SURF Awards: Sample Timelines

The best SURF proposal timelines clearly indicate start and end dates, include an anticipated number of project work hours each week, and provide a week-by-week listing of planned project milestones to show the reviewers you have carefully structured your project. Account for your planned enrollment in summer coursework, participation in study abroad programs, and/or any other substantial commitments in your timeline. Note: Unless the development of a synthesis of the literature is a major component of your proposed summer project, timeline weeks should not be allocated solely to literature review.

The standard SURF timeline involves working on your project 35 hours/week for 10 weeks or 40 hours/week for 9 weeks. However, the weeks need not be continuous, and you might elect to work fewer hours per week if that would be more appropriate to your particular situation. If you work fewer than 350 total hours on your project, your stipend request should be scaled down accordingly.

There are many different ways to present a timeline; three good examples follow below. Remember that your proposal, timeline, and budget should work in concert to demonstrate the feasibility of your project.


Work week: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm (35 hrs/week for 10 weeks). I will have weekly lab meetings with my advisor to track progress and troubleshoot any major issues. I will also be consulting regularly with graduate students in the lab working on related projects.

Week Task Description
May 23 – May 27 Training on new microscope. Synthesize experimental samples with varying ratios using multiple synthesis approaches (as summarized in Figure 2 in proposal).
May 31 – June 3 Characterize samples using x-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Analyze data to identify optimal synthesis method.
June 6 – June 10 Repeat the optimal synthesis method across the ratios and characterize the samples. Compare these results to the first round of samples.
June 13 – June 17 Synthesize samples doped with iron, copper, and nickel.
June 20 – June 24 Characterize the new samples. Repeat synthesis as needed for unusable samples. Collect and analyze conductivity data.
June 27 – July 1 Dope samples with a combination of iron, copper, and nickel.
July 4 – July 8 Vacation (no work)
July 11 – July 15 Characterize the new samples. Repeat synthesis as needed for unusable samples. Collect and analyze conductivity data.
July 18 – July 22 Synthesize best samples from previous experiments on copper bases (varying shape and thickness).
July 25 – July 29 >Characterize the new samples. Repeat synthesis as needed for unusable samples. Collect and analyze conductivity data.
August 1 – August 5 Prepare summary data analysis and description of optimized procedure. Draft poster for Frontiers.


Work weeks will be 5 days per week (Mon. – Fri.) at an average of 25 hours per week.
In accordance with the policies of the Institute of Materials Science, I will not be working in the lab in the absence of supervision from either a graduate student or instructor.

Timeframe Anticipated Benchmarks and Tasks to Complete
Spring 2016
(before project)
  • – Preliminary scanning laser microscopy apparatus and data acquisition program (complete as of Winter 2015)
  • – Pump-probe microscope design finalization and component acquisition – most components already on-hand (complete by April 2016)
  • – Arrival of Cryostation in lab (April 2016)
May 8 – May 21
(Weeks 1-2)
Summer research begins. Construction and alignment of the optical setup proposed for thermal conductivity measurements. Testing of Cryostation.
May 22 – June 4
(Weeks 3-4)
Completion of optical table construction and development of LabView data acquisition program.
June 5 – June 18
(Weeks 5-6)
Initial room-temperature reflectivity measurements on well known control substrate Silicon with thin gold coating. Optimization of gold film thickness using control sample.
June 19 – July 2
(Weeks 7-8)
Analysis of control measurements to check for consistency with literature values and preparation of ScF3 samples using optimized gold coating thicknesses.
July 3 – July 16
(Weeks 9-10)
Room-temperature test measurements of time-domain thermoreflectance in ScF3. Initial low temperature tests.
July 17 – July 30
(Weeks 11-12)
Low temperature data acquisition for time-domain thermoreflectance.
July 31 – August 13
(Weeks 13-14)
Data Analysis: thermal conductivity calculations from thermoreflectance recovery, frequency analysis of strain induced echoes.
August 14 – August 27
(Weeks 15-16)
Completion of remaining data analysis. Summer research ends.
Fall 2016
(after project)
1-2 credit Independent Study to complete work on ScF3 or extend the technique to measure thermal transport in Cd(CN)2.
Spring 2017
(after project)
Dissemination of results through the Physics Department, Frontiers and APS New England poster exhibitions. Potential publication of results in a peer-reviewed journal.


Prior to summer: An application was submitted to the IRB for review on 1/15. Any requested modifications will be completed in a timely manner. I anticipate receiving IRB approval no later than 3/15. I will begin outreach to potential participants via the recruitment methods specified in the proposal once I receive IRB approval. I will register with Education Abroad and share my registration information with the Office of Undergraduate Research.

From 5/11 to 5/22, I will spend a total of 35 hours scheduling interviews with participants, communicating reminders to participants, booking lodging in Brazil, and finalizing all plans including transportation and directions. I will use an hourly stipend during this part of the study to pay for my time researching and preparing for my travel.

From 5/25 to 6/15, interviewing in Brazil will take place. Anticipated work includes interviews, field note observations based on interviews, and preparation and organization of interview materials. I will be using SURF funds during this portion of the research to cover travel costs associated with my study.

From 6/21 to 7/12, I will transcribe, code, and analyze my interview and field note data. I will consult with my project advisor regarding the emerging coding scheme and recode data using a revised scheme as necessary. As time permits, I will also continue to review the literature on the related topics specified in my proposal (see page 3 of proposal for details). From 7/13 to 7/30, I will draft the data analysis section of my thesis, selecting relevant data excerpts to illustrate the themes identified in the interviews and field notes. I will conduct this work at the UConn library and at my residence, and I will work 35 hours/week during these six weeks on these tasks. I will use an hourly stipend during this period with the remaining SURF funds I have after deducting my previous work and travel expenses.

I will remain in regular touch with my advisor, Professor Cross, throughout the summer. We have scheduled weekly Skype calls for the time I will be in Brazil and biweekly meetings on campus upon my return.