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Undergraduate Research Program
Additional Material Requirements

Dear Student:

Below is a proposal form that you should follow when you submit your Undergraduate Research Award Proposal to us.
There are two approaches to designing your project:

  1. You can submit a research idea of your own design and write the proposal yourself. If this is your choice, we recommend you talk with a professor, engineer, scientist or other technical person who is knowledgeable in the topic you want to research and ask them to act as an advisor to you in the proposal development process. They can provide suggestions and review your proposal, but you should develop the idea and write the proposal yourself. Because the project is your idea, this approach will receive added value in the review process, so make sure you identify how this research plan is different from a project your advisor may be conducting.
  2. If your proposal is to work for someone on their project, you should discuss project goals with that person, but still write the proposal yourself. In either case your advisor can help you with the proposal, but you should be doing the proposal writing. You should show these guidelines to your advisor so they understand what we are requiring. We will contact the advisor during the review process to verify this requirement.
As you prepare to develop your research idea on paper, here are a few suggestions. A very smart person once said, “A good proposal simply answers the questions Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.” That is:
Who is going to do it (is anybody going to help you);
What are you going to do (discuss the methods used in your project);
Where are you going to do it;
When are you going to do it (start and end dates, and important milestones);
Why do you want to do it (very important, this is a broad, scientific why, not “to give me a job next summer”); and
How are you going to accomplish this research (what tools, materials, supplies, etc. are needed to reach your proposal goals), and how much is it going to cost?

To help you answer these questions all you need to do is follow the proposal form provided below. If you have any problems, call the WSGC Office of Research Infrastructure at (608) 263-4206. Good luck.

Gubbi R. Sudhakaran
Associate Director for Research Infrastructure

The proposal should be broken down into the following categories and labeled clearly. It should not exceed 10 pages. Include any figures, drawings, or tables that you feel will support your proposal (they are not included in the 10 page limit).

1. Introduction/Summary:
Summarize your project in one page or less. It is best to begin your proposal by writing the Introduction; this gives you a good feeling for the size and scope of the project. Finally, when you are done writing the other sections, return and rewrite this section to accurately summarize your proposed study.

2. Background:
In a few paragraphs, summarize what you know about current and previous research on the topic you want to study (including work being done on this topic where you go to school). Provide references of work you are familiar with or that might be helpful to you in your work.

3. Proposed Activities:
This is the most important section of the proposal, where you answer the “how” and the “why” described above. You should outline in some detail (1) what topic you want to study, (2) why you feel this is a good (important) topic to study, (3) how you will go about doing your research (methods, techniques, etc.), and how it aligns, at least in a broad sense, with NASA Directorate and Center goals, (4) what you expect your results to be, and how your results/products might be used. Try to be complete; an outline of each step in your research program is a good way to start this section; then just fill in the words to describe each step. (This step may take several pages)

4. Resource Requirements:
Explain how you will use any materials, equipment, laboratory time, etc. in your research work. As you write your budget a bit later, it is important to note that the WSGC is reluctant to fund the purchase or rental of high-cost materials, equipment or facilities. Our NASA Space Grant Charter requires that in the interest of cooperative support for student educational opportunity, your college or university provide facilities and materials. By asking your school to share these costs, we can make our funds available to more students. You should make this clear to the department you are working with and obtain approval from your department advisor and/or chairperson. Call the WSGC Research Office if you would like us to help you in this matter; we are very willing to discuss this issue with your department.

5. Time Line:
All you need here is a series of dates: when you will start the project, when you will finish the project and any dates in between when specific/important steps of the work will be started or completed. We ask you to do this mainly to help your planning. You will be asked to present a discussion of your research at the WSGC Annual Wisconsin Space Conference following the completion of your research. You will be expected to complete your research and submit a Final Report by the end of the time agreed upon.

6. Budget:
You may want to work with your department advisor to help you with the budget. You can also call the WSGC Research Office for advice. WSGC will provide funds for tuition, labor and for your travel if it is considered important to your work or beneficial to your research experience.
Labor is meant for you, not for persons who are already salaried. We request that you break down your labor hours by topic (if appropriate), so that we (and you) have a better understanding of the procedures in your study. Please make your labor rate consistent with skilled student hourly workers on your campus. Please be aware that you will need to pay taxes on any labor expenses you incur.
We will also provide travel funds for you to (a) meet and work with your research mentor, (b) for other work-related travel (conference, field experiment, NASA Center), and (c) to the WSGC Annual Space Conference. You should explain (justify) in Section 3 (Proposed Activities) why any work-related travel (b) would be beneficial for your study. Finally, as stated above, WSGC is reluctant to fund the purchase or rental of high-cost materials, equipment or facilities. If you have any questions on any part of this proposal, call the WSGC Office of Research Infrastructure and we will help you. If you request any support beyond tuition, labor, and travel, you need to provide a strong justification for it. Finally, note that if you apply to another WSGC undergraduate program (e.g. Undergraduate Scholarship Program) and are accepted for awards, the total amount of your award will not exceed $3,500. Please use the following format for your budget:

Topic                                      Hours                                    Rate                                                       Labor Cost 


Destination                           Mode of Travel                    Duration                                                Travel Cost
1 WSGC Conference                                                            1-2 days

Other Costs (identify)                                                                                                                        Other Costs


Total cost of this proposal                                                               $_________________

End of Proposal Requirements

Additional Materials:
  1. High School Transcript (Incoming Freshman and Sophomores only)
  2. College Transcript (unofficial is acceptable)
  3. References: Two (2) letters of recommendation:
    1. One from your local research advisor.
    2. One from another faculty member or teacher, employer, or aerospace professional of your choice.
  4. Certification Page: Download, Sign, and Scan this page for upload.

Contact Information:
Gubbi R. Sudhakaran, Associate Director for Research Infrastructure
Tel: (608)785-8431; Fax: (608)785-8403

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