Undergraduate Research Funding

Undergraduate research has been identified by the Association of American Colleges and Universities as a high impact practice. We promote faculty to engage with students in this evidenced based practice as it has shown to improve student outcomes and increase learning success.

One way we do this is by providing funding opportunities for students to receive a stipend while working alongside a faculty-mentor on a research project. Funding is also available for project supplies associated with taking on undergraduate student researchers. Faculty can apply for the Student Engagement Fund (SEF) or Research, Engagement and Academic Diversity (READ) Grant.

Online Application Preview Application

Funding Opportunities

Faculty from all colleges and disciplines can apply for funding. Regardless of the funding opportunity you apply for research projects typically fit under the following broad categories:

  • Research and Artistry: Research/ artistry project meant to contribute to a body of knowledge on a specific topic, intended to serve the academic community, and controlled by the researcher or artist.
  • Civic Engagement: projects that promote and consider ways citizens are active, engaged, and informed as it relates to political participation, education, and other societal issues.
  • Community-Engaged Research: Community based research that has as its main purpose to provide the community with tools and info to enact change; pursues community empowerment and mutual learning, controlled by researcher/artist and community members.

Student Engagement Fund

The Student Engagement Fund (SEF) is an Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning (OSEEL) funding program that provides student compensation and/or project supply funds for faculty-mentored research/artistry and community-based projects. Projects in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) are funded in partnership with the college.

SEF applications are reviewed by a committee of NIU faculty.

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 are encouraged to recruit students from historically excluded 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

The main purpose of READ and SEF is to increase the number of students receiving funding to participate in undergraduate research. Additionally, faculty can apply for project supply expenses. Eligible project supply expenses include:

  • Research related travel expenses (i.e travel to a field site)
  • Materials and supplies specific to the project
  • Direct project expenses (copying, mailing surveys, etc…)

You may receive funding for more than one project. The following limits apply:

  • Student researchers: maximum of three students per semester at $1,200 each
  • Project supplies: $500 per student researcher; $1,500 maximum per application

Funding Timeline

Spring 2024

  • Application opens: mid-September
  • Application deadline: early November
  • Awardees notified: early December
  • Feb. 15, 2024: funds disbursed pending receipt of student-faculty mentor learning agreement.

Summer/Fall 2024

  • Application opens: mid-January
  • Application deadline: early April
  • Awardees notified: early May
  • June 15: funds disbursed for summer recipients pending receipt of student-faculty mentor learning agreement.

Eligibility and Requirements

Student Eligibility

In order for students to receive a stipend as an undergraduate researcher, the following criteria must be met:

  • Currently enrolled student at NIU
  • In good academic standing
  • Ability to work on the research project for the entire semester for approximately 5-7 hours per week

Program Requirements

Faculty and students will be added to OSEEL’s Research Funding Programs Blackboard organization which will be used to communicate program requirements and expectations.


  • Meet with faculty to complete student-faculty mentor learning agreement and adhere to established commitments
  • Maintain regular communication with your faculty mentor
  • Submit monthly progress reports
  • Complete end of project survey
  • Present your research project at NIU’s annual Conference on Undergraduate Research and Engagement

Faculty Mentors

  • Meet with student and use the student-faculty mentor learning agreement to establish expectations
  • Meet with student periodically to assess and review the stated learning outcomes of the project outlined in the student-faculty mentor learning agreement
  • Provide resources and necessary tools for students
  • Ensure students have completed any necessary safety training to participate in the project. Students and staff can create an account to access Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI training)
  • Share OSEEL protocol with Department Office manager for purchasing of supplies and reimbursement process
  • Maintain regular communication with your student researcher and OSEEL staff on any major changes with the research project or mentoring relationship

Contact Us

Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning
Holmes Student Center 264-266
Back to top