For Faculty: Supporting Undergraduate Research

Engaging Undergraduate Students in Research and Discovery

In our UC Davis Faculty Handout, you will find the URC mission, Benefits to Faculty and the Role of the Undergraduate Researcher, URC Resources and Awards/Funding for Undergraduate Research, a summary of Sponsored Undergraduate Research Programs at UC Davis and 15 Reasons to Engage Undergraduate Students in Research and Discovery.

Don't Cancel Class!

The Undergraduate Research Center would be pleased to present a seminar on "How to Get Involved in Research" to your classes. This lecture gives an overview of the importance of research experiences in career development and provides valuable tips on how to find and secure a research position. Please contact us at to arrange for a URC representative to present to your class. Last minute requests can be considered if staff are available at the desired date/time.

Achieving broader impact:

The Undergraduate Research Center (URC) is available to help you develop “broader impact” projects involving undergraduate research!   We are available to provide support to projects that involve undergraduate research in a number of ways including:

  • Provide feedback for your ideas
  • Assist in brainstorming new programs
  • Serve as administrative home for projects as appropriate

We also have a list of Current Needs that you might consider adding to your proposal as part of your outreach and diversity efforts. 


As a faculty member interested in working with undergraduate researchers you may find these resources to be helpful.

The Mentor-Scholar Agreement helps to establish expectations on both sides. We recommend that you meet with your undergraduate scholar on the first day to discuss the proposed project and to set initial expectations for progress.  We also recommend completing an Individual Development Plan (IDP) with the student to guide the training program and also help you to understand the student’s strengths and weaknesses. Examples of IDP templates (which can be discipline specific) are available through many sources online.

Requiring a regular, written Progress Report can help you to keep apprised of the student’s progress, and providing feedback for these reports will help the student to stay on track in meeting expectations.  Regular communication and feedback will help you to make the most of the advisor experience, and the student will be better able to provide tangible results that may benefit your research program.

The “Checklist” is a guiding document that we give to students looking for research positions.  It walks them through progressive steps towards finding a faculty research advisor.  We provide one here for your reference and welcome any feedback if the process for your discipline might differ significantly from what we recommend.

Administrative assistance for grants:

The URC is pleased to offer support for faculty writing grants relating directly to undergraduate research, or for undergraduate research components of larger research grants.  If you are applying for a grant to support undergraduate research such as the Amgen Scholars and Beckman Scholars programs, or are including an undergraduate research component as part of your larger research proposal, the URC staff can provide administrative assistance such as formatting CVs, support of career development activities, etc. 

We can also assist in developing projects for Broader Impacts statements. We are connected to a network of community colleges that would welcome additional opportunities to interact with UC Davis faculty and students, as well as connected to a number of programs on campus for underrepresented or disadvantaged students.  Please contact the Director to discuss your needs. 

Opportunities to fund undergraduate research:

Individual Faculty Grants

Please consider adding requests for funding in your grants to support stipends for undergraduates or cover travel for undergraduates to present their research at conferences. This can be accomplished through REU or undergraduate diversity research supplements for an NSF or NIH research grants, respectively

Please consider adding requests for funding in your grants to support stipends for undergraduates or cover travel for undergraduates to present their research at conferences. This can be accomplished through REU or undergraduate diversity research supplements for an NSF or NIH research grants, respectively

  • NIH Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Admin Supp):
    • As part of this supplement program, undergraduate students with a demonstrated interest in or desire to pursue research training in health-related sciences, may participate in a research project during the summer months and/or the academic year. This experience is separate from any requirement of the regular academic program. The student may be affiliated with either the applicant institution or another academic institution. Any eligible undergraduate student interested in health-related research is encouraged to participate in this program.

  • NSF REU for Faculty:
    • Investigators with an active NSF research award may request an REU Supplement through the Supplemental Funding Request module in FastLane; or investigators preparing a research proposal may include an REU Supplement request as a component of the proposal. Both methods are described in the solicitation. An REU Supplement request is handled by the NSF program officer for the underlying research grant, and investigators should contact that program officer before submitting the request.


The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. This solicitation features two mechanisms for support of student research: (1) REU Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct projects that engage a number of students in research. REU Sites may be based in a single discipline or academic department or may offer interdisciplinary or multi-department research opportunities with a coherent intellectual theme. Proposals with an international dimension are welcome. (2) REU Supplements may be included as a component of proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or cooperative agreements or may be requested for ongoing NSF-funded research projects.

Undergraduate student participants in either REU Sites or REU Supplements must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent residents of the United States.

Students do not apply to NSF to participate in REU activities. Students apply directly to REU Sites or to NSF-funded investigators who receive REU Supplements. To identify appropriate REU Sites, students should consult the directory of active REU Sites on the Web at

HHMI Programs for Universities:

HHMI awards four-year grants to research institutions to support science education at the undergraduate and pre-K to 12th-grade levels. 

Work Study:

Students eligible for work study can be employed as student assistants and are paid at a 75:25 split between work study and the laboratory.  This is an economical method to employ undergraduates to work in your lab.