Advanced Undergraduate Research (AURA)



Issued: January 8, 2013
Due: Noon, Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Award Notification Date: March 21, 2013

printable version (pdf)

TO: Faculty in the Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics
FROM: Mark R. Hoffmann, Ph.D., ND EPSCoR Co-Project Director
RE: Advanced Undergraduate Research Awards (AURA

The ND EPSCoR AURA program at the University of North Dakota (UND) provides undergraduate students with opportunities to experience academic research at a point in their college careers when they need to make important decisions about their future. It is expected that the AURA students will:
• become contributing members in their research groups;
be mentored to pursue careers in science, engineering, or mathematics research;

• learn about the ethics of research
• learn about research and graduate school opportunities in North Dakota; and
• be mentored to submit applications for nationally competitive scholarships like the Goldwater award.

Faculty Eligibility:
Must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member at UND. Individual PIs or multiple PIs working together in a research group can apply. Limit of two students per multi-investigator group and one per single investigator. The AURA mentor will be required to submit a proposal to one of the research directorates at the National Science Foundation by July 15, 2014.

Student Eligibility:
Students must have completed their sophomore year by May 16, 2013 and NOT graduate prior to May 2015. Students with a previous AURA award are NOT eligible. The purpose of AURA is to increase the number of students interested in research careers, rather than extending the résumés of selected individuals. PIs are encouraged to identify funding opportunities for previous students through other sources. Students may not be enrolled in regular or correspondence courses and conduct AURA research during the summer months concurrently. Howeer, they may be  eligible to enroll in a summer independent study course for their research and receive academic credit. The independent study course must be approved by the faculty mentor.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria:
1. Description of how the student will enhance the PI’s research program and contribute to the submittal of competitive research proposals.
2. Description of how the student will be mentored, including a well-defined plan for applying for competitive national research scholarships and fostering the student’s interest in a research career. Include summary of recent mentoring of students.
3. Description of resources available to support proposed students research.

Application and Review Process:
• PIs submit applications.
• ND EPSCoR posts research abstracts on our web page and issues a Call for Student Applications.
• PI proposals and student applications will be reviewed by a committee that includes faculty of SEM disciplines and representatives from the Office of Research.

Check List (submit in the following order):
1. Cover page. Available at
2. Executive Summary: a) project title; b) abstract describing the research problem; and c) description of student research role. Maximum of 250 words for project and 150 words for student research role.
3. Two-page proposal: describing (1) the research activities and the student participation and duties in the research; and (2) mentoring plan including expected outcomes of the mentoring experience. The research and the mentoring plans should each be approximately one-page in length (single-line spaced, one-sided pages, one-inch margins, font size 10 point or larger).
4. PI Current and Pending Support form (NSF format).

Submit both:
Paper Version: Original plus four (4) copies (staple all copies), delivered to UND ND EPSCoR office (Carnegie Hall, Room 2), AND
Electronic Abstract: AURA project description electronic form on line at

Number of expected awards: Up to eight (8)
Amount of student award: $5,000 for ten (10) weeks during the time period May 16 – August 9, 2013 plus $1,500 for up to ten (10) hours/week during the fall semester (August 20, 2013– November 29, 2013). An additional $1,000 will be made available for faculty research supplies and student research-related travel support. The award also pays the fringe benefits.

Award is contingent upon continued funding from the NSF and the North Dakota State Legislature.

Please direct questions to Mark R. Hoffmann, at 701.777.2492 or