1. Address the level of independent work
Ideally, applicants will propose projects which are wholly or substantially of their own design. However, it is recognized that in certain fields or at certain levels of complexity, it is unrealistic to expect an undergraduate to conceive of or field a completely independent project. It is also recognized that students benefit in being part of a sponsoring professor's on-going project. Even in cases where the student's project is a part of a larger study, it is important to specify the student's independent role and responsibilities.
2. Group project - no. Separate, but linked projects - yes.
PUF awards are to individuals and not groups. Hence, only group projects where each applicant plays a separate role are acceptable. For example, several students may propose the presentation of individual musical works which, if considered together, would be a complementary music series. Each proposal, though linked, must be sufficiently independent to be selected on its own merit. If one of the applicants is not awarded a grant, the remaining projects must be able to go forward.
3. Proposals should be written for the educated layperson
Since applications will be evaluated by faculty members from a variety of disciplines, the proposal should be written at a level understandable to reviewers outside the student's specialty. If committee members cannot understand the project, they cannot judge it, and therefore cannot score it favorably.
4. Broad justification for project
The applicant should convey the importance of the project in broad terms. Why is the area of study important beyond the particular project? Applicants often describe the project but fail to put it in context. For example, a description of a study of basking turtles in Putah Creek immediately seems more significant when we are told that it is important for conservation purposes, in order to investigate why a native species is being displaced by an introduced species.
5. Animal experimentation
If a study involves live animals or animal tissue from live or dead animals, the review committee would like to see evidence that the student has reflected on the justification for animal experimentation. Could the problem be investigated using different methods? If not, why not?
6. Survey research
If the proposal includes surveys or interviews, include a draft survey instrument or draft interview protocol
7. Administrative approvals
The applicant must demonstrate that he/she is aware that approval from appropriate sources is needed in research involving the use of human subjects, vertebrate animals, radioactivity, toxic chemicals, etc. The sponsoring professor is responsible for the student obtaining the necessary approval before the onset of the project.
Applicants proposing projects which involve travel, especially Education Abroad program students, should indicate how they will ensure appropriate communication with their UC Davis faculty sponsor.
The committee expects an itemized and well documented budget. Budgets should specify actual costs and identify suppliers and sources when applicable. Items typically given high priority for funding are expendable supplies, inexpensive pieces of equipment, and travel necessary for research. Items typically given low priority are living expenses, expensive single items of equipment, publication costs, and travel to conferences.