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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 enlightened 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, Undergraduate Research Consultant Teams 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 194IDST 184), and encourage the development of opportunities for undergraduate engagement in innovative research, creative expression, and entrepreneurial endeavors (e.g., GRCs). See Find Research Courses and Graduate Research Consultant Program.
  • Program Evaluation and Analysis: Analyze and synthesize current data on participation in undergraduate research across the university and present it in a user-friendly format.
  • Outreach: 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: Facilitate the development and administration of grants for faculty advisors to promote mentored research with undergraduates and inquiry-based teaching methods (e.g., GRCs, flipped classrooms).

Read more about the OUR staff, OUR Faculty Liaisons, OUR Ambassadors, and FAQs.

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).