Website Navigation for Screen Readers


The Catalyst Award program is now accepting applications. Apply here!

The Undergraduate Catalyst Award has been established through the generosity of a group of alumni (Team Polair) to provide early-stage funding for undergraduate projects involving the betterment of human health – whether focusing on mental health and wellbeing, community health, alleviating disease, or more.

All proposed projects should be in service to others, especially in the communities Hopkins call home. To be eligible, individual or team undergraduate projects MUST BE in early-stage development and need funding to create a prototype or pilot program to assist in their viability/ competitiveness for larger competitions/ award programs, patent application or other considerations.

Take a look at past cohorts HERE

Program Details:

Award type: individual or team award (to be paid out to an individual/ identified team member in the form of a fellowship)

Award amount: Applicants (individual or team) may request from $100 to $1000 in award (in $100 increments only)

Number awarded annually: a minimum of 5 awards (not more than $5000 total per year)

Opens for applications: June 1    Apply here

Deadline to apply: September 1 (11:59 pm)

Award announced: on or about October 25

Length of award: 1 year from award date

Be sure to consider the Catalyst Review Rubric and Catalyst Proposal Guidelines when putting your proposal together.

Questions? Please review the FAQs below and contact us at [email protected] with other questions.

Who is eligible to apply?

All registered Hopkins undergraduates in the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, the Peabody Institute, and the Whiting School of Engineering (freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors that are NOT graduating prior to December of the academic year of the award) in good academic standing (i.e. not on academic probation, suspension, or leave for any reason) are eligible. Applications may be by individuals or teams of undergraduates.

HOUR especially encourages applications from students from underserved backgrounds (e.g. first-generation students, low-income backgrounds), students who are underrepresented in their field of study, and/or those who may not have previously had an opportunity.

What kind of projects are accepted?

Individual or team undergraduate projects in early-stage development that need funding to create a prototype or pilot program to assist in their viability/ competitiveness for larger competitions/ award programs, patent application or other considerations. All projects should involve the betterment of human health – whether focusing on mental health and wellbeing, community health, alleviating disease, or more – in service to others, especially in the communities Hopkins call home.

This funding is NOT intended for curricular class assignments like CBID, senior capstone, honors projects, or other regular course projects (independent research for credit is the exception).

Does the project have to be related to my/ our majors or minors?

No, we strongly encourage interdisciplinary teams to apply. We are happy to consider projects directly related to your major/ minor or passion projects based on your other interests as long as they meet the spirit of the program.

Do I need to have a mentor?

A mentor is NOT required. If you do not have a mentor and would like assistance identifying one, HOUR staff is happy to work with you.

What is required to apply?

  • Basic information for the online application
  • Project proposal, clearly articulating the project design, health impact, timeline, and goals/ next steps. See Catalyst Proposal Guidelines and Catalyst Review Rubric for guidance.
  • Basic budget outlining use of award funding (in $100 increments but not more than $1000 total request)

Can I apply to and or receive HOUR opportunities more than once?

Yes, you are encouraged to continue to apply to our programs throughout your undergraduate career at Hopkins. Projects evolve, interests change and HOUR wants to encourage your exploration. In the case of “tied” review scores in an individual program cycle, preference will be given to students that have not previously received funding through HOUR programs.

Is there a formal presentation due at the end of the project?

Yes, all HOUR program recipients are expected to present their project at a DREAMS (occurring in the Fall and Spring semesters) or other HOUR approved presentation event. Projects can be presented in many formats. See the DREAMS page for examples. This presentation should occur within one academic year after the award period is complete. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis after the recipient contacts the HOUR office about a conflict.

Would you like HOUR staff to review your application documents and provide feedback prior to submitting? Interested students may schedule 1 (and ONLY ONE) document review session per individual award program (per year) with HOUR staff. You may meet with either Tracy or Deborah; you may not meet with both for review of the same documents.

You MUST follow these steps before you schedule a meeting for document draft review:

  1. Clearly name your document using your name or jhed and the type of document (example: john_lee_resume or jlee987_pura). Do not label as “resume” or “pura_proposal”
  2. Run your document through spell check and grammar check, making corrections as recommended.
  3. BEFORE scheduling a meeting with HOUR – have your mentor, the Writing Center, and/ or someone else you respect review your document and offer feedback.
  4. Once above steps are complete and you have a FINAL DRAFT:
    1. Email a copy of your document to [email protected] identifying who you plan to meet with (Tracy or Deborah). Your document MUST BE sent to us a minimum of 1 full business day (weekends do not count!) prior to your appointment time!!
    2. Schedule your 1:1 appointment for feedback:

30-minute meeting with Tracy

30-minute meeting with Deborah

  1. The LAST appointment for a document review for any HOUR program submission is 5 business days PRIOR to the program deadline (example: Summer PURA closes on 2/1 so the LAST appointment for review is approximately 1/26 or the last weekday before that).
  2. If you have ever had an in person or virtual meeting to receive draft feedback in the past (for a different application), you may request your feedback in the form of a marked-up file emailed back to you, instead of scheduling a meeting.

How is funding distributed?

The sole applicant or identified project lead will be awarded the funding as a fellowship payment to be used as outlined in the provided budget for the project. We will not disburse this funding to an internal Hopkins account (cost center or io). As a fellowship, funding must be paid directly to the recipient/ identified team member.

What can the funding be used for?

The Catalyst Award is intended to assist in covering related expenses to move the awarded proposal from concept to prototype or pilot program. A general budget of anticipated expenses is required at time of application.

How much funding can we request and will the amount impact our chances of being awarded?

Students or student teams may apply for amounts up to $1000, in increments of $100 (i.e. $100, $200, $300, etc.). No requests for amounts above $1000 will be considered. All submissions will receive equal consideration regardless of the amount requested. Applying for a lower amount does NOT give you/ your team a better chance.

What are the tax implications of this award?

Fellowship payments are subject to all applicable payroll taxes. Questions and concerns should be directed to the University Tax Office at [email protected]

How are submissions reviewed?

A team of ILLD (Integrative Learning and Life Design) Staff will review all submissions utilizing the Catalyst Review Rubric. In the case of tied results, final decisions will be made by the Director of HOUR and the Vice Provost for Integrative Learning and Life Design.

Website Footer Navigation