Skip to main content

Summer Undergraduate Mentored Research Grants – RFP 2024


Summer Undergraduate Mentored
Research Grants
2024 Request for Proposals

Funds to support faculty- and graduate student-mentored
undergraduate research teams

 Application deadline: 5:00 P.M. ET on Friday, December 15, 2023

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 supporting faculty-led summer opportunities for undergraduates conducting sustainability research, structured as a pair of undergraduate researchers mentored by a graduate student and faculty principal investigator. 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 partnering with external organizations that 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

  • $14,000 to support 2 full-time Cornell undergraduate summer researchers (10 weeks @ 35 hours/week)
  • $10,832 to support the summer stipend of a graduate student mentor
  • Up to $2,000 for research-related supplies

Eligibility & Expectations

  • 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 details.
  • Cornell undergraduate participants can be from any college and are eligible to participate any summer prior to graduation (i.e., 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.
  • Research teams will present their work at a Cornell Atkinson undergraduate symposium near the start of the fall semester.
  • Faculty PIs will work with their department administration to recruit, hire, and pay graduate and undergraduate participants.

Award Timeline

  • Oct. 16, 2023: Call for proposals
  • Dec. 15, 2023, 5:00 P.M. ET: Deadline for proposal submission
  • Jan. 31, 2024: Estimated notification date
  • May 21, 2024: 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:
      • Submit the budget using our budget spreadsheet (saved as PI Last Name-First Name.xlsx, e.g. Johnson-Jody.xlsx) and upload via the online application form.

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

  1. Abstract: A 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. Recruitment Plan.  Include a description of plans for recruiting undergraduates, including those from diverse backgrounds and groups historically underrepresented in sustainability research, as well as strategies for forming an inclusive research environment for all personnel.
  4. Undergraduate Mentorship Plan: Include a description of plans for how undergraduates will be meaningfully mentored for collaborative research. Briefly describe the structure, primary responsibilities, meeting frequency, etc.  Sample resources on inclusive mentoring can be found at the Cornell Graduate School’s Faculty Advancing Inclusive Mentoring (FAIM) website (
  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. Note: Typical 10-week summer undergraduate appointments run from the day after Memorial Day through early August, and graduate student summer appointments start May 21.
  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 P.M. ET on Friday, December 15, 2023

Please direct questions to:, subject header: Mentored Research


Sign up for our newsletter: