Undergraduate Research Grants

The Global Change Center at Virginia Tech, with support from the Fralin Life Sciences Institute, is proud to sponsor undergraduate students and their research projects that align with our mission for advancing collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches to address critical global changes impacting the environment and society.

Projects that address basic and/or applied aspects of global change science, engineering, social science and the humanities are applicable for this funding opportunity, and proposals must include strong endorsement by a GCC-affiliated faculty member.

Award requests can range from $250 – $1,000.

The 2020-21 Application Deadline was December 17, 2020.

Eligibility & Requirements

  • Current Virginia Tech undergraduate students from any department will be considered as long as they are mentored and endorsed by an active GCC faculty member.
  • Because these are E&G funds they must be spent by June, 2021. No exceptions. However, the research project can extend until April 2022, long after the funds have been spent on supplies, etc. See reporting requirement #2 below. Award funds will be transferred to an E&G account in the faculty mentor’s home department. Consult with your home dept. for their specific rules and guidelines for annual budget cycles.
  • Due to the unfortunate circumstances created by the pandemic, this year we will only support projects that can be conducted remotely, individually by the undergraduate, and/or following strict social distancing and face mask protocols.  Proposed research plans must follow up-to-date CDC and University guidelines, which may include policies prohibiting undergraduates from volunteering (i.e., they must be paid or receive academic credit for their research).  Consult www.research.undergraduate.vt.edu/ for the most recent Virginia Tech guidelines.
If you receive a Global Change Center award:
  1. The student must present their research findings as a poster at either the VT Summer Undergraduate Research Virtual Symposium (July 29, 2021) or the Dennis Dean Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Conference (Spring 2021 or 2022),
  2. The GCC faculty mentor must provide follow-up outcomes in their annual reports in future years (e.g., if a manuscript is published or grant proposal submitted based on the work), and
  3. The student and faculty mentor must acknowledge the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and the Fralin Life Sciences Institute for support on your poster (see item #1 above), as well as any other products/presentations benefitting from funding.

Application Procedure

All applications must include the following 4 items in a single pdf file (3 pages total):

Page 1. The undergraduate must complete the Application Form contained in 1 page, with one-inch margins and single-spaced text in fonts no smaller than Arial 11.

Page 2. The undergraduate’s 1 page CV, to include list of any relevant past coursework and research experience (e.g., lab and/or field experiences, presentations).

Page 3. A signed statement of support from GCC faculty mentor(s) on letterhead, not to exceed 1 page. This letter must include:

a) an endorsement of the student’s ability to excel in a research environment,

b) a statement describing the mentorship plan for the student,

c) information describing how the research experience will advance the development of the student and the mission of the GCC, and

d) a brief statement assuring Project Feasibility During the Pandemic. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has affected research operation at Virginia Tech, we ask that the student and faculty member work together to include a brief statement to demonstrate that your project will be feasible this fiscal year if restrictions and logistical constraints caused by COVID-19 remain similar to what we recently faced (i.e., June – Oct 2020). Please consider all aspects of your work, including potential limitations on travel, lab work, and the use of human subjects in research. Please also indicate whether the undergraduate researcher is paid or receiving academic credit for their research.

The single pdf file (which includes the support letter) should be submitted by the faculty mentor by e-mail to Jessica Zielske (jcoker@vt.edu). Label files as STUDENT LAST NAME_GCC-URG2021


Review Criteria for Proposals

Funding decisions will be based on the above criteria as well as:

  • Likelihood that the research experience will advance the student’s development
  • Strength of faculty endorsement
  • Pertinence of basic or applied research topic to the GCC
  • Benefit of the activity to facilitating collaboration among multiple GCC labgroups or other aspects of the GCC’s mission
  • Positive track record of engagement by the faculty mentor in IGC/GCC activities

Please direct any further questions regarding eligibility or expectations to Dr. William Hopkins (hopkinsw@vt.edu).