanding of the issue at hand.
  • Writing a proposal situating their project in the context of previous scholarly or creative work, and extending that work in new directions. Proposals should reflect a sophisticated grasp of the problem or issue at hand, an appropriate, perhaps novel approach to addressing it, and/or a new perspective.
  • Carrying out the research or creative project, adhering to the scholarly standards of the relevant discipline(s).
  • Disseminating the project results or product. Projects are expected to generate new knowledge or data, produce a new creative work, and/or offer a new synthesis or original viewpoint. All fellowship recipients are expected to disseminate their results/products at the Celebration of Research event in the fall as well as at the annual COPLAC Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference.

Students may propose projects of their own design, or projects related to the supervising faculty member’s research provided it is a clearly articulated, distinct aspect of the larger project. However, all summer research fellowships are conducted under the guidance of a Keene State College faculty member. Consultation with the faculty mentor throughout the proposal, implementation, and dissemination phases is expected. The timeline for the summer fellowship (typically 8 weeks minimum) is to be created in consultation with the faculty advisor. Interested in donating to undergraduate summer research fellowships? Please contact us.

Eligibility and Availability of Funds

For all programs, eligibility criteria include:

  • Applicants must be currently enrolled and matriculated students, but cannot be graduating seniors. Students receiving SURF Fellowships must be eligible to he hired in the United States.
  • Fellowship projects are expected to be of a scope that would require a substantial portion of the student’s summer (typically 8 weeks minimum). Applicants should plan their project timeline in consultation with their Faculty Advisor, and articulate that timeline in the application.
  • Students in all scholarly disciplines are eligible.
  • Students must be working with a Faculty Sponsor on the research or creative project as well as the proposal process.
  • Student projects involving any kind of off-campus travel must follow the KSC Student Travel Guidelines. The travel must be approved prior to any grant funds being released.
  • All compliance requirements (i.e. IRB approval, IACUC approval, off-campus travel approval and compliance training) need not be complete by the submission of the proposal, but must be complete prior to the receipt of any grant award.
  • All activities must take place after the date of award. Applications for retroactive activities cannot be accepted

Proposal Submission Guidelines

P”, “text”: “SURF Application Form.”, “target”:”_blank” }} Deadline is Friday, March 11, 2023**. This form is designed to help you provide the necessary information in the required format. Please download the form to your computer before completing the application.

If you have questions or difficulty accessing the form, please contact the Center for Creative Inquiry.

In addition to some basic information about the student applicant and her/his faculty mentor, the application asks for the following:

  • An abstract (250 words or less). The abstract should clearly identify the purpose of the project, its significance, and the specific product that will result.
  • A description of the project (500 words or less). The description should inform reviewers about the background of the project. Is it a continuation of previous work? (Please let us know if you have received funding support in the past – this will not impact the likelihood of your proposal being accepted.) Is this a project that came out of a class? Please also tell us how this project fits into your academic and career plans.
  • Methodology (500 words or less). Please work closely with your faculty mentor to describe your methodology (as it is appropriate in your field/discipline).
  • A detailed timeline. The project should be designed to be completed (or largely completed) within 8 weeks.
  • Plans for dissemination. In addition to the Celebration of Research event and the COPLAC conference, how do you plan to share your work with a larger public audience? Do you plan to present your results at a conference? Show at an exhibition? Provide a public performance? Publish?
  • Annotated bibliography or literature review (attachment). This is required. Please work closely with your faculty mentor to make sure your bibliography/literature review conforms to disciplinary expectations and is presented professionally.
  • Letter of recommendation from faculty mentor (attachment). This is required. Faculty sponsors should be advised that their letter needs to be as detailed as possible.
  • External approvals. You will need to indicate whether your project requires approval by IRB or IACUC or involves the disposal of hazardous materials.
  • Supplemental material (attachment). If you have any material you would like to add (e.g. indices, charts, tables, sample evaluations, images, design plans), you can include them as supplemental material. * Please note, however, that receiving funding from one of these programs does not guarantee funding from the other.


The deadline this year is February 26, 2021. All proposals must be submitted electronically to the Center for Creative Inquiry by 5:00 pm on the deadline date. All applicants will be notified of their final application status at the end of March.

Allowable/Unallowable Costs

The $4,000 associated with each Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship is intended to help the student defray living expenses and allow them to focus on conducting research rather than holding a summer job. No detailed budget is required for the $4,000 fellowship stipend. Students are advised that this is taxable income, and therefore the standard payroll taxes will be withheld.

Review Committee and Process

Each application will be sent out to a review committee of at least three faculty members who will carry out an evaluation based solely on merit (i.e. without regard to budgetary considerations). The faculty committee reviewing each proposal will consider the following evaluation criteria:

Academic Rigor

  1. If relevant, is the methodology clear and appropriate to professional standards?
  2. Is there potential impact on the field?
  3. Is there a benefit to Keene State’s academic reputation?

Clarity of writing

Potential impact on students

  1. Is there potential impact on student engagement?
  2. Is there potential for advancement of students’ educational or career goals?

Budget (clear, justified)

Faculty letter of recommendation. Should speak to student’s preparation for the project and also to the faculty mentor’s level of involvement with the preparation of the proposal.

Post-award Requirements and Administration

  • Award Notification: Award recipients and their faculty mentors will be notified by the end of March. At that time, successful applicants will be instructed whom to contact in Human Resources to discuss details and timing of payment, and to complete the necessary fellowship appointment forms.
  • Dissemination: Students receiving a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship are expected to present at the Celebration of Research event held at Keene State College AND at the COPLAC Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference (held in the fall).
  • There may be other final reporting and/or stewardship requirements, which will be explained in your award letter.
  • Faculty mentors may view their post-award responsibilities here.

Past Awards and Abstracts

2015 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Awards & Abstracts
2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Awards & Abstracts
2013 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Awards & Abstracts
2012 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Awards & Abstracts
2011 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Awards & Abstracts

For Additional Information Contact the Center for Creative Inquiry.

Contact the Learning & Teaching Collaborative

Pat Wright
Mason Library Administrative Assistant
Office: LIB 116
Phone: 603.358.2723
Mail Stop: 3201