UConn IDEA Grants
Have you always dreamed of inventing the next big thing? Have you wanted to create something innovative, but didn’t have the time or the resources? This is your chance to explore an area you have thought about for some time, or one that is completely new.
UConn undergraduate students at all campuses and in all majors can apply for a UConn IDEA Grant of up to $4,000 to fund self-designed work on a topic, project, problem, artistic product or performance, or other entrepreneurial or creative idea of choice. The work should be personally meaningful, relevant, and engaging. The work does not need to be tied to a student’s major or minor, but it should be guided by a student’s academic goals and future plans. Students may apply individually or as part of a small group for this new undergraduate opportunity for creativity, innovation, original research, and service.
Start a small business. Invent something. Write a series of short stories. Teach someone something new. Direct and produce a short film. Conduct a research study. Implement a community service. Build something. More ideas!
A UConn IDEA Grant involves four stages of creative thinking, planning, work, and communication that take place over at least a two-semester period. Two groups of UConn IDEA Grants will be awarded each academic year.
More information about the IDEAGuide.
April 1, 2013: Applications due by 10 a.m.
May 17, 2013: Decisions announced (to be confirmed)
- Benefits for UConn Students
- Preparing your UConn IDEA Grant application
- Information for recommenders, supervisors, and mentors
- Criteria for review and selection
- Tips on successful proposal writing
- Tips for preparing a budget
- Tips for preparing your timeline
- Funding of up to $4,000 is available to each student awarded a UConn IDEA Grant
- Individualized guidance and support from Office of Undergraduate Research staff and a supervisor/mentor
- An online course for students who have been awarded UConn IDEA Grants, in which students engage with instructor and your peers to plan and develop individual projects (More details to come)
- An enhanced undergraduate academic experience through completion of a creative or scholarly project related to the student’s academic strengths, abilities and interests
- Valuable experience of designing, implementing, and presenting self-designed work
- Development of writing, communication, and research skills
- The project may be the basis for internship, fieldwork, research, or independent study course credits
To be eligible for the UConn IDEA Grant program in spring 2013, students must:
- Be a UConn undergraduate student in good standing
- Plan to graduate no earlier than May 2014
- Agree to participate in an online course (approximate time commitment 40 hours from July 1 to August 9) (More details to come)
- Commit to a minimum of 140 hours of work (10 hours per week) on the UConn IDEA Grant project in Fall 2013
- Must arrange appropriate supervision for the period of project work by a UConn faculty member or professional staff member or someone with appropriate expertise in the wider community
(Your arrangements for supervision do not need to be finalized at the time you apply for a UConn IDEA Grant, but will need to be documented and agreed before the period of project work begins or any funds are disbursed.)
- Agree to present a UConn IDEA Grant-funded project findings at Frontiers in Undergraduate Research in April, 2014
- Have not received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) Award
- Your application will be completed on line: application form.
- Before you proceed to complete your application online, draft answers to the essay questions, and assemble the information required.
- Arrange two letters of recommendation.
(The first should be from a member of the UConn community — faculty member, advisor, instructor, or other professional staff member.)
(The second letter may also be from a member of the UConn community or another university, a high school teacher or advisor, a current or former employer or supervisor, or a mentor in the wider community.)
(Letters of reference from family, friends, or other peers are not appropriate.)
Each applicant for a UConn IDEA Grant is asked to supply two letters of recommendation . Each recommender is asked to comment on:
- The length of time you have known the applicant and in what capacity or circumstances
- Your knowledge and familiarity with the project proposed
- Your assessment of the applicant’s motivation, abilities, experience, and/or interests that make him or her well suited for this award and able to complete the project proposed
- Your assessment of how this award might benefit the applicant
Completed letters of recommendation should be emailed by each recommender from their professional email address to OUR@uconn.edu by April 1, 2013, 10 a.m. with the subject line: UConn IDEA Grant Recommendation [Applicant's name].
Every UConn IDEA Grant must have appropriate supervision. Read more.
All UConn IDEA Grant applications will be reviewed and evaluated for their quality by a committee consisting of UConn faculty members and directors of University-wide undergraduate programs.
Preference will be given to applicants who:
- Propose creative, innovative, original ideas
- Present a thoughtful and reasonable outline of the work to be done, timeline, and budget
- Articulate the impact of the work proposed in compelling, but realistic, terms
- Design project outcomes (products, outputs, reports, presentations, or performances) that will engage or serve an audience that is large or significant
- Plan to share the results of their UConn IDEA Grant with one or more UConn audiences
- Have a strong academic record or other evidence of successful pursuit of their academic passions or interests
- Have identified at least one willing mentor to supervise their work
- Would be unable to pursue the work proposed without the funding provided by the UConn IDEA Grant
The strongest UConn IDEA Grant applications will show a thorough understanding of the self-designed project that is proposed. Plan to spend some time working through your proposal both on your own and in in conversation with friends, family, advisors, and other mentors. Starting early and planning ahead will make the process a lot less stressful! Read more.
A UConn IDEA Grant may provide funding up to $4,000 per individual student for the expenses of carrying out approved work. Acceptable project expenses are those above and beyond the normal expenses of being a UConn undergraduate. Included in “normal expenses” are course tuition and fees, room and board costs in fall or spring semester, and personal expenses. When preparing your budget, you should concentrate on identifying the additional expenses associated with your project. Read more.
Provide a timeline of your project, including start and end dates and a listing of planned project milestones. Read more.