Undergraduate Research Funding

NIU supports undergraduate research in many ways, including financial support. By getting funding for a project, you can broaden its impact. Two funding opportunities NIU offers are the Student Engagement Fund (SEF) and the Research, Engagement and Academic Diversity (READ) Grant. You can apply for either SEF or READ once per semester.

The application deadline for spring 2022 is Nov. 1, 2021.

Online Application

Funding Opportunities

Student Engagement Fund

The Student Engagement Fund (SEF) is the result of a collaborative effort by Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning (OSEEL) and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS).

Faculty members and students can apply for SEF funding for mentored research projects, which may be community-based. Funds can be used to cover a student's compensation (a paid assistantship) and/or to cover expenses such as equipment, software or travel.

If you're a CLAS student, you can also apply for funds to cover expenses for:

  • NIU faculty-led study abroad programs and field schools (in the United States and abroad).
  • Travel to a conference or competition, or for a class activity.

SEF applications are reviewed by a committee of NIU faculty and alumni.

Research, Engagement and Academic Diversity Grant

The Research, Engagement and Academic Diversity (READ) Grant is the result of a collaboration between OSEEL, the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships and the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ADEI). READ Grant funds can be used for research, scholarship and artistry projects on social justice and diversity, as well as projects related to social entrepreneurship or social innovation focused on social and cultural issues.

Faculty and students can apply. Faculty members must have a plan for selecting undergraduates to work on the project. Students must have a faculty/staff mentor and will present their project at the Conference on Undergraduate Research and Engagement. A final report must be submitted.

Students from historically excluded groups are encouraged to apply. Faculty are encouraged to recruit students from these groups (defined here as African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and Alaskan Native/American Indian).

READ applications are reviewed by the Committee on Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Acceptable Use of Funds and Limits

Funds can be used to cover a student's compensation and/or project supply expenses. Eligible project supply expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Conference registration fees.
  • Travel expenses (excluding local transportation such as travel in DeKalb County).
  • Materials and supplies specific to the project.
  • Direct project expenses (copying, mailing surveys, etc.).

You can receive support for more than one project. The following limits apply:

  • Student compensation limit: $1,200 per year.
  • Project supply expenses limit: $2,500 per year.
  • Total limit: $3,500 per student per academic year.

We recognize that the sum of the limits for compensation and project supply expenses exceeds the total limit.

Funding Timeline

Fall 2021

  • Jan. 15: application opens.
  • March 15, 11:59 p.m.: application deadline.
  • April 15: awardees notified.
  • Sept. 15: funds disbursed pending receipt of student-faculty contract and attendance at orientation (new recipients only).

Spring 2022

  • Aug. 15: application opens.
  • Nov. 1, 11:59 p.m.: application deadline.
  • Dec. 3: awardees notified.
  • Feb. 15: funds disbursed pending receipt of student-faculty contract and attendance at orientation (new recipients only).

Contact Us

Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning
Holmes Student Center 264-266
815-753-8154
engage@niu.edu
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