Collaborating with Undergraduate Researchers at the U

Dear Colleagues,

The Office of Undergraduate Research and the Office of the Vice President for Research are committed to fostering and supporting faculty success in research through collaborations with undergraduate researchers.

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) provides resources and support for University of Utah’s researchers to foster an environment of creativity, discovery, and advanced knowledge.

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) resides in the Office of Undergraduate Studies. The mission of the University of Utah Office of Undergraduate Research is to facilitate and promote undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and creative works in all disciplines throughout the University of Utah campus. In recognition that excellence requires diversity, OUR pursues this mission through equitable programming that promotes diverse representation and social justice. OUR is well recognized for programming including Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR), the Undergraduate Research Scholar Designation (URSD), Undergraduate Research Symposia (URS Spring, Summer, and Fall), the annual Undergraduate Research Journal, and the Undergraduate Research Education Series, among other exciting opportunities.

The VPR Office and OUR have a longstanding history of collaboration to fulfill the university’s mission to foster student success by preparing students from diverse backgrounds for lives of impact as leaders and citizens through research.

To better serve researchers, faculty and student alike, and effectively collaborate with staff, we offer the following recommendations:

  • Undergraduate researchers can be vital collaborators, contributors on a research team, and are the next generation of future researchers. We encourage researchers with grants or foundation funds budget to incorporate compensating undergraduate researchers as part of their team. Undergraduate researchers can play a significant role in assisting a research project and supporting and undergraduate researcher fosters the mentoring environment the University of Utah is committed to. For National Science Foundation grantees, it is encouraged the Principal Investigator(s) consider making their project a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site. Consult with your college Associate Dean of Research, Dean, or Office of Sponsored Projects.
  • Undergraduate researchers can be onboarded in a myriad of ways, here are two options for paid undergraduate researchers:
    • Hire undergraduate researchers as part-time temporary employees through Human Resources. Students are able to then be paid through payroll where they receive direct payments via direct deposit or a check sent to their address. Additionally, if hiring a non-University of Utah researcher, this allows HR to offer a UNID to the undergraduate researcher which provides access to UTA, the library, student life center, and RedMed. Consult your college human resources analyst if you have questions, or contact Human Resources to learn more about department/college contacts.
    • Some NSF grantees are considered an NSF Research Traineeship Program. If this applies to you, then we encourage you to onboard your undergraduate researcher as a trainee. If this is the case, please consult with Financial and Business Services. If onboarding a non-University of Utah researcher, consult FBS in advance of onboarding the student to find out if your researcher will have taxes deducted or be eligible for an affiliate UNID.
    • Encourage your researcher to take advantage of programming and resources with OUR. OUR offers the following:
      • Coordinates and brings together partners across campus working with undergraduate researchers through the Summer Programs Partnership.
      • Provides other financial opportunities including Travel & Small Grants of up to $500; Undergraduate Research Opportunity Scholars Program (UROP); and we provide scholarships.
      • Student researchers may be eligible for an Undergraduate Research Scholar Designation that shows up on their transcripts and includes a cord at graduation.
      • Have your undergraduate researcher share the amazing research that also fosters professional development by presenting at the Undergraduate Research Symposium.
      • Educational programming is vital for ongoing learning for undergraduate researchers across campus, check out the OUR Undergraduate Research Education Series.
      • Information sharing is vital to research – OUR has a wide-network of social, email communities, and opportunities that we are more than happy to promote opportunities to OUR community.
      • OUR provides advising to any undergraduate researcher at the University of Utah. We see our role as supporting researchers at any stage of their research journey and are here to support faculty working with undergraduate mentees.

The OUR and VPR Office are here to support all faculty and student research collaborations at the University of Utah. We are committed to research innovation and collaboration, and invite folks to consult with our offices.

Annie Isabel Fukushima, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies & Director, Office of Undergraduate Research

Jim Agutter, Senior Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies

Erin Rothwell, Interim Vice President for Research

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