March 19, 2018

Summer Impact Grants

The Office of the Provost is excited to offer Summer Team Impact Projects grants for Summer 2020.

These project grants, managed by the Office of Undergraduate Education and OSCAR, fund summer team projects based around a central theme, a research question or problem. Projects that are multidisciplinary by nature are strongly encouraged. These projects will be led by at least two faculty members with support from additional faculty members and/or doctoral students.  The faculty team, with support from OSCAR, will hire six to ten undergraduate students to actively engage with the project throughout the summer. Proposals are due December 2, 2019.

Apply for a Summer Team Impact Grant


Proposal Criteria:

To apply for the Summer Team Impact Project grant, each team must include in a single PDF file the following elements:

  1. Project description (200 words)
  2. Narrative of no more than four pages that addresses the following questions:
    1. Overview of the central question and project
    2. Timeline (Include the first week student boot camp)
    3. Enrichment Activities for the participating students
    4. Student Recruitment Plan (How are you going to find and recruit the student participants?)
    5. Uniqueness of Project (If you have received funding for a previous Summer Team Impact Project, please tell us how this project differs.)
  3. Acknowledge that you have read and agree to the important additional considerations outlined here
  4. Budget (template is embedded in the submission form-for example of what you will see click “Budget”)
  5. Position Description for the student researchers (to be posted on Handshake)


What will students get out of participating in a Summer Team Impact Project?

We expect that students will have the opportunity to learn to work both independently and part of a team on an authentic project while earning pay. They should be prepared for research opportunities, jobs, and graduate school as a result of participating in the project. Students who present their projects at professional venues are welcome to apply for (and have priority funding) the Undergraduate Student Travel Fund.

Specifically, students in the Summer Team Impact Projects will be expected to contribute to the creation an original scholarly project and communicate knowledge from their project, defined by meeting or exceeding “Proficiency” (from the Students as ScholarsProgram Rubric) on the outcomes:

  • Articulate and refine a focused and manageable question, problem, or challenge that may contribute to the field.
  • Clearly communicate the results of the project through publishing, presenting or performing, consistently employing conventions appropriate to the audience and context.
  • In consultation with a faculty mentor, design a project that has the potential to make contributions to knowledge, appropriately adapt research or design strategies as the project progresses, and complete the project.

At least 1 of the following methods outcomes:

  • Consistently choose effective methods for exploring an inquiry, and address advantages and limitations of those methods.
  • Acquire information or data using effective, well-designed strategies; consistently use appropriate criteria to judge the credibility of the evidence.
  • Consistently analyze or synthesize new and previous evidence to make important contributions to knowledge.

And may include any of the following

  • Consistently make accurate distinctions among personal beliefs, opinions, claims, and evidence.
  • Consistently identify relevant ethical issues; demonstrates attention to ethical principles at all stages of the inquiry process.
  • Articulate an understanding of the value of research and creative inquiry to individuals and communities in local, civic, professional, or global contexts. Consistently identify and explain implications of, and questions raised by, the project.
  • Explain relevant pathways for the dissemination of scholarship.  Consistently place the inquiry within a scholarly context and be able to make explicit connections between own and others’ work.

What will faculty get out of participating in a Summer Team Impact Project?

Faculty will have the opportunity to work with a colleague and a hand-picked group of students on a question, challenge, or topic, of personal and professional interest. The students can you advance your research, investigate a potential new avenue, or explore a data source you haven’t been able to tackle. You are welcome to publish or present the results of the students’ projects (with their co-authorship) beyond Mason. And, you’ll receive a stipend for your efforts! You may even want to develop an RS course based on your summer experience.

The Office of Undergraduate Education will meet with the accepted faculty in January (to go over the program goals and student recruitment), and in April or May to go over the project timelines share resources for a successful project. We will also be available to help with proposals for external funding based on the projects.

What if I'm not sure how many students will participate?

You should budget for the maximum number of students you want to work with over the summer. Each Project must have a minimum of 6 students (and 2 faculty). Any fewer than that will have to compete instead for the Summer Intensive URSP. There can be a maximum of 10 students on any Project.

How do we apply?

You need to identify your project and your faculty partners first. Then, design your Summer Team Impact Project. The Summer Team Impact Projects proposals are due November 30th, 2018, through this link(see above for details).

How are proposals reviewed?

Members of the Undergraduate Education Advisory Board and Student Scholarly Activities Committee provide reviews to the Faculty and Curricular Activities Committee. FCA members review all the proposals and meet to choose the grantees. Proposals are rated on the following:

  • Having a clearly defined theme, research question, or problem
  • Including a plan to recruit diverse students
  • Academic merit and significant impact of project
  • Feasible summer timeline
  • Feasible student projects and products
  • Attention to the student learning outcomes
  • Potential to extend beyond summer
  • Existing or potential outside partners or funding

Last year’s proposals were very competitive and the selected projects very rated highly in all areas.

How can I recruit students?

The Office of Undergraduate Education can help, but you are responsible for choosing your students. Ways to recruit students include:

  • Sending fliers to faculty teaching related courses
  • Sending information to departmental listservs in related areas
  • Talking to interested students!
  • Using social media to recruit.
  • Fliers in the JC and student buildings

 The Office of Undergraduate Education will do the following:

  • Post a description of all accepted projects on the student page with a link to your application
  • Post the projects as positions on HireMason
  • Tweet the projects

Still have questions about Summer Impact Grants? Try the Additional Resources page