Submit a Strong Proposal

PinS and Summer Research Grant Requirements

All PinS and Summer Research Grant applicants ARE REQUIRED to review the webinar recording from The Writing Center prior to submitting a proposal. The updated recording link can be found on the Writing Center's Portfolio site where you can also find helpful resources for writing your proposal.


Grant Application Instructions

  • Summer Research Grants & Partners in Scholarship

    A complete PinS or Summer Research Grant application consists of:

    • Watching the "How to Write a Proposal" workshop video and utilizing the materials for writing a successful proposal on the Writing Center's website.
    • The online application. APPLY HERE.
    • The project proposal should be a maximum of 2 pages, SINGLE-SPACED. You should also include a 3rd page that lists citations, a timeline, and a detailed budget justification (uploaded at the end of the online application). We encourage you to use the URC Proposal Evaluation Rubric to guide your proposal structure. 
    • Unofficial transcripts (we will gather this for you).
    • Faculty partner endorsement form (this will be automatically forwarded to your faculty partner after you submit your application and faculty will need to complete their endorsement by the Monday after the deadline)

    The proposal review committee is comprised of faculty from a diverse set of academic departments on campus. Thus your proposal should be written for an intelligent but non-specialist audience. You may have readers from history, biology, art, etc. who all need to be able to understand and evaluate your proposal. Good writing matters. Your proposal will be evaluated for its writing presentation. The project proposal should address the following:

    • Define the research problem or a creative endeavor. How does it fill a gap in existing knowledge or the extant body of creative works, and why is it important to fill that gap? Be sure to cite the most important sources that your project builds upon. What is the question you hope to answer? Why are you undertaking the project?
    • Describe the research method and research design. Explain how you will collect data or recruit participants. For visual or performing arts, explain how the proposed project is not simply an effort to refine one's own skills or abilities but connects to broader questions within your discipline.
    • How does the project relate to your goals? What background do you have that prepares you for this project?
    • Convince the committee that the project is feasible. Why is it likely to succeed?
    • What will be the final product(s) of the project?

    Be sure to address why this research is needed. If you are collecting new data, justify why you cannot work with existing data. If you are requesting funds for travel, why is it necessary for you to go to the destination? If conducting interviews, why are in-person interviews preferable to email or Skype?

  • Student Scholar Travel Fund

    The SSTF application is online. APPLY HERE.

    Applications are accepted at any time during the academic school year. The committee reviews applications on a monthly basis. Be prepared to provide the following information:

    • Your general student information
    • Event information (dates, location, name of conference or meeting)
    • Project title
    • Project abstract/summary
    • Itemized budget and budget description


Human and Animal Research

  • Does your proposed project involve human subjects?

    If your project involves human subjects (this includes surveys, interviews, observation of public behavior, etc.) you must complete and submit an application to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects form. Complete the IRB form in consultation with your faculty partner and submit it to the IRB. IRB approval can take time. If you receive URC funding, it will be contingent upon IRB approval.

  • Does your proposal involve animals?

    If you are working with animals, you must receive IACUC approval. If you receive URC funding, it will be contingent on IACUC approval.


International Research

For all international PinS grant requests, all applicants must check if their proposed destination(s) is considered to be an elevated-risk destination by International Travel Health and Safety (ITHS) prior to submitting an application. Applicants can do so by reviewing the information on this site to determine if your destination(s) is on the elevated-risk list. If your destination(s) is not found on the list of elevated-risk destinations, proceed with the PinS application process.

If your destination(s) is on the list, please seek approval for travel to this destination by registering your travel at>>International Travel Registry and completing all the information requested about your planned travel. Someone from the ITHS team will be in contact after review of your information and within two weeks. If you have any concerns or questions relating to the health, safety, and security of your proposed destination(s), please contact  to discuss any issues.

Resources for Building a Proposal

Faculty Committee

Here you'll find a list of everyone on the applications committee. These individuals from different DU departments decide if your proposal will receive funding from DU.

View the Committee

Writing Center

The writing center can help you hone the language in your proposal. Don't hesitate to reach out for assistance.

Check out the Writing Center


Here are the criteria on which your funding proposal will be evaluated. The committee also take into account factors like your GPA to determine if an additional project is in your best interest.

Review the Rubric


  • What does the committee look for in an application?

    The committee looks for a well-written and thorough research or creative project. For research projects, they want to understand what your research question is, what data you are collecting, how you are collecting it, and if it is realistic to the timeline you submitted. For creative projects, you should make the case that you are contributing to the field by doing something new and important. Talk with your faculty partner about your project to make sure it’s feasible. Include a reference list or citation list of academic literature to make your case.

    Address the following questions while crafting your application: 

    • Is the data you are collecting a new venture or could you use existing information?
    • If you are requesting funds for travel, why is it necessary for you to go to the destination?
    • If you plan on conducting interviews, what are your questions, how are you going to find individuals to participate, and what would you do if you could not find enough participants?
    • Is your question focused enough to explore in the timeline you submitted?
    • What will you do with the data and findings?
  • Is there a minimum GPA for applications?

    No, but the committee does take GPA into consideration. If your grades are a concern the committee will check your transcript for patterns. If one less-than-successful quarter has brought down your GPA, but it has been climbing since, that will be taken into consideration. If you were struggling in one major, but now you switched and you have been doing much better, that will be taken into consideration. If the committee feels like your current grade trend is a concern, they may feel that adding in an outside project is not in your best interest and may not approve your project.

  • What is IACUC approval?

    If you are using animals in your research, you must get approval from the DU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The IACUC is composed of four faculty members, a veterinarian, and two individuals selected to represent the local community. The primary responsibility of the IACUC is to review all research protocols involving the use of live, vertebrate animals and to ensure that all personnel directly involved in animal research have received proper training in the use of laboratory animals.

    "Animal" is defined as "any live, vertebrate animal used or intended for use in research, research training, teaching, experimentation or biological testing or for related purposes." See the Animal Care & Use Program for more information, or contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP): 

    If your project requires IRB or IACUC approval, funds will not be released until approval notice is forwarded to URC staff,

  • What is IRB approval?

    If you are collecting data from people, you probably need approval from the Institutional Review Board on campus. This includes interviewing people. Your faculty partner should assist you in this process, not the URC. IRB applications are reviewed on a monthly basis so you should send your application through the IRB office as early as possible. Your grant can be approved by the URC office, but funds will be withheld until you receive approval from the IRB office.

    When you receive your IRB approval, forward your approval documentation, including your assigned IRB number, to the URC office.

    See the Institutional Review Board (IRB) page, or contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP):

    If your project requires IRB or IACUC approval, funds will not be released until approval notice is forwarded to URC staff,

Proprietary Details

If you are pursuing proprietary work, all questions about permitted disclosures should be directed to the Dean or Chair of the appropriate Division or Department or to the University's legal counsel.