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Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (in)Equality

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Professional Development & Research Grants

Undergraduate Students

In order to apply for the IRISE Undergraduate Scholars Program, please read through the following information as to grant purpose, guidelines, and eligibility. All grant applications should be typed and emailed to IRISE.

Grant Purpose

IRISE is proud to announce the IRISE Undergraduate Scholars program.

IRISE is for DU students interested in moving from critical thinking to critical action by providing the opportunity for students to take their BIG IDEA to address an (in)equality issue, focus on promoting equality for domestic historically marginalized communities on campus, and make this idea a reality.

IRISE (In)equality Scholars Program will provide the support and structures that empower students to turn their big ideas into reality. Each scholar will follow a project structure that includes: research; development of a project plan in conjunction with faculty mentor, IRISE colleagues, and other DU students; and implementation, documentation and evaluation of their public project.

IRISE (In)equality Scholars will receive a $2,000 annual fellowship for their work between February 1 and June 31 of each academic year. In addition, each scholar is eligible to receive a $1000 annual project stipend to implement community work. Faculty mentors will receive $500 in recognition of their intensive mentoring role.

Program Expectations:

  • Students are expected to finish their public projects by August 1 of the funded year, and be available to work until this date if needed.
  • Develop a public project in collaboration with community partners, faculty members, IRISE colleagues, and other DU students. Students are expected to use their academic skills and personal interests to develop their public project.
  • Develop a multi-media portfolio documenting the development and implementation of your public project.
  • Complete final assessment report & article about the project, student learning, and community impact for IRISE website.

Selection Criteria:

Consideration for selection include the following:

  • Development of a "big idea" and a rough action plan aimed at addressing a (in)equity issue (to include statement of problem; discussion of methodology; proposed plan and community/campus partner; timeline; assessment plan);
  • A clear and well articulated interest in working in and with communities;
  • The ability and willingness to apply academic inquiry to (in)equality issues.

Guidelines and Policies:

All degree-seeking undergraduates may apply. Partnerships may support undergraduate research for a senior thesis or presentation as well as exploratory or experimental projects and/or community actions. The IRISE Undergraduate Scholars program will not support projects without a research component.

Partnerships involving two or more students or faculty, and proposals connecting several disciplines are encouraged. In the event of a multiple student project, each student must submit an application stating his/her personal contribution to the project and is eligible to receive up to $1500. Please do not submit a joint budget. Each student application must contain a single budget specifically related to that student. Faculty members may not oversee more than three grant students at a time.

The IRISE Undergraduate Scholars Program operates on a reimbursement system. Students are responsible for purchasing their own supplies and will receive a reimbursement with the proper documents. The IRISE Undergraduate Scholars Program office will not order or purchase supplies. A department or faculty member may purchase supplies for the student, in which case the IRISE Undergraduate Scholars Program office can do a budget transfer.

Faculty cannot support more than three IRISE applications at any given time. Faculty partners should be a part of the application writing process and should discuss the budget, including ordering supplies, prior to submission of the application. They should also make clear the student's role in the intellectual work of the project and describe the timeline if they are working with other students during this time period.

Application Components

Students should write their own proposals in close cooperation with the faculty partner.

Please upload the following components to the Grant Application

Project Description
Two-page, 12-point font proposal. Set forth the scope and duration of the project, its relation to current scholarship or work within your discipline, and expected outcomes.
  • What is your "big idea" and a tentative action plan aimed at addressing an inequality issue? What is the question you hope to answer?
  • What is the problem or issue you hope to address?
  • What community/communities are affected by this problem and what are their interests in this project? Why are you undertaking the project?
  • How does the project relate to your goals?
  • What are your role and the role of your faculty mentor?
  • What background do you have that prepares you for this project?
  • Precisely define the research problem or creative/community endeavor. How is it new (i.e., how does it fill a gap in existing knowledge or the extant body of creative works, why is it important to fill that gap)?
  • What is the specific research method(s) that will be used and why is it likely to succeed? What is your methodology?
  • What is your proposed community action plan and who is your community/campus partner? (Supporting letters from community partners, while not required, will strengthen your application.)
  • What will be the final product(s) of the project? How will you present your work at the Research Symposium or other venues, if applicable?
  • What is your timeline?
  • How will you assess you project and its effectiveness?
  • Describe your project so that someone outside of your discipline will understand it.

Project Budget

Provide a detailed project budget describing the estimated expenses, identifying the amount requested from IRISE and the funds contributed from departments (including Honors) or other sources. This proposal and budget should be written in consultation with faculty partners.

The amount requested from IRISE should not exceed $1000 for expenses. If the budget is greater than $1000, please show where remaining amount will come from. Travel expenses may be included if justifiable for the project. Be as specific as possible; a vague or general budget will not be funded. Please give justification for purchasing any item in your budget that is not "consumable" during the project. If funding for equipment is requested, this equipment becomes property of the department or the specific faculty partner's lab for use in further research.

IRISE operates on a reimbursement system. Students are responsible for purchasing their own supplies and will receive a reimbursement with the proper documents. A department or a faculty member may purchase supplies and a budget transfer can be processed.

Transcript: A current unofficial student transcript (from PioneerWeb/myWeb, copy and pasted). Grades must be viewable. Please do not use your APR.

Faculty Support Letter: The faculty partner must submit a letter of endorsement addressing these items:

  • the quality of the project;
  • the student's preparation for undertaking it, including comments about the student's academic achievement as it relates to the project; and,
  • the faculty member's intended role in the partnership.

If your project involves human subjects (this includes surveys, interviews, observation of public behavior, etc.), you must complete and submit an "Application to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects" form. Complete the IRB form in consultation with your faculty partner and submit it to the IRB. If you are working with animals, you must receive IACUC approval.

If your project is selected for IRISE, IRISE funding will be contingent on IRB or IACUC approval. Funds will not be granted until proof of approval is provided.

Grant Application Process

Applications are available at

Application will be available until March 1, 2017. The IRISE Grant Committee will be reviewing applications and will announce the awardees in early May 2017.

If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected]

Conference Presentation Funding Guidelines

DU students in academic degree programs may apply for a maximum of $500 for funding to present at a professional conference.

To be eligible to apply, applicants must:

  • Be registered for the term in which they are planning to make a presentation related to themes of (in)equality at a professional conference.
  • Submit to [email protected] a one-page detailed budget, including other sources of funding if relevant, and an explanation of how the requested funding will be used.
  • One faculty letter of support.
  • A two-page curriculum vitae.
  • Submit to [email protected] a 1-2 page summary of the outcomes of the research presented.

Preference will be given to first time applicants.

Recipients must acknowledge the support of DU IRISE in the dissertation, masters or honors thesis, other research publications, and or presentations or other work product that may result from this grant.