Deans' Undergraduate Research Fund (DURF)

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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 

Eligibility

Application Instructions 

Overview of Deadlines for Students 

Commitments of a Faculty Mentor 

Overview of Deadlines for Mentors 

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 2021.
♦  Have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50. 
♦  Have secured a Faculty Mentor to supervise the project. Faculty Mentors can mentor no more than two DURF projects, and no more than four DURF total students during the summer. Current tenured, tenure-track, and full-time continuing contract professors from NYU campuses can serve as Faculty Mentors for students' DURF research. Please note that Teaching Assistants, Resident Research Fellows, and Post-Doctoral Fellows may not serve as DURF Faculty Mentors. Interested applicants should contact potential Faculty Mentors well in advance of the deadline (e.g. at least one month) so allow sufficient time for Faculty Mentor feedback on the project proposal.​
♦  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, 2021, 1:00pm China Standard Time. 

Application Instructions
There are two components to the application. You will need to: 

♦   Ask your Faculty Mentor to submit this Endorsement Form by 1:00 pm CST on March 31, 2021. ​​We strongly recommend that you meet with your Faculty Mentor on your proposal well in advance (e.g. at least one month before the deadline) and get feedback before submitting the final proposal.​
♦   Fill out the Student Application Form by 1:00 pm CST on March 31, 2021. 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

Overview of Deadlines for Students

Date Events
March 31 at 1PM CST Application closes
End of April Decisions announced
End of May Distribution of first stipend allotment
May 16 Deadline to apply for IRB approval for projects involving human subjects
July 22 Deadline for reimbursement of approved budget items
August 16 at 1PM CST Deadline for Final Project Form Submission (see sample here) in order to receive second stipend allotment by the end of August
September 13 at 1PM CST Deadline for Final Project Form Submission (see sample here) in order to receive second stipend allotment by the end of October

 

Overview of Deadlines for Faculty Mentors

Date Events
March 31 at 1PM CST

Deadline to submit the DURF Application Endorsement Form

May 16 (optional) Deadline for Faculty Mentors to apply for IRB approval on behalf of the DURF students (if the research involves human subjects)
August 16 at 1PM CST First Deadline for Evaluation Form Submission (see sample here) in order for students to receive second stipend allotment by the end of August
September 13 at 1PM CST  Final Deadline for Evaluation Form Submission (see sample here) in order for students to receive second stipend allotment by the end of October

 

The Commitments of a Faculty Mentor are to:

  • Give feedback to the student(s) on their DURF application, assess the student(s)’ research plan, and submit the Endorsement Form below by March 31, 2021, 1 PM Shanghai time.
  • If the DURF research involves human subjects, apply for Institutional Review Board (IRB) review on behalf of the students before the research is initiated. The IRB requires Faculty Mentors to apply to the Board as Principal Investigator (rather than the students).
  • Complete a simple evaluation form (see sample here) at the end of the DURF Project evaluating the quality of the student’s project execution and the project outcome.

 

 

 

 

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 milestones? 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. What is your contingency plan if COVID-19 restrictions might affect your ability to carry out the project as designed?
  • 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 (please click here to view a sample budget) of all the items that you propose to purchase and your best estimate of the cost of each item.

 

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 (please click here to view a sample budget) of all the items that you propose to purchase and your best estimate of the cost of each item. ​

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?

Current tenured, tenure-track, and full-time 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. I am a GoLocal student. Can I apply for the DURF program?

Unfortunately, GoLocal students are not eligible for the NYU Shanghai DURF program application. Please check with your home school advisor if there are similar summer research programs at your home school and apply through that.​

Important Advice from Past DURF Students

Time Management

1. Set a fixed period of time each day to work.

2. Things don't always go as planned. Leave buffer time for unexpected events (long administrative process, long IRB process or long procurement process etc.). Meanwhile, set aside some backup plans in case things don't develop in the direction you expected.

3. Make any necessary changes early.

4. Set smaller and more specific goals leading up to the big goal.

5. Learn how to balance your time between solving various problems and put most of your effort on the most pressing and important problem.

 

Meeting Etiquette for effective meetings

1. Maintain a meeting agenda sheet which team members update and hold team meetings every week to get updates and discuss what’s next. 

2. Send the materials to be discussed to your Faculty Mentor at least 1-2 days in advance to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

 

Communication with Faculty Mentor

Do not be shy. Do not hesitate to ask your faculty mentor for help when you encounter problems, which may resolve confusion and issues much more quickly and efficiently.

 

Working with teammates

1. Make a clear distribution of work.

2. Be open to any feedback from your teammates. Analyze the rationale for each person’s point of view before making a final decision.

3. Engage in active and consistent communication with each other to advance the project together.