Apply for funding to broaden your research experience.

Illinois students are conducting cutting edge research on campus, but funding is sometimes lacking. The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) at the University of Illinois offers the following funding opportunities. You can also talk to your college, department or faculty mentor about other possible sources to support your undergraduate research project. Available funding opportunities include:

  • Conference Travel Grant
  • Research Support Grant
  • * Please note, the Research Support Grant (RSG) replaces the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship-Abroad (SURF-A), and Research Travel Grant

Non-OUR Funding Opportunities:

Conference Travel Grant

OUR runs several conference travel competitions every academic year to subsidize the presentation of undergraduate research at professional conferences. New competitions will be announced on our blog page, and applications may be made at the link below. To apply, students will need to provide conference dates and location, evidence that conference participation has been confirmed, estimated expenses, and possible support from mentors and departments.

Competition details and eligibility requirements can be found at:

Please note that the conference travel grants are designed for students to present their research during year-round. Conference travel grants are not designed to cover the entire cost of student participation (some departmental or college contribution is encouraged). Questions should be directed to

Research Support Grant

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) announces its new Research Support Grant (RSG), which replaces the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship-Abroad (SURF-A), and Research Travel Grant. The goals for this new grant are to provide students from all disciplines with the funds necessary to conduct research or creative projects during the academic year both on and off campus (including summer terms). Awards will be up to $2,000 and are meant to cover research travel costs, living expenses incurred during academic breaks (i.e., winter break and summer terms, NOT regular semester living expenses), and materials or other ancillary costs. PLEASE NOTE: This grant is for the support of research; grants for conference travel are a separate competition and may be found at: Conference Travel Grant. There will be two application cycles every academic year – one at the beginning of the Fall semester, and one at the beginning of the Spring semester. To qualify for the RSG, you must meet the eligibility requirements described below and submit a completed proposal by the application deadline.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Students must be current UIUC undergraduate students and be in good academic standing.
  • Applicants must have faculty support or mentoring for the duration of their proposed research.
  • Funding is provided for students pursuing their own research projects or working on a faculty-led project.

Additional Requirements:

  • A letter of support must be provided by a faculty member. For students doing an independent research project, the letter should come from a faculty mentor familiar with the student’s research plans. For students doing research as part of a larger faculty-led project, a letter of support must come from a faculty member directly involved in the project who will supervise the student.
  • The application must include a project proposal (3-5 pages) that describes the research, and includes the following:
    1. A clear statement of the work to be undertaken and project objectives, including an itemization (plan of work) of how the student will spend their time on the proposed project. Students should be able to elaborate what they want to do, how they plan to do it, and why they want to do it (importance to your field/discipline; importance to your professional development and goals, etc.).
    2. A detailed budget. Budget costs should be reasonable and credible; if funds for materials or equipment are requested, for instance, students should be able to justify the expense (i.e., not already available on campus, etc.). When exact monetary figures cannot be provided, applicant may use reasonable estimates as long as these estimates are justified in the text. The Research Support Grant can provide funding for living expenses only if the proposed work will be conducted over winter or summer breaks. We also do not pay ‘per diem’ per se, but rather students should estimate weekly food costs, for instance, based upon their experience.
    3. All pages of the proposal document must include page numbers and the last name of the applicant/s should appear in the page header. The document must be uploaded as a .PDF (i.e. not .doc, .docx, .pages).
  • If students use their own research as the basis of a presentation at a conference or campus event, there must be an acknowledgement of the Office of Undergraduate Research for its support on the poster or in the paper.

Funding Restrictions:

  • Funds used to conduct student research must meet all UI employment and safety standards, including Institutional Review Board approvals, if applicable.
  • Funds may not be used to cover tuition.
  • Applications made during the Fall semester may be used for the full academic year in which applying (including summer term immediately following). Spring applications may be used for the Spring semester in which application is made, as well as summer term immediately following.


Image of Research Competition

The Image of Research is a multidisciplinary competition celebrating the diversity and breadth of undergraduate student research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All undergraduate students are invited to submit entries consisting of an image and brief text that articulates how the image relates to the research.

Entries will be judged by a multidisciplinary panel for:

  • Connection between image narrative and research
  • Originality
  • Visual impact

For more information, please visit Image of Research - UR Edition.
To view all of the entries and winners, check out the Image of Research Omeka collection.

Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program

Established on the campus in 1990, the Illinois TRiO Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Scholars Program) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The program provides research, mentoring, advising, and graduate school preparation opportunities for eligible sophomores, juniors and seniors from underrepresented populations to promote their academic excellence and pursuit of a PhD.

Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP)

This program brings talented undergraduate students from across the US and its territories, such as Puerto Rico, to Illinois as an introduction to graduate study, research, and the admission process. The total monetary award of participating in the SROP program at the University of Illinois is approximately $9,500 per participant.