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Our Vision and Mission

At the Office for Undergraduate Research (OUR), we believe that students who engage in research during their college careers are better prepared to address future unsolved problems and to assume important roles as citizens and leaders.

This belief is a major inspiration for our vision, which is a university where all undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in research.

A key aspect of fulfilling this vision rests in removing financial, social, and/or cultural barriers, so research can become a central feature of the undergraduate experience for all students at UNC-Chapel Hill. Therefore, our mission is to facilitate and enrich undergraduate research opportunities at Carolina.

Our mission and vision are predicated on commitments to:

  • Inclusiveness – we strive to facilitate undergraduate research opportunities for all disciplines and for all members of the Carolina community.
  • Quality – we strive to provide the highest quality programming in support of undergraduate research.
  • Collaboration – we strive to engage partners across the Carolina community to support undergraduate research.

The opportunities to make undergraduate research a seamless part of the culture at UNC-Chapel Hill are plentiful and exciting. We welcome your continuing input, and encourage you to contact us at

Our Strategies

In line with our vision and mission, we offer the following programs and services:

  • Mentored research programs stimulate and fund opportunities for UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduates to engage in mentored research with faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill and around the world. See Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships and the Research Opportunities Database.
  • Instructional programs for undergraduates promote high quality undergraduate instruction to students through courses that expose undergraduates to different modes of inquiry (e.g. IDST 199IDST 198), and encourage the development of opportunities for undergraduate engagement in innovative research, creative expression, and entrepreneurial endeavors (e.g., GRCs). See Find Research Classes and Graduate Research Consultant Program.
  • Program Evaluation and Analysis lets us analyze and synthesize current data on participation in undergraduate research across the university and present it in a user-friendly format.
  • Outreach helps us develop and maintain collaborative relationships with faculty, staff and students throughout UNC-Chapel Hill and communicate results of research by undergraduates to the UNC-Chapel Hill and broader North Carolina communities. Educate and offer consultation to increase awareness of and equitable participation in undergraduate research. See University Research WeekOUR AmbassadorsOUR Department Liaisons, and Share Your Research.
  • Grant development facilitates the development and administration of grants for faculty advisors in order to promote mentored research with undergraduates and inquiry-based teaching methods (e.g., GRCs, flipped classrooms).

Read more about the OUR staff and FAQs.

Our Programs and Resources

  • OUR’s Database of Research Opportunities. The OUR has a searchable database of research opportunities for undergraduates where undergraduates can find postings from faculty, post docs, and graduate students looking to collaborate with undergraduates on their research.
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURFs). SURFs are $4,000 student stipends for undergraduates to engage in research for at least nine weeks, with a minimum of 20 hours/week during the summer. SURF projects must be carried out under the supervision of a UNC-Chapel Hill faculty research advisor.
  • Graduate Research Consultants (GRCs). The GRC Program helps faculty integrate a research project/assignment into an undergraduate course by providing support for an advanced graduate student who guides students through research projects.
  • The Celebration of Undergraduate Research. The Celebration of Undergraduate Research is a research symposium held at UNC-Chapel Hill at the end of each spring semester. Each year, hundreds of undergraduates from all disciplines share poster presentations of their research in the Blue Zone of Kenan Stadium.
  • Carolina Research Scholars Program (CRSP). CRSP is a transcript designation that students can achieve by completing 300+ hours of research, taking certain classes, attending OUR workshops, and publicly presenting their research.
  • Travel Funding. The OUR offers travel awards of up to $500 to UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate students to help cover the the cost of travel to present results of their research or creative performance at a professional conference in their field.
  • Student Ambassadors. Undergraduates can meet with our Student Ambassadors, undergraduate researchers at UNC who work to promote a culture of research on this campus through workshops, outreach, and meetings with peers.
  • Faculty Liaisons. Undergraduates can also meet with faculty who have been designated to talk with students about research opportunities in their departments.
  • Research Advising. Undergraduates can meet with OUR staff to learn the best approach for finding research opportunities, starting their own research, and connecting with faculty across campus.
  • Summer Award for Research Courses. This tuition award is offered for a wide range of summer research courses. The award covers tuition for one three-hour research-intensive course for the student and provides $1,000 for research supplies to faculty mentors teaching the mentored undergraduate research course.

Our Definition of Research

Original research is defined by the UNC System Council on Undergraduate Research as “an inquiry or investigation . . . that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.”  In alignment with the Learning Outcomes for the Research & Discovery requirement of the IDEAs in Action curriculum, student activities must include “developing an original research question or creative goal and establishing a point of view, creative approach, or hypothesis,” gathering and evaluating appropriate evidence, and communicating findings specific to their question or goal.  In brief, the answer to the research question – the outcome of the research – must be unknown to both the student(s) and the mentor/instructor(s).