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Open to US citizens and non US citizens
Deadline: 03/20/2023 (Tentative)

**Please note that priority will be given to submissions that detail projects which can be undertaken within the current COVID-19 restrictions.**

General Information

The Jumpstart for Juniors program provides students with the opportunity to gain invaluable investigative skills in the summer after their junior year.  Students who are new to research and require a summer of intensive training with a faculty member prior to undertaking a more independent project are strongly encouraged to apply.  These funds may also be used to continue an established, ongoing independent research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor or to gather necessary data prior to embarking on a senior thesis or other significant independent research project. 


Applications and all supporting materials, including a Faculty recommendation, are due electronically to CURF by midnight on Sunday, March 20, 2022 (Applicants notified by April 30)Applications will be evaluated by a faculty committee designated by CURF. Applications with late material risk not being considered.

Eligibility and Guidelines

Participating undergraduates must be full-time, regularly enrolled third-year students in good standing at any of Penn’s undergraduate schools at the time of application. International students are welcome to apply, but must be eligible to work in the US to receive funding.  International students should consult Penn Global’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services if they have questions about eligibility to work in the US. 

Student budgets of up to $1000 will be considered.  Mentors of Junior Jumpstart grant recipients will receive $1000 that will be paid into the faculty member’s research account and cannot be taken as salary. 

Priority will be given to students who have not previously received CURF funding.

Juniors currently working with a faculty mentor can apply using the instructions outlined below.  Juniors who are not yet working with a faculty mentor and/or who do not have a project proposal are welcome to apply.  They should first contact an appropriate faculty member and secure their support to apply for Jumpstart. Dr. Kerry Milch and Dr. Ann Vernon-Grey of CURF are available for consultations on how to identify and contact potential research mentors.  The student will then submit an application in conjunction with the faculty mentor, who will provide a project proposal summary.

Project proposals will be evaluated by a faculty committee designated by CURF and selected for funding based on representation of original research allowing the student to make a significant contribution to knowledge, conceptual clarity, and potential for continued research involvement.

Procedure for Application

Prepare your proposal in consultation with your faculty research advisor. Prepare the following six components in this order, but feel free to start your Application Form and request a Letter of Recommendation as part of this process.

  1. Short abstract (~100 words): On a separate page, explain the overall goals of the project
  2. Proposal (~750 words): Use the following as suggested areas to cover rather than required categories:
    1. Background: Evaluate existing knowledge and work in the area and briefly summarize/justify the proposed project’s potential contribution to the field
    2. Objectives: State the hypotheses, objectives, and relevance of the proposed work in terms intelligible to an educated non-specialist
    3. Methodology: Describe the design and procedures to be employed and provide a timetable and implementation plan for completion of the project
    4. Predicted Outcomes/Future Plans/Statement of Impact or Importance: Discuss some potential results to be generated from the submitted project, proposed next steps for the research, and a statement of lessons to be learned from the undertaking
  3. Bibliography (no more than one page – limit of 12 items) of key scholarly works (listed in the citation format used in your discipline) providing background for your project. These may be books or articles, and they may be a mix of theoretical and empirical works that inform the project. If desired, a one-sentence annotation may be used to explain a specific item’s relevance to the project, but annotations are not required
  4. Personal Statement (~250 words): Describe how this project fits with your academic, personal, or career plans for the future, and with your current academic, personal, and career interests and activities
  5. Budget (Itemized and Total Overall): On a separate page list each budget item in order of priority and justify it in terms of the work proposed. Include the total amount needed to complete the project, even if this is more than the grant limit of $1000.
    • Funding provided should be used to help defray the student’s research costs and should not be a substitute for financial aid nor for the adviser’s research funding.
    • Funds are NOT to be used as programming or course costs.
    • Funds awarded directly to the student cannot be used to pay a student stipend.
    • Conference travel, registration, poster printing etc. are NOT acceptable expenses.
    • Types of expenses to which the funds may be applied include travel to libraries, museums, archives, and research sites; living expenses that would enable the student to participate in the project (outside of academic term time), research equipment, and supplies. 
    •  Reimbursement of living expenses may be taxable. Software and capital equipment are almost never funded.  Items that cost $500 or more with a useful life of one year or more must be purchased with a University purchase requisition and will remain the property of the University. 
    • If funds are being sought from other sources, state the source and potential amount of such funding.
  6. Transcript: Create an electronic "unofficial" version of your transcript by going to Penn In Touch —> Academic Records —> Transcript & GPA, and print your transcript as a .pdf.  If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer, download the free installer or use a Penn computer that has Adobe Acrobat installed. Do not request an official transcript from the registrar's office.  Do not upload a "locked" or official transcript.

Fill out the application form at Common Research Grant ApplicationYou must submit all these materials in .pdf format.  No other format will be accepted.

Letter of Recommendation

As early as possible, request a letter from your faculty research advisor via the application form.  Completing this form automatically generates an email to your recommender with instructions on how to upload their letter to the CURF site.  Please ask your advisor to anticipate the arrival of this email (which is sometimes sorted to junk or spam folders), and inform them whether you have chosen to keep their letter confidential and waive your right of access to it.  It is your responsibility that this letter be submitted to CURF no later than midnight on the grant application due date.

This letter should:

  • Discuss the project’s feasibility and the adequacy of the applicant's preparation to complete it
  • Review and comment on the student's projected budget
  • Make clear the nature and extent of the applicant's contiribution in formulating the project and carrying out the project
  • Advise the student on any applicable Institutional Review Board or related issues
  • Detail what supplies and/or support they are able to provide to ensure project completion
  • Outline the active ways in which the student will be mentored during the research process (both in summer and beyond)

Procedures for Receiving Funding and Expectations for Grant Recipients

Funds will not be disbursed until students review CURF’s information on Ethics and Compliance and complete and submit all necessary forms. All CURF-funded student researchers must complete CURF’s Research Experience Checklist and Waiver of Liability which will be presented to recipients. Students conducting research outside the US are required to provide International Travel and Emergency Contact information on the Checklist and register their trip with Penn’s Global Activities Registry.

Once the award has been made and the Research Experience Checklist and Waiver of Liability has been submitted to CURF and approved, recipients will be given instructions on how to access these funds.

Appropriate Environmental Health & Radiation Safety training modules must be completed, and research involving animals must be approved by the relevant University oversight committees. Students should consult with their faculty research advisors to correctly submit any necessary forms.

Undergraduates receiving this funding are expected to (1) present a poster at a designated CURF event and (2) submit a research summary and photograph suitable for posting on CURF’s website.  The summary should describe the project’s goals and content, what the student learned through the research experience and how participating in this research project contributed to the educational experience.  Participants will also be required to complete surveys about their experience both prior to and after completing their research.



Research Offering Type

Independent Research, Grant



Undergraduate School

College, Engineering, Nursing, Wharton



Contact Information

Dr. Kerry Milch, Associate Director for Undergraduate Research
Email Dr. Milch
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Milch

Dr. Ann Vernon-Grey, Senior Associate Director for Undergraduate Research
Email Dr. Vernon-Grey
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Vernon-Grey