The Office for Undergraduate Research (OUR) offers travel awards of up to $500 to UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate students to defray the cost of travel to present results of their research or creative performance at a professional conference in their field. The travel awards are made possible by a generous gift from the McGee Family Undergraduate Research Fund. Travel Awards funds may be used for registration and travel expenses, but not hotel or food expenses.
All currently enrolled undergraduate students who are in good academic standing and who completed their research under the mentorship of a full-time UNC faculty advisor are eligible to apply. The travel must occur while the student is still enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill. The research must be conducted under the advisement of a full-time UNC faculty research advisor. Priority will be given to students who also present their work at the annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research symposium organized by the Office for Undergraduate Research and who have not previously received a travel award. The conference to be attended must be considered a “professional conference” according to OUR’s guidelines for professional conference classification (below). Due to limited funds, only one student presenter can receive an award for any given conference. Each student presenter can receive a maximum of $500 from the travel award program in each academic year (July 1st through June 30th).
Students must submit an online application which includes a request for a letter of support from the UNC faculty advisor who mentored the student’s research project and if you will be travelling to attend the meeting, you are required to input the department chairs information to approve your travel. Requests for funding must be made and approved prior to the conference date. Thus, you will need to apply before the 15th of the month before the conference if the conference occurs between the 1st of the month and the 15th of the month to have your application considered. In the detailed budget provide your best estimate of the cost of your transportation and registration fees. Applications received by the 15th of each month will be reviewed prior to the end of the month. Please note: Applications received in December will be reviewed with the January applicant pool.
If conference is virtual, Apply Here.
If you will be traveling to attend the conference, Apply Here.
Letter of Support
A letter of support from the faculty research advisor who mentored the research project you will present is required. If you will travel to attend the meeting, you will also need the department chair’s approval for your travel. We seek to support scholarship by undergraduates at UNC-Chapel Hill mentored by faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill. We cannot support student conference presentations that are based on research conducted at other universities or with a mentor who is not a UNC faculty member. The student will request the letter of support in the application system which will then email the faculty prompting them to upload the letter into the application portal.
This letter should include: name, location, and date of conference; confirmation that this is a professional conference or meeting; a brief statement confirming the faculty member’s mentorship and supervision of the student’s research; a brief statement about the student and their work; a short assessment of the potential significance of the student being invited to the conference; and whether or not this research is supported by a grant (if so, include the funder’s name).
While financial need is a consideration for selection, it is not the only criterion. We welcome applications that reflect presentations from diverse disciplines as represented in the arts and humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and the professional schools. We also encourage applications from diverse student populations such as first-time and experienced presenters.
OUR can help with the costs of transportation to the conference and registration fees for the professional conference. OUR funds cannot be used to defray hotel or meal expenses. Successful applicants will be reimbursed for up to $500 of their travel and/or meeting registration expenses. ORIGINAL receipts, a conference program, and your completed Travel Award Evaluation form will be required for reimbursement. The travel must be completed and the request for reimbursement must be made while the student is still enrolled. The request for reimbursement must be submitted within 30 days after the conference. Please see our guidelines for acknowledging OUR support for information on formatting acknowledgments.
Guidelines for Professional Conference Classification
UNC undergraduates are eligible to apply for funding from OUR in order to present their original research at professional conferences. They are also able to fulfill a Carolina Research Scholar Program requirement by presenting at a professional conference. Please use the following guidelines to determine whether or not the conference you plan to attend would be considered a “professional conference.” If you feel that your conference does not meet these criteria but is still a “professional” conference for some reason, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional Conference Guidelines
- The conference must be sponsored by a professional organization or academic institution.
- The conference must not be specially designated for students (either undergraduate or graduate). This is usually stated in the call for papers or the call for abstracts.
- A student participant must present in the same way that a professional participant would present.
- The student participant must be invited to present at the conference.
- The research conducted must be associated with UNC-Chapel Hill and the research advisor must be a UNC-Chapel Hill faculty member.
Examples of Professional Conferences
- National Conference on Undergraduate Research
- American Sociological Association Annual Meeting
- Modern Language Association Convention
- American Psychological Association Convention
- American Chemical Society Annual Meeting
- Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting
Carolina Digital Repository
Once you have presented your research at the conference for which you were funded to attend, we ask that you upload your slides for oral presentation or poster to the Carolina Digital Repository (CDR). CDR is a secure digital home for the scholarly work of the Carolina community. When you deposit your articles, book chapters, data sets, media files and more in the CDR, we provide stable access for the long term. You decide who gets access – from a few colleagues to the entire world. The University Libraries will do the rest, making sure your work is findable, searchable and available to the audiences you specify. https://cdr.lib.unc.edu/