The Supplement for Undergraduate Research (SURE) program is a UMBC internal funding mechanism managed by the Office of Research Development in support the inclusion of undergraduates in faculty-led research (including scholarly and creative activities) during a student’s first four semesters at UMBC. SURE proposals are submitted by faculty members.
To allow faculty applicants to consider a broader set of students and to encourage the creation of research-oriented Federal Work Study opportunities (FWS), the SURE application process is combined with UMBC’s internal FWS application process. With the same application, you are requesting either an FWS-supported student or funding for a SURE-supported student. FWS-supported students do not need to be in their first four semesters at UMBC while receiving FWS funds, but SURE-supported students must be.
Students seeking paid research experiences who are ineligible for support under a professor’s SURE award are encouraged to apply instead for an Undergraduate Research Award (for which the student is the applicant) or to find an advisor with available (perhaps extramural) funding.
The SURE program is part of the broader Undergraduate Research Enhancement Initiative (UREI), which is funded by a variety of UMBC units.
Applicants for the SURE program are the advisors/mentors on the proposed work, not the students who will be funded by the award. Anyone eligible to submit proposals for extramural funding through UMBC is eligible to submit a URA proposal. Eligibility to submit extramural funding varies by department. In most cases, to be eligible, one must be a tenure-track (including tenured) professor, a research professor, or have gone through the Principal Investigator exemption approval process (starting with their department, culminating in approval from the Vice President for Research & Creative Achievement).
SURE awards are granted for the Fall, Winter, and Spring semesters of the award year. Extensions are sometimes granted through the following summer if requested (via email to firstname.lastname@example.org) before the start of the summer. Extensions cannot be granted into the following academic year.
All SURE awards are granted the same ceiling of $1,500. SURE funding is provided retroactively to a department up to the amount that was spent on the supported student. The student must be named (via email to email@example.com) before work begins under the award, and no expenses can be reimbursed besides the salary costs of a student who was supported on an hourly basis.
Note that FWS awards are generally larger than SURE awards. The maximum FWS award a student can receive for the year has increased to $4,000 ($2,000 / semester).
The FWS application system is used to request both FWS positions and SURE awards. Participating in the FWS supervisor training is strongly encouraged. The deadline to request an FWS position is July 28, 2023. Requests after this date will still be considered, but many students will already have started looking for FWS jobs in late July. For SURE awards, applications must be received by August 25, 2023.
If a professor applying in this way is able to hire an FWS-eligible student who is capable of doing the work they have proposed, they are expected to do so. Remaining SURE applications which have not resulted in an FWS hire will then be considered for SURE funds to hire. This process will begin upon the end of the FWS process in mid-September.
The combined FWS/SURE application form is available at https://financialaid.umbc.edu/staff/fws/position-request and more information about FWS is available at https://financialaid.umbc.edu/staff/fws.
FWS applications are considered on a rolling basis through August.
The Office of Research and Creative Achievement (ORCA) will review SURE proposals and will make awards. ORCA requests that students who are funded by both FWS and SURE funds be covered with FWS funds before SURE funds are used. Priority will be given to applicants who have not received SURE support in recent years.
Awards are contingent on the recipient identifying an eligible student to be supported by the award before work begins. Funds may be used solely to support undergraduate research assistants in their first four semesters at UMBC. Only one student may be supported by a SURE award at a time. Students must be paid on an hourly basis. Short final reports from the faculty awardee and the student will be required at the end of the award period.