Dean's Undergraduate Research Initiative (DURI)

The Dean’s Undergraduate Research Initiative (DURI) aims to broaden the undergraduate student research experience and provide opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to develop skills in mentoring at the VCU College of Engineering under the leadership of our faculty. DURI invites undergraduate engineering students to apply for a one-year fellowship, which will begin in the Spring of 2019. DURI fellows will receive 1 hour of course credit for their spring semester research commitment (10-12 hours/week), and they will work full time during the summer semester (40 hours/week) for which they will receive a $2,500 stipend. The one-year program will continue into the fall semester (10-12 hours/week), and the students will receive a $1,500 stipend.

This fellowship is open to full time VCU undergraduate students, receiving a Bachelor's degree in or after December 2019 or later from the College of Engineering. DURI fellows will be selected based on their GPA, resume, and interest in research as evidenced by two letters of recommendation from College of Engineering faculty and a personal statement. Applications for 2019 fellowships are due November 1, 2018.

DURI Information

Why pursue undergraduate research?

Research is creating new knowledge. It is the catalyst of innovation and will forever remain a great adventure. Research provides opportunities to develop close relationships among undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty that have positive effects on student learning and retention, and improve the quality of the overall educational experience here at VCU.

Why pursue research through DURI?

DURI aims to broaden the undergraduate student experience and provide opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to develop skills in mentoring at the VCU College of Engineering under the leadership of our faculty. Research through DURI is progressive and sustained. These challenging endeavors for budding researchers demand a sense of commitment, require considerable time and effort, spark critical thinking and creativity, provide learning opportunities outside the classroom, and promote teamwork skills, all transferable to many real world problems. The research and mentoring experiences gained through DURI will be transformative for faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral trainees and undergraduate students alike.

Description of the DURI program

The goal of the DURI program is to give undergraduates an extended research experience resulting in sufficient data to support a presentation at a national or an international conference. At the same time, the program provides graduate students and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to develop critical skills in proposal writing and mentoring students; skills that will benefit them in their future careers, whether in academia or industry. Therefore, the program requires the participation of the undergraduate research fellows, their research mentors, and the faculty mentor in whose lab they will work.

DURI Fellows

DURI invites undergraduate engineering students to apply for a one year fellowship, which will begin in the Spring of 2019. DURI fellows will receive 1 hour of course credit for their spring semester research commitment (10-12 hours/week), and they will work full time during the summer semester (40 hours/week) for which they will receive a $2,500 stipend. The one-year program will continue into the fall semester (10-12 hours/week), and the students will receive a $1,500 stipend. During the fall semester, the student will be expected to complete his/her research, prepare an abstract, data summary and conclusions drawn from the work and present them at a poster competition at the end of the semester. $500 will be available to support travel for the DURI fellow to a scientific conference (to be determined by the faculty mentor).

Up to 10 students will be selected by a review committee with representation from all departments in the College of Engineering. Fellows will then interview with potential mentors (described below), and following the interviews, fellows and mentors will be matched. Applications for 2019 fellowships are due November 1, 2018.

DURI Research Mentors

College of Engineering graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and newly appointed assistant professors will serve as research mentors for the DURI fellows. Research mentors will design and submit an appropriate research project proposal for the undergraduate student. Proposals should address the background and significance of the study, the overall goal of the study, the specific aims that will lead to the overall goal, and the overall strategy/methodology used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Proposals should not exceed 5 pages double-spaced. The selection committee will review the proposals and identify up to 10 research projects for potential match to DURI fellows. Each research mentor will receive $500 support to attend a scientific conference determined by the faculty mentor.

Eligibility 

This fellowship is open to full time VCU undergraduate students, receiving a Bachelor's degree in or after December 2019 or later from the College of Engineering. This is a one year commitment to research that begins in January 2019 and extends through December 2019. Students can use their travel funds up to two years after beginning the program as long as they have not graduated by that time or if they remain at VCU as a post-graduate student. Students currently enrolled in other departments outside the College of Engineering are not eligible for this program.

Application 

All completed applications are due November 1, 2018.