Undergraduate Research Committee
The Undergraduate Research Committee (URC) is responsible for promoting and expanding research opportunities to undergraduates and enhancing the undergraduate research experience at the university. Members will also work to foster an interconnected undergraduate research community by working closely with programs and organizations on campus that support and facilitate undergraduate research. Other committee responsibilities include administering the $1,000 Undergraduate Research Grant, planning the annual Research Reception to honor excellence in undergraduate research, and hosting the university-wide Research Week, which is a celebration of undergraduate research and creative activity.
Current Committee Focus
The Undergraduate Research Committee (URC) is looking at ways to possibly integrate undergraduate research into the curriculum through the inclusion of more inquiry-based courses. URC is also discussing the showing of student support in university research initiatives, emphasizing the need for teaching and research to be interdependent. URC will work to encourage student representation of undergraduate research within programs and organizations across campus. The committee aims to accurately represent the student voice in undergraduate research affairs, and in order to this, URC will look to communicate, partner, and collaborate with the College Councils through outreach efforts to better understand the needs, priorities, and values of students at the college level. The committee will continue to increase accessibility and promote undergraduate research opportunities here at UT Austin while maintaining undergraduate research a university priority.
Research Week is a campus-wide celebration of undergraduate research and creative activity. Research Week, co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils’ Undergraduate Research Committee and the School of Undergraduate Studies joins existing programs, events, and activities that showcase undergraduate research and creative activity. It also highlights the many research opportunities available to students. Undergraduate research is taking place in every college and school at UT, and a wealth of resources is available for undergraduates who choose to get involved in research. By coordinating a week-long event highlighting the work of these programs and students, the goal is to raise awareness of the many research opportunities available to undergraduates and to display the exciting research UT students and faculty are doing every day.
Research Student Advisory Council
The Undergraduate Research Committee’s goal is to foster a more visible undergraduate research culture on campus by uniting research-based organizations and programs. The members of URC also realized the importance of increasing student input and representation within the Office of Undergraduate Research and have established a student advisory body.
Consisting of Senate’s Undergraduate Research Committee, members from research programs and organizations, and delegates from the College Councils, the Research Student Advisory Council (RSAC) supports and facilitates the effective communication of ideas, values, and knowledge regarding undergraduate research between the student representatives and the Office of Undergraduate Research.
Freshman Opportunities for Research (FOR)
The Undergraduate Research Committee seeks to provide first-year students in each college the opportunity to engage in meaningful, academic research. This year, the committee will focus on successfully operating the first year of FORE (Freshman Opportunities for Research in Engineering). URC will cooperate heavily with faculty, RSAC, and graduate students engaged in research on the Forty Acres.
Each semester, the Senate of College Councils’ Undergraduate Research Committee administers a $1,000 undergraduate research grant. The grant seeks to encourage students to become actively involved in research early in their undergraduate careers by providing funding to a deserving applicant. One winner receives the $1,000 prize to be used towards the funding of his or her research. Eligible applicants include students assisting a faculty member with a research project, as well as students conducting independent or partnered research.
Getting involved in Undergraduate Research
There are multiple ways to get involved in research:
1. Always start off by talking to a professor in the field of research you are interested in. They have the inside scoop concerning projects and can inform you of specific qualities and information needed for your specific interests. 2. Access Eureka!, a research database where students can browse and read up on various projects. 3. Attend an Undergraduate Research Information Session, hosted by the School of Undergraduate Studies.
Finally, a student should be excited and passionate when trying to find a research project, it may take you a while to find a professor and project that you are truly compatible with.