Thesis Research Support

The Biology Department has available a number of sources of financial support for thesis research. While modest projects are sometimes supported from regular Department funds, many of our Seniors find support for their expenses from research grants to their faculty thesis advisor or from institutional grants from foundations like HHMI and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. Research funds from institutional grants are awarded on a competitive basis to seniors who prepare a written proposal in support of their request. These foundation grants have provided critical support, allowing Reed seniors to develop research projects that are more ambitious and sophisticated than might otherwise be possible. In addition to developing critical research skills, the seniors learn the important process of supporting their research through the development of written research proposals.

Applying for Thesis Funds: Biology Undergraduate Research Proposals (BURPs)

As you progress in designing your senior thesis projects, keep in mind that proposals can be submitted for thesis research expenses in order to pursue project goals that might otherwise be precluded by inadequate funds. With your thesis advisor, first discuss the materials needed for your thesis project.  Then consult with the stockroom and other faculty about materials (supplies and/or equipment) that may already be available in the department.  If you determine that you need additional materials that cost $500 or more you should consider writing a Biology Undergraduate Research Proposal (BURP). You must discuss your proposal with your research advisor, who is expected to make comments on both the science and the writing, but the proposal must be your own effort and in your own words.

BURP Application Timeline:

  1. Submit a draft of your proposal to your advisor at least one week in advance of the deadline in order to obtain the first required advisor signature on the coversheet.

  2. Submit 1 paper copy (with a cover sheet) and an electronic copy of the proposal to the BURP Administrator by the deadline (see below).  Important: your final submission requires that the cover sheet be signed by your advisor again.

  3. Proposals will be read and evaluated by faculty members (other than your advisor) to provide feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal.  Your cover sheet must include the names of two suggested reviewers (other than your thesis advisor).

  4. You will be notified about whether your proposal will be funded or you may be asked to make changes and resubmit your proposal.

BURP Application Deadlines: (Note: Early submissions are encouraged.)

  • Primary Fall/Spring deadline: by noon on the 6th Wednesday of fall term
    Note: Extended to noon on the 7th Wednesday of fall term for fall 2020

  • Secondary Fall/Spring deadline:  by noon on the 4th Wednesday of spring term

  • Spring/Fall primary deadline: by noon on the 6th Wednesday of spring term

  • Spring/Fall secondary deadline: by noon on the 4th Wednesday of fall term
    Note: Extended to noon on the 5th Wednesday of fall term for fall 2020