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Summer Mentored Research Grants – RFP 2023


Summer Mentored Research Grants
2023 Request for Proposals

Funds to support faculty-mentored
undergraduate sustainability research

 Application deadline: Wednesday, February 1, 5:00 PM ET

Undergraduates interested in sustainability benefit from immersive research experiences that deepen their understanding of the role of research in advancing solutions to pressing sustainability challenges. Correspondingly, the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability is piloting an initiative to support faculty-led undergraduate summer opportunities in sustainability research, structured as a pair of undergraduate researchers mentored by a faculty principal investigator and a graduate student (PDF version). By offering this tiered mentorship structure, proposed projects are intended to prepare undergraduates to conduct independent research in a collaborative environment.

Diversity, inclusion, and environmental justice are critical to sustainability, and at Cornell Atkinson we strongly encourage and seek to support proposals that demonstrate a commitment to these values. This contribution may be through the inclusion of social issues in the research agenda, including equity, race, gender, ethnicity, or economic conditions. It may also be through a diverse research team and/or partnering with external organizations which bring diverse voices and perspectives to the project and/or prioritize underserved, underrepresented, or historically excluded groups or communities.

Proposed projects can align with any of Cornell Atkinson’s four priority areas: Advancing One Health, Reducing Climate Risk, Accelerating Energy Transitions, and Increasing Food Security. We particularly encourage projects that expose undergraduates to the pathway from research to impact.


Award Information

  • $12,000 to support two (2) full-time Cornell undergraduate summer researchers for ten (10) weeks @ 35 hours/week
  • $10,209 to support the summer stipend of a graduate student mentor
  • Up to $2,000 per undergraduate for research-related supplies



  • Any professorial faculty and non-visiting RTE (Research, Teaching, Extension) faculty with a primary appointment at Cornell University, in any college, may apply.
    See Cornell PI eligibility guidelines for more detail.
  • Recruited Cornell undergraduates can be from any college and are eligible to participate any summer prior to graduation.
    (e.g., have at least one semester of expected enrollment following their summer research).
  • In the proposal, a graduate student mentor should be identified as a collaborator to work closely with the faculty PI and provide day-to-day interaction with undergraduates.
  • The faculty PI and the supported graduate student are expected to be on location with the undergraduates during most of the summer of the award.

Award Timeline

  • Dec. 9, 2022: Call for proposals
  • Feb. 1, 2023, 5:00 P.M. ET: Deadline for proposal submission
  • Mar. 1, 2023: Estimated notification date
  • May 21, 2023: Earliest project start date


How to Apply

The application is brief and consists of 3 sections:

  • Online application form:
    • The form requests basic contact information, project title, etc.
  • Application text:
    • Upload a single PDF document (saved as PI Last Name-First Name.pdf, e.g. Johnson-Jody.pdf) and upload via the online application form. Your application text must include the sections described below.
  • Project budget:

Application text sections:  three (3) pages total, inclusive of sections 1-7

  1. A one (1) paragraph summary of the proposed research and mentorship plan
  2. Description of Proposed Project: Please provide a brief description of the undergraduate student project(s) and their alignment with Cornell Atkinson priority area(s).
  3. Undergraduate Mentorship: How will undergraduate research be meaningfully mentored within a collaborative research environment? Briefly describe the structure, primary responsibilities, meeting frequency, etc.
  4. Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion: If applicable, describe how this project will support Cornell Atkinson’s strategic goal of preparing a diverse cohort of next-generation scholars.
  5. External Partners: Although not necessary, will your project include any external organizations or individuals as partners? If so, please briefly describe their role.
  6. Timeline: Provide the ideal start and end dates of the project, including key activity milestones.
  7. Budget Justification: Describe costs directly related to the project, including travel, materials, and supplies. On the budget template, please enter budget requests only in those rows left open, and please leave blank the row near the end for Indirect Costs; these will be calculated by Cornell Atkinson when necessary.


All proposal materials MUST be received by 5:00 PM ET on Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Please direct questions to:, subject header: Mentored Research


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