Step 1: Identify the type of application you would like to submit.
Scholars can apply as either an individual or a group for a SIRF.
Individual: The Scholar proposes a project that he or she will carry out individually.
Group: Up to three students may apply as a group. These students collaborate on the letter of intent and the SIRF Application, submitting a single letter and a single application on behalf of the group. The group must appoint a leader. Group leaders ensure that all group members complete their portions of the application and fulfill the expectations of the SIRF award, if granted. All members must be University Scholars.
Step 2: Find an appropriate faculty advisor.
SIRF projects must be carried out under the supervision of a full-time member of the Northeastern University faculty. Applicants are therefore encouraged promptly to identify a suitable and willing advisor and discuss with her initial ideas. SIRF advisors are expected to:
- Help you narrow or expand the scope of the project as appropriate
- Assist you in securing IRB/IACUC approval for projects involving human subjects or vertebrate animals. Applicants must receive an IRB exemption note (if you think you need IRB, write to inquire about this with the office and include correspondence with proposal) or IRB/IACUC approvals for research BEFORE conducting the research.
- Write a letter of recommendation in support of your final SIRF proposal
- Provide feedback as you make progress toward completion of your project
- Review your final project and approve a final short report on your project
When soliciting faculty support, please share with your potential advisor this document describing the SIRF award. Also, remember that mentoring is a relationship and a process that progresses and unfolds over time, not just in a single transaction. Rather than asking a professor to advise a research or creative project as soon as you meet him or her -- or marching into office hours or sending an email immediately asking, “Will you be my mentor?” -- approach a potential mentor with the goal of getting to know him or her. Seek advice and feedback, and always thank faculty for their time.
Step 3: Submit a Letter of Intent and attend an Information Session/Application Writing workshop.
SIRF applicants should submit a Letter of Intent not exceeding 500 words, which will provide the basis for your final proposal. Groups should submit a single letter of intent on behalf of the entire group. Letters of intent are due by January 27. The letter should do the following:
- Formulate the research question or a description of what you intend to create, invent or discover
- Briefly discuss the potential significance of the project, both for your own personal development and your field of specialization
- Indicate whether the project requires or is likely to require IRB and/or IACUC approval
- Indicate whether the project involves international travel, and, if so, whether you will need permission to travel to a country the university considers high-risk
- Outline any prior/preliminary work accomplished and/or relevant experience that might be relevant to your proposed project
- Indicate the name of your faculty advisor and the preliminary work you have done with him or her
Scholars should register to attend the Information Sessions and Application Writing Workshops that are held in advance of the deadline.
Step 4: Draft, revise, and submit your application.
Final applications are due on February 24 through our online application. A complete SIRF application will include the following:
- An application form, including budget
- The SIRF Project Proposal
- A current transcript
- A current resume
- A confirmation of IRB/IACUC approval
- A letter of support from your faculty advisor. Upon submitting your application, the faculty member will receive a note to submit their letter of support. Be sure to upload your application with plenty of time for the faculty member to submit their letter.
For more information on each of these application elements, see "The Online Application."