Supplement for Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE)


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.

As of the application cycle for academic year 2019-2020 awards, the application process has been combined with UMBC’s internal Federal Work Study application process. With the same application, you are requesting either an FWS-supported student or 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).

Funding Period

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 before the start of the summer. Extensions cannot be granted into the following academic year.


All awards are granted the same ceiling of $1,500. By default, 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 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.

Application Process

To ensure opportunity for those students who most benefit from on-campus paid research opportunities, the application process has been combined with the Federal Work Study (FWS) application process as of the application cycle for 2019-2020 academic year awards. Any application deadlines associated with the FWS submission process also apply to the SURE program.

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 and more information about FWS is available at

FWS applications are considered on a rolling basis through August.

Review Process

The Office of the Vice President for Research will review SURE proposals which have not resulted in FWS hires and will make awards. Priority will be given to applicants who have not received SURE support in recent years.

Funding Conditions

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.