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.

For Students beginning thesis Fall 2017- Download BURP Application for Primary Deadline (Due, Friday, Oct 13)

For Students completing thesis Fall 2017 (Spring/Fall Seniors)- Download Application for Secondary Deadline (Due, Friday, Sept 22)

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 2 paper copies (with one 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 5pm the Friday before fall break

  • Secondary Fall/Spring deadline:  by 5pm on the 4th Friday of spring term

  • Spring/Fall primary deadline: by 5pm the Friday before spring break

  • Spring/Fall secondary deadline: by 5pm on the 4th Friday of fall term