The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Initiative Grants in Undergraduate Research

Managed by the Undergraduate Research Committee

Proposal Overview

The purpose of this program is to enhance thesis research opportunities for students by providing modest support for research expenses. A carefully prepared and realistically budgeted proposal is required.

Proposal Details

The application must be accompanied by a detailed proposal of the project. Narratives longer than five pages will be returned unread for editing.

  • Eligible expenses might include, but are not limited to, travel to field sites or performances, the purchase of equipment and supplies (which then become the property of Reed College), duplicating costs (an example might be large numbers of copies of a questionnaire) or audio/visual costs not provided by other Reed facilities.
  • Requests for computing equipment and software MUST include a review by Information Technology to ensure the materials are appropriate for the project and are not already available. 
  • Requests for any equipment MUST include information on longevity. Will the equipment be used for one semester or could it be utilized for many years?
  • Expenses that are NOT eligible include thesis duplicating, student wages (except when a student is providing a skilled service not otherwise available), or faculty stipends.
  • Projects that require knowledge of a foreign language must be supported by a description of the applicant’s training and competence.
  • The Institutional Review Board must approve of any project involving the use of human subjects. An initiative award will not be administered without this approval. If your project will require IRB approval, you MUST submit your application to the IRB before applying to the Initiative grant. 
  • This program is not related to financial aid. Applications are evaluated strictly on the basis of the strength of the proposal as research.
  • Every proposal requires a budget. Each budget item, other than routine disposables, should be carefully justified. It is expected that requests for support have been made to the pertinent department. Include any funds received from other sources in the overall budget detail. Please make sure your math is correct. 

A final report about the thesis research experience must be submitted electronically to Meg Andrews, administrator of the Undergraduate Research Committee (URC) at, no later than the end of the academic year.


  • Enrolled and in good academic standing at Reed College.
  • Enrolled in Thesis 470
  • For reasons of equity, grants for groundwork on an anticipated thesis project or grants to enhance a thesis after graduation are not normally considered.
  • Student wages are eligible only in specially justified circumstances.
  • In service of equity, S/F thesis research should not span more than four weeks in the summer.

Note: Support is currently not available to fund unpaid summer internships or summer living expenses.


There are four deadlines for consideration.

  • Wednesday, September 6, 2023 at 12:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 27, 2023 at 12:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 8, 2023 at 12:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at 12:00 p.m.
    • This deadline is mainly for Spring/Fall students.

Applications received after a specified deadline will not be considered until the next deadline.


Awards are limited to a total of $2,500. List and justify as needed all expenses in your budget, including those that will be covered by departmental, or other, resources. Applicants must address all aspects of the application.


Applicants must address all aspects of the application. Bundle items 1-4 (in that order) into one document in PDF format before uploading. A complete application will consist of:

  1. Application and Budget Form (PDF fillable form). Please make sure your math is correct.  Students traveling to work on projects off campus may request 55 dollars per night of travel for food/ground transport.

  2. Single spaced, narrative description of the proposal. A proposal length of 800-1200 words is strongly encouraged; put the word count total on your proposal. Proposal should not exceed five pages. This comprehensive description should contain:
    • Background and rationale including citations
    • Overall project design
    • Methodology of research
    • Anticipated outcomes
    • Previous work completed to ensure research will be successful. For example, contacting institutions where research will be conducted.
    • The rigor of a professional grant application.
    • The URC would like to be able to use successful proposals as examples for future applicants to use. Names will be redacted from proposals before use. If you are comfortable with this possibility, then please include this statement at the bottom of your proposal:
      • I give permission to have my proposal used as an example to help future fellowship applicants.
  3. Resume - Please include a 1-2 page (maximum) resume.
    • The URC asks for resumes to help learn more about each applicant, and to encourage students to develop their application materials. The URC does not make evaluative decisions based on the content of the resume.
  4. Pertinent ancillary documents in support of the proposed activity, if applicable.

  5. Evaluative letter from a Reed faculty sponsor that addresses the specificity of the project (download guidelines). This letter should be sent directly to Meg Andrews ( Please make sure you contact your letter writer with adequate advance of the deadline.

Application Procedure

The bundled PDF application package will be submitted in Handshake. The faculty sponsor must also review the entire grant application and provide an evaluative letter of support, which they will email directly to Meg Andrews, URC Administrator, at

Apply in Handshake

After the Undergraduate Research Committee has made award decisions, applicants will be notified by email. Please note: if your project happens before the grant deadline you are applying to, if funded, the grant award can be used to retroactively reimburse your expenses. There is no guarantee an applicant will receive a grant.

Available Guidance

Review the best practices for applying to any URC grant. For questions about the application process, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Meg Andrews ( Members of the Undergraduate Research Committee offer office hours to answer proposal development questions. The CLBR advising team can also help you with your application and offers drop-in advising as well as 1:1 appointments. Please see for drop-in hours and for how to make an appointment. We encourage you to take advantage of this.


The Undergraduate Research Committee seeks to offer students opportunities to support their studies and interests in the form of grants and awards. The URC views the opportunity to apply for grants and awards as a pedagogical one in which students have the chance to learn about how the application process works. The URC grants and awards are open to all students regardless of discipline. The URC is aware of systemic bias in the application process, and seeks in particular to support students from historically underrepresented communities in academia, and we take into consideration bias, oppression, and opportunity as we evaluate applications.


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