What kind of funding do you need in order to pursue your research project?
Do you need to be paid for the time that you put in? Do you need to purchase reagents, books or computational time for your project? Are you ready to present your research at a national or international meeting? There are resources for each of these needs!
Pay for Research
Some faculty in some fields of research will have funds to pay students for their work. In some cases, student may earn wages for work on research projects for the faculty member. Some students will split their time into helping on other people’s projects and working on their own projects.
Research groups will advertise for students with specific skills, for example, statistics or molecular biology or linear algebra. Student jobs can be found on Cornell’s Student Employment website.
Many research groups will require or prefer to hire students that have work-study funding as part of their financial aid package. If you do have this funding, the federal government pays more than half of your wages.
Funding for Supplies
In many fields, the faculty member that you work with will have funding to support whatever supplies or materials you may need. Some colleges ( CALS, Eng, Arts also have grants to help support research.
Presenting Your Research
Your research has gone well and you are ready to present it on a bigger stage? How do you get funding to do this? First, see if the meeting has any support for undergraduate travel awards. Many professional societies do have such funding. Then, talk to your major and your college. Many of the colleges do have funding to help students present their work. Finally, see if your research group has any funds that you might be able to use.
Staying in Ithaca for the summer to work on your research is a wonderful opportunity. There are several resourses that will help you be paid for your work.
- Design Your Own Internship- a program through Financial Aid and Student Employment that will pay 60% of your wages, with your research group paying the rest.
- Some colleges and majors will have competitive felllowships that will allow you to stay in Ithaca for a summer of research
- Some professional societies have funding for student stipends for the summer. Check with your research advisor.
- Faculty funded through federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation can apply for extra funding to support a student researcher over the summer. Talk to your research advisor early ( November?) so there is time for the application.
- Students associated with OADI or the Engineering Diversity Office may apply for summer support. Students interested in applying to graduate school should check out the McNair Scholars program for low-income and first generation students.
Your personal needs and interests and the preferences those in the research setting are key factors as you seek a position.
Credit or Pay?
Many departments award academic credit in variable amounts to students who file for an independent study. How can you beat a faculty student ratio of 1:1? Credit is a great way to enhance your academics in a structured setting.
Students should consult with Courses of Study and their faculty advisor to explore this option.
Many research positions are paid. It’s a great opportunity to use work-study while engaging in a stimulating setting. While the student who is eligible for work/study funding has an advantage, paid positions that don’t require work-study eligibility exist as well. The Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment can provide additional information.
A student volunteer receives neither pay nor credit, but volunteering can help you “get a foot in the door.” Sometimes students, especially underclassmen, work their way into a research project, or they develop basic skills enabling them to become qualified for the research work they want to do. Volunteering is a great way to demonstrate enthusiasm for the research work of a professor.
Fellowships: General and Prestigious
Fellowships are endowments used to provide financial support to individuals pursuing advanced study or training. They can be for schooling, travel to certain countries, or projects within a given organization or group. See the Cornell University Fellowships Program for more information.
The best sources of information on-campus are the college offices that oversee undergraduate research. See the following:
- College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- see also CALS grants page
- see also Drinkwater Lab, Department of Horticulture
- College of Arts and Sciences
- College of Engineering
- College of Human Ecology
- College of Veterinary Medicine
- Division of Nutritional Sciences
- Einaudi Center
- Rawlings Cornell Presidential Research Scholars
- School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions
- School of Industrial and Labor Relations
- Undergraduate Program in Biology
Cornell Career Services maintains an excellent page with information about summer internship and job opportunities. You may also use Cornell Undergraduate Research Advisors as a resource.
- Project-ION (Internship Opportunities Now), site with over 400 internships from across Central Upstate New York
- Summer Ecosystem Experiences for Undergraduates (SEE-U), offered by Center for Environmental Research and Conservation at Columbia University
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, Summer Internship. The ICPSR is the world’s largest archive of digital social science data.
The source of much support for your faculty mentor, federal agencies also have a few programs that support undergraduate research programs. See the list of federal funding agencies, maintained by the Office of Sponsored Programs.
- Department of Energy, Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration Undergraduate Student Research Program
- National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program
- National Institutes of Health Summer Internship in Biomedical Research
- National Human Genome Research Institute Initiatives and Resources for Minority and Special Populations
- National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates
- National Science Foundation REU-China: Ecological and Environmental Research in an Urbanized Environment
- Cornell’s Research Administration and Information Services offers online sources to assist faculty and research staff in identifying sources of funding
National Organizations with a Focus on Undergraduate Research
- Council on Undergraduate Research
- The Leadership Alliance, Summer Research Early Identification Program
- The Reinvention Center at the University of Miami
- Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
Be sure to explore funding opportunities offered by professional organizations in your field of interest.