• SURF 2017: Program Updates

surf3As we prepare for the SURF 2017 application to go live on December 1st, we would like to take the opportunity to highlight some updates and changes to this year’s SURF program. SURF continues to offer students from across the academic disciplines the opportunity to focus full-time on a research or creative project for 9-10 weeks over the summer.

Updates for 2017

  • Stabilized funding. Over the past few years, SURF funding has contracted significantly due to university-wide budget cuts. We are very pleased to announce that the program is on firm financial footing for 2017 due to a generous pledge of support from the Office of the Provost, as well as a multi-year funding commitment from the Office of the Vice President for Research. SURF funding will continue to come from a number of sources – including contributions from donors to the university, from the Deans of many Schools and Colleges, and from OUR’s budget – and we anticipate being able to make approximately 60 awards for 2017, consistent with pre-cut funding levels.
  • Application changes. See the full application outline here.
    • Data collection and data analysis. Reviewers sought greater specificity from applicants regarding their data collection and data analysis plans. The project proposal prompt now includes the following items:
      • For projects involving the collection of data, provide details about your data collection strategy and the types of data you will collect.
      • For projects involving the analysis of data, provide details about your planned analytic procedures and show how your analysis will answer your research question(s).
    • Upload of data collection tools. Reviewers requested that students using survey or interview methods be required to upload their data collection tool(s) (e.g., survey, assessment instrument, interview protocol) so that reviewers might better assess the proposed research design. A PDF upload field is included in the online application for this purpose; students not using survey or interview methods can skip this upload field. Students, please contact OUR with any questions about the use of this upload field.
  • Timeline changes. See timeline guidance and samples here.
    • Literature review. In most cases, literature review and synthesis will have been conducted to inform the development of the SURF proposal. Accordingly, timeline weeks should not be allocated solely to literature review unless the development of a synthesis of the literature is a major component of the proposed summer project. Any student intending to focus his/her SURF project on literature review is especially encouraged to meet with OUR staff (via appointment or SURF office hours) to discuss the project and how to present it most effectively.
    • Coursework and study abroad. Students are expected to account for summer course enrollment, participation in study abroad programs, or any other substantial summer commitment in their SURF timelines. SURF timelines need not be continuous, and the number of SURF project hours can vary from week to week. It is strongly recommended that students not pursue more than 3 credits of coursework simultaneously with the SURF project.
  • Budget policies. See the Budget Policies and Samples page for detailed guidance about allowable expenses (now including maximum dollar amounts for expenses like poster printing) and examples of budgets that show the appropriate level of detail. Faculty advisors of students conducting laboratory research: Please work with your advisee to ensure s/he has accurate information about the costs of lab supplies that can be procured through university purchasing channels and contracts.
  • Submitting letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation will still be collected electronically, but via online form. In addition to uploading their letters of recommendation, project advisors will be asked about the research compliance status of the proposed project; this change is being made due to delays that negatively impacted SURF awardees in past years.
  • SURF Mailing List. Students planning to apply for SURF can sign up for the SURF Mailing List to receive helpful application tips via email.

We look forward to another excellent set of SURF applications this year! The application deadline is Monday, January 30, 2017. We encourage all students to make use of SURF Office Hours to get feedback on their draft materials and to ask any questions they might have about the program or the application. SURF Office Hours are scheduled for 12/8, 12/9, 1/17, 1/20, and 1/23. Full detail about times and location can be found in the sidebar on the main SURF webpage.

Photos of SURF recipients