Student Awards

Undergraduate students may apply for several types of awards, including Individual and Group Projects, Individual and Group Travel, Community Engaged Learning, and Innovative Technology and Education (ITE).

*IMPORTANT* Due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not accepting applications for the Individual Travel Awards at this time.
Please check back later for updates. 

Upcoming Awards Opportunities

  • Sept8

    Fall Competitions and Group Travel

    Undergraduate students during fall 2020.
    Application forms will be made available on Sept 8, 2020 | Deadline to apply Sept 27, 2020  

  • Sept28

    Community Engaged Learning

    For faculty, postdocs, staff, graduate and undergraduate students.
    Application forms will be made available on Sept 28, 2020 | Deadline to apply Oct 18, 2020

  • Oct 5

    Spring Projects

    Undergraduate students during spring 2021.
    Application forms will be made available on Oct 5, 2020 | Deadline to apply Nov 8, 2020



Student Awards - General Information

  • Must be a Degree-seeking undergraduate student (Associate's Degree or Bachelor's Degree)
  • From any discipline, any year of study, any UAF campus
  • Fall and Spring Awards: Student must be enrolled in at least six credits at any UAF campus for current semester
  • Summer Awards: Student must be enrolled for at least six credits during spring semester 2020 and planning to enroll in at least six credits for fall semester 2020
  • GPA of 2.3 or better (students on probation are not eligible)
  • Students that have graduated are not eligible unless they are enrolled in a second degree program
  • Must have a mentor (faculty, post-doc or graduate student) and an established project 
  • Students that have received full funding from another UAF program for a specific project are not eligible for additional funding from URSA (for example BLaST and INBRE)
  • Students may only apply for one award each round
  • During any academic year (e.g., AY 2020 - 2021); fall 2020, spring 2021 and summer 2021, an undergraduate student may not receive more than one travel award (fall, winter or spring), and one project award (fall, spring or summer). This policy will allow for a greater number of students to receive awards with limited URSA funds.
Requirements of Awardees:
  • Mentor must complete the URSA Mentor Confirmation form prior to the award deadline.
  • Student must complete a final evaluation after travel/project completion.
  • Student must complete a poster of their project at the end of the semester in which they received funding. (For displays and performances contact URSA).
  • Student must present results at Research & Creative Activity Day on April 6, 2021. Failure to participate in Research & Creative Activity Day and to submit a final evaluation will make the student ineligible for URSA funding the following year.
  • Provide a photo of yourself and at least one of your project and/or travel to URSA upon completion of your award
  • Project Awards

    Fall and spring awards are up to $2,500 for an individual or $5,000 for a group of two or more students. Summer awards are up to $5,000.
    Project awards are for undergraduate students planning to conduct research or pursue creative projects. These awards may be used to cover: student stipend, tuition, travel (for conducting field work, or attending a meeting ), and supplies or services.

  • Travel Awards
    Travel funds support students presenting research or creative activity outcomes at a conference, meeting or congregation of their peers and professionals in their respective field, or to compete in a competition.

    These awards may only be used to cover travel to the event's location, lodging, perdiems, registration fees, and transportation.

    Important: Travel to conduct research or to attend meetings or conferences (but not present) should be funded through project awards. 

      Students that have been accepted to present their work and public or professional meeting may apply for travel funding up to $2,000. Applications are accepted any time throughout the year, however, applications must be submitted at least 4 weeks prior to domestic travel and 8 weeks prior to international travel. 

      Groups of students accepted to present their work or wishing to travel to competitions may apply for funding up to $4,000 per group. URSA will only consider one group for each conference or competition. For example:  Six students wish to attend the Design, Build, Fly competition. The maximum amount the group attending this competition is eligible to receive is $4,000. Students that apply as individuals or as other groups for the same event will not be considered. 
  • Paul H. McCarthy Research

    Undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines are eligible to apply for an award of $2,500 for a research project using any collection at the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives at the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library. The topic of the project should focus on the library’s history. A finished product could be a library exhibit, short film, a series of web publications, or other product.

  • Community Engaged Learning

    Undergraduate students are eligible to apply for awards of up to $500 to work with a community partner to explore a community need or problem through research or scholarly activity.

  • Innovative Technology and Education (ITE)

    Undergraduate students may apply for technology-related equipment and/or software for student-based instruction and/or research awards of up to $7,500. Funds for these awards come from a percentage of student fees.

For any given round of URSA funding, 25–70 proposals are submitted. With limited funding we award between 8 and 12 proposals in each call. The competition is high.

Once all the proposals are received, they are distributed randomly to four members of the URSA Review Panel. These faculty members come from all disciplines in the arts/humanities/social sciences and natural/life and engineering sciences. One of the reasons that we request that students write their proposal for a broad audience is because there is a high probability that several of their reviewers will not be in the same discipline as the proposal.

The reviewers score the proposals using our rubric and they also provide written comments. We fund those proposals, in ranked order, until our allotted amount of funding is no longer available.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluations are made by a minimum of four faculty members on the URSA Review Panel using the scoring criteria detailed below. Each of the following are evaluated on a scale from 1 (high/exemplary) to 5 (low/insufficient):

  • The purpose of the student's proposed project/travel

1. to conduct or present a research/creative project (projects) OR to present a research/creative project (travel)
2. to compete in a scholarly activity
3. to participate in an internship/immersion
4. to attend a workshop or acquire training that will facilitate a project
5. not clearly expressed

  • The explanation of the significance of the proposed project/travel
  • The explanation of the proposed project or travel's contribution to a scholarly discipline is
  • The potential for the proposed project or travel to effect student learning or scholarly development is
  • The written quality of the proposal is
  • The feasibility of the proposed project or travel seems
  • The articulated goals and/or expected outcomes of the project or travel seem
  • Through articulate writing and inclusion of details, the student's case for funding appears
  • The faculty mentor's role and/or participation in the project or travel is

 Proposals are also evaluated based on:

  • Written quality of the proposal—write for a general audience
  • Purpose of the project or travel with respect to potential for academic/research development for the student
  • Potential for student learning and development as a result of the project or travel
  • Adequate faculty involvement in the project or travel
  • Emailed acknowledgement of support by the mentor to URSA by the application deadline