SIRF Information Sessions & Application Writing Workshops

SIRF Application Writing Workshops

Application writing workshops, jointly sponsored by the University Scholars Program and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, are open to all Northeastern University undergraduates. In order to be eligible to apply for a Scholars Independent Research Fellowship (SIRF), students must attend “Minding the Gap,” “Connecting with Faculty Mentors,” and “From Problem to Proposal.” Students whose SIRF projects will include the use of human subjects or vertebrate animals are also required to attend “Ethical Conduct of Research.” All applicants should also attend a Proposal Review Workshop.


Mind the Gap

This workshop focuses on strategies and resources for turning a nascent interest or idea into a full-fledged research question. Research and creative projects develop in response to a question or problem, whether intellectual or practical, to which you would like to pursue a solution. These questions and problems, in turn, point to gaps in the ongoing intellectual conversation of your discipline—places where you can intervene and make your own contribution to the field. Learn how to situate your idea in the appropriate disciplinary context, review the extant literature to locate a gap, and articulate your question in order to start productive conversations with potential mentors and collaborators.


Connecting with Faculty Mentors

This workshop presents strategies for connecting with faculty members and sustaining the researcher-mentor relationship. Hear advice garnered from successful student researchers and professors about topics including: locating potential mentors; making the initial contact; discussing mentor/mentee expectations and responsibilities; communicating throughout the project; and nurturing the relationship into the future.


The Ethical Conduct of Research: The IRB and IACUC Processes

This workshop discusses university requirements for the protection of human subjects and the use of vertebrate animals in research. Learn what types of projects require prior approval from the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), what additional responsibilities researchers have when their research involves human subjects or vertebrate animals, and what to expect from the IRB and IACUC review processes.


From Problem to Proposal: Elements of Successful Applications

This workshop discusses strategies for turning a compelling research question into a winning research proposal. We begin by discussing the scope and feasibility of undergraduate research projects, then learn how to convince readers of your project’s interest and value by crafting informative, concise, and complete statements of background, methodology, timeline, budget, and plans for sharing results.


Proposal Review Workshops

After reviewing the elements of successful applications, participants in this workshop will work in groups to critique one another’s drafts and offer concrete suggestions for strengthening the proposals. Bring three printed copies of your draft proposal.