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CUSP Independent Research & Creative Projects Grant

Summer 2016 

The CUSP Independent Research and Creative Project provides partial financial support for Scholars who wish to conduct their own independent research or creative project under the guidance of a profession or creative professional.

Application Dates: 

DEADLINE EXTENDED-February 1: Preliminary Proposal Due/ Identification of possible faculty adviser
The proposal should explain a plan or suggestion for the CUSP Independent Project Summer Fellowship
February 5, 3:00-5:00 p.m.; 401 Lerner Hall: Workshop #1
What does a proposal entail? What is the difference between an independent research project and a creative project? Graduate Student Mentors will introduce the components of the research proposal beginning with the title and ending with the budget. This workshop will address how to formulate appropriate problem statements, research questions, bibliography, finding a mentor, etc. GSM's will introduce students to resources on campus such as the writing center, Columbia library info services, etc. The workshop will also address what is expected of students who receive the grant. 

Working with their preliminary proposals, students break into small groups to discuss their proposals with the GSM's and their peers. 

February 15: Draft Proposal Due; SUBMIT HERE

February 26; 3:00-5:00 p.m.; 401 Lerner Hall: Workshop #2

GSM's continue working with students on the proposal writing process. They will address how to create a research road map, field safety in research, and the elevator speech. Students break into groups to peer-edit each other's proposals. 
March 25; 3:00-5:00 p.m.; 401 Lerner Hall: Workshop #3: A to Z for all Scholars applying for Summer Funding


Applications will be evaluated by a selection committee on the basis of their overall fulfillment of the selection criteria. Incomplete applications and candidates who do not meet the criteria will not be considered. Interviews for selected applicants, and notification of the final decision, will take place in April.

  • All Scholars receiving the CUSP Summer Enhancement Fellowship will be expected to update an Edu-blog on a weekly basis during the summer, beginning on the first Friday of their summer fellowship.

  • Scholars are expected to submit a paper (20-25 pages) by Friday, September 16, 2016.

  • Scholars should include at least one visual representing the project.

  • The final blog entry will consist of the abstract.

  • When Scholars blog their final abstract, they will also email their budget reconciliation and scanned receipts to the graduate student mentor of their edu-blog.

  • Scholars should also be prepared to present the results of their research at the symposium in September.

Criteria for Selection

To be considered for the grant, applicants must: (1) have a GPA of at least 3.0; (2) be in good academic standing with Columbia College and the School of Engineering; (3) be in good standing with CUSP; and (4) have attended at least five Speaker Series events.

Applications will be evaluated on: (1) the basis of the originality and scholarly promise of the project; (2) the feasibility, clarity, and coherence of the proposal; (3) the ability of the applicant to undertake the research; and (4) the commitment of a faculty sponsor.

Human Subjects Research

Many applicants wish to undertake “human subjects research” in which they interview or survey people.  Because of the importance of treating human subjects ethically and ensuring that no harm comes to someone who participates in research, all universities are federally mandated to oversee approval of all human subject research through an Institutional Review Board (IRB). Any applicants wishing to undertake such research will be required to contact Dean Hazel May in the Office of Academic Affairs. 


CUSP does not vet the safety or security of the setting in which the students intend to pursue their projects. It is the individual students’ responsibility to take the appropriate precautions about the settings in which they intend to pursue their project. The nature of this fellowship is solely for financial support.

Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program


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