Deans' Undergraduate Research Fund (DURF)

The Deans' Undergraduate Research Fund (DURF) awards funding to undergraduates at NYU Shanghai for summer research in any field of study. The DURF broadly defines research as scholarly or artistic activities that lead to the production of new knowledge; to increased problem solving capabilities, including design and analysis; to original, critical or historical theory and interpretation; or to the production of art or artistic performance. Students interested in any form of research may apply.  Students may apply to do a project independently or work with other students on a group project. There should be no more than four students per group.

Funding Amounts
E
ach selected student (regardless of whether they are working on their own or in a group) will individually receive a 7,000 RMB stipend, disbursed in two allotments. 3,500 RMB will be provided at the beginning of the approved project period and the remaining 3,500 RMB will be provided after successful submission of the project evaluation. The funding is subject to all applicable taxes and does not affect financial aid.

There is an additional opportunity to apply for funding of a Project Budget to cover specific materials, supplies, and travel related to the project. Individual projects can apply for Project Budget funding of up to 3,500 RMB. Group projects can apply for Project Budget funding of up to 7,000 RMB. 

Eligibility
NYU Shanghai students are eligible to apply if they satisfy all of the below requirements:

♦  Will not be graduating in May 2020.
♦  Have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50. 
♦  Have secured a Faculty Mentor in the NYU Global Network to supervise the project. Faculty Mentors can mentor no more than two DURF projects, and no more than four DURF students during the summer. Please note that Teaching Assistants, Resident Research Fellows, and Post-Doctoral Fellows may not serve as DURF Faculty Mentors. 
♦  Will not receive any other funding for the DURF project. If you accept other funding after you receive the DURF award, you will need to return your DURF funding.

Application Deadline: March 31, 2020 11:59 PM Shanghai time

Application Instructions
There are two components to the application:

♦   Ask your Faculty Mentor to fill out this Endorsement Form by March 31, 2020. We strongly recommend that you work with your Faculty Mentor on your proposal and meet with your Mentor to get feedback before submitting the final proposal.
♦   Fill out the Student Application Form by March 31, 2020. You will be asked to upload your transcript and proposal in the form. Most students should submit Type I proposals. For students who wish to work in the Arts and Creative Humanities, Type II proposals are most appropriate. See detailed guidelines for Type 1 and Type II proposals below. If working in a group, each group member must submit a separate application form.

If you have any questions, please email shanghai.durf@nyu.edu

Type I Proposal Instructions

Writing a research proposal will help you clarify your project and will give you valuable experience for any proposal writing that you may do beyond NYU Shanghai. Your application is your chance to tell us about your proposed research, its significance, and how well you are prepared to undertake such a project. Make certain that the proposal is in your words – not your professor’s words! Your proposal may be up to three single-spaced pages in length. We recommend using a 12 point serif font (such as Times New Roman). 

The proposal should include the following sections in order:

  • Title: At the top of the first page write your name(s) and project title. Do not include a cover sheet or separate title page.
  • Abstract: A summary of your research question and your project design. Researchers typically write the abstract after they have finished writing the rest of the proposal. Include it as the first section on the first page of your proposal.
  • Research Question and Significance: What is the question that you want to explore in your research and why is it an interesting and important question? In thinking about the significance, try to take the position of an educated newspaper reader. In a newspaper article about your research, how would you explain the importance of your project? Please be sure to put this information at the start of the paragraph.
  • Project Design and Feasibility: How will you go about exploring your research question? What will be your methods and timetable? How will this research fit into your summer schedule? How will you find the time necessary to do the research? This section allows you to use discipline-specific language to explain the details of your project.
  • Group Partnership Plan (if applicable): If more than one student is applying for the same project, describe why you feel it is necessary to work as a group. How will you organize the work and assign responsibilities? If you are in different locations, how will you communicate and keep each other accountable and on track?  

  • Background: What courses or work experiences have prepared you to undertake this project?  
  • Feedback and Evaluation: Who will provide feedback on and evaluate your project and according to what schedule and what criteria?
  • Dissemination of Knowledge: How will you share the results of your project? What form will your findings take? We strongly encourage DURF recipients to present at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in May.
  • Project Budget (Optional): If you are applying for funding for a Project Budget, include a list of all the items that you propose to purchase and your best estimate of the cost of each item. Include specific vendor information such as where you plan to purchase the item(s) and how much each item costs. All expense items should be explained either in the body of your proposal or in a budget narrative included on your budget page. If you are asking for funds to purchase a piece of software or equipment, first find out whether the university (e.g. I.T. or the Library) already has inventory accessible to students.The selection committee reserves the right to disallow certain line items and frequently approves only partial budgets. The maximum budget for individual projects is 3,500 RMB and 7,000 RMB for group projects.
     

Please note:

  • The committee rarely approves course fee and conference fee requests.
  • Travel costs must be directly related to the proposed research and fully justified; the committee rarely funds airline tickets or international travel. Expenses related to travel to one’s hometown or home country from another country may not be included in the Project Budget.
  • Equipment purchases must be fully supported in the proposal and equipment must remain the property of NYU Shanghai; state which department at NYU Shanghai will be responsible for it when you complete your project.
  • Book purchases are approved only if you can show it is impossible to get what you need from a library or on loan.
  • If you are approved for the funding, you must submit original receipts/official fapiao for the approved budget expenses at the end of the project period.
     

Tips:

  • Remember to spell check! Your proposal should be a reflection of your commitment to the project.
  • Work with your Faculty Mentor on your proposal and get their feedback and advice prior to submitting the final version.
 
Type II Proposal Instructions (For Arts and Creative Humanities Topics)

Your Type II Proposal should place your project in a larger creative context while providing specific details about your objectives, process and product, as well as the anticipated impact on your development. A typical problem is to offer too broad a discussion and too much personal background. The directions below are intended to help you organize your proposal and present your information in a way that balances significance and detail and meets the requirements of grant-giving funders, including DURF.

Your proposal may be up to three single-spaced pages in length. We recommend using a 12 point serif font (such as Times New Roman). The proposal should include the following sections in order:

  • Title: At the top of the first page write your name(s) and project title. Do not include a cover sheet or separate title page.
     
  • Abstract: The Abstract is a brief but specific statement of the project’s objectives, methods, and impact, as well as what you hope to accomplish, using what means and resources, and why the project is important to you, your field, and to the larger world.
     
  • Project Narrative: The project narrative is a detailed discussion of your proposed project, including the objectives, the methods you plan to use, and how your project relates and contributes to the particular creative field(s). Below are some questions to help you get started:
  1. What makes your project original?
  2. Why is it important that you undertake this project? What courses or experiences have prepared you to undertake this project?
  3. Objective or goal: What do you want to achieve?
  4. Conceptual approach: How are you approaching this project?
  5. Issues: What concern, problem, or need will the work address?
  6. Approach: What medium and genre will you be using and why are they appropriate for this work?
  7. Vision: What is your vision for the final project?
     

You should also describe how the proposed work fits into and advances the field’s current creative context and conversation. For example:

  1. What are the sources of inspiration for this project?
  2. How does it build on or differ from past or current work by others in the field and/or related fields?
  3. In what specific ways will this work advance the current creative context and conversation?

 

  • Project Process: Describe the process involved with the project.
  1. How do you plan to accomplish the project? If more than one student is applying for the same project, describe why it is necessary to work as a group. How you will organize the work and assign responsibilities? If you are in different locations, how will you communicate and keep each other accountable and on track?
  2. Provide a detailed timeline, including:
    --Pre-production research
    --Production schedule itemizing tasks and allocating time. Include who will provide feedback on and evaluate your project and according to what schedule and what criteria.
    --Post-production, if applicable​
  •  Outcomes: Outline the outcomes of your project. Here are some questions to think about and address:

a. Benefit to your craft: How will this project/product enhance your interests and skills, directions and opportunities for further work?

b. Exhibition/Presentation: How, where, and when do you plan to present your work? If no additional exhibition is planned, how will you disseminate the knowledge gained from the project? We strongly encourage DURF recipients to present at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium which takes place each May. ​

  • Supporting Materials: Please include some supporting materials to clarify the proposal. These include prior art or creative work; links to online documentation; music compositions; sketches of proposed work; preliminary research; archive information, etc.
  • Project Budget (Optional): If you are applying for funding for a Project Budget, include a list of all the items you propose to purchase and your best estimate of the cost of each item. Include specific vendor information such as where you plan to purchase the item(s) and how much each item costs. All expense items should be explained either in the body of your proposal or in a budget narrative included on your budget page. If you are asking for funds to purchase a piece of software or equipment, please check first whether it is available through the Library or I.T. The selection committee reserves the right to disallow certain line items and frequently approves only partial budgets. The maximum budget for individual projects is 3,500 RMB and 7,000 RMB for group projects.
     

Please note:

  • The committee rarely approves course fee and conference fee requests.
  • Travel costs must be directly related to the proposed research and fully justified; the committee rarely funds airline tickets or international travel. Expenses related to travel to one’s hometown or home country from another country may not be included in the Project Budget.
  • Equipment purchases must be fully supported in the proposal and equipment must remain the property of NYU Shanghai. State which department at NYU Shanghai will be responsible for it when you complete your project.
  • Book purchases are approved only if you can show it is impossible to get what you need from a library or on loan.
  • If you are approved for the funding, you must submit original receipts/official fapiao for the approved budget expenses at the end of the project period.


Tips:

  • Remember to spell check! Your proposal should be a reflection of your commitment to the project.
  • Work with your Faculty Mentor on your proposal and get your Mentor's feedback and advice prior to submitting the final version.
Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will DURF provide housing for students who want to stay in Shanghai this summer?

DURF does not provide housing. If you wish to stay in dorm in Shanghai for the summer, please contact the Office for Residential Life.
 
2. Can a non-NYU Shanghai faculty be the Faculty Mentor for my DURF research?

All current tenured, tenure-track, and continuing contract professors in the NYU Global Network can serve as Faculty Mentors for students' DURF research. Please note that faculty mentor should oversee no more than two DURF projects, and no more than four DURF students, during the summer.
 

3. Is there a specific timeline for students to conduct the research?

The DURF research timeline is relatively flexible in order to give students more freedom in conducting research. You could start your DURF research as soon as you receive approval from the DURF Program and ideally complete the research in the summer. Your DURF research can go beyond the summer if the project timeline requires, but the timeline and justification should be stated clearly in the proposal.