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We are happy and proud to announce the newest PURA Cohort! These 25 amazing undergraduate are researching in all areas from Natural Sciences to Engineering and Social Sciences to Arts and Humanities.

PURA is the Provost’s Undergraduate Research Award. Provost Joseph Cooper (1991-1995) established the PURA program in 1993 with a generous endowment by the Hodson Trust. The program was created to support and encourage Hopkins undergraduate students to engage in independent research, scholarly and creative projects.

Take a look at past cohorts HERE

Program Details:

Award type: individual award
Award amount: $3000 per recipient
Opens for applications: June 1      
Deadline to apply: September 1 (11:59 pm)
Award announced: on or about October 15
Length of award: 1 year from award date

Check out the PROPOSAL GUIDELINES and remember, HOUR staff is happy to review your proposal prior to submission.

Questions? Please review the FAQs below and contact HOUR@jhu.edu 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 May 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.

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 for a research experience.

What kind of projects are accepted?

Research, scholarly, creative, and artistic activities that lead to:

  • The creation of new knowledge;
  • Increased problem-solving capabilities, including design and analysis;
  • Original, critical, or historical theory and interpretation; or
  • The production of new art or artistic performance.

What is an ‘independent” research, scholarly, or creative project?

  • Independent projects (in any field) can be a unique project conceived of by the student with a university mentor providing guidance and support. HOUR is happy to help students connect with a mentor if they have been unable to identify one.
  • Independent projects can also take place in a larger group or lab, where the undergraduate is assigned an identified portion of the project. The undergraduate is given ‘ownership’ of that portion as it contributes to the larger project.

Does my project have to be related to my major or minor?

Your undergraduate years are the time to explore your interests. We are happy to consider projects directly related to your major/ minor or passion projects based on your other interests.

What is required to apply?

  • Basic information for the online application (name, JHU email, cell number, anticipated year of graduation, mailing address, major(s))
  • project proposal must not to exceed 4 pages total including figures and bibliography (see PROPOSAL GUIDELINES)
  • Mentor name and Hopkins email address (up to 2 mentors allowed). Affiliates of Hopkins (Lieber Institute, Kennedy Krieger, Carnegie Institute, and some NIH) can also serve as mentor, but must get approval of the HOUR office if they do not have a Hopkins email address as our system utilizes SSO protocols for security.

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 DREAMS (occurring in the Fall and Spring semesters) or another HOUR approved presentation event. Projects can be 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.

Who can serve as a mentor?

  • Hopkins faculty, staff, post-docs, and grad students may serve as a mentor for this program.
  • Affiliates of Hopkins (Lieber Institute, Kennedy Krieger, Carnegie Institute, and some NIH or MICA) can also serve as mentor, but must get approval of the HOUR office.
  • If the primary mentor is a grad student or post-doc, a secondary letter from the primary faculty/PI should also be provided to show they are aware of the proposed project and to comment on the undergraduate’s ability to succeed.

What is required of a mentor?

A mentor is expected to provide support and guidance for the undergraduate, meeting with them at a schedule that you both agree upon. These checkpoints are intended to make sure problems or successes are addressed and next steps planned out. The mentor should also guide the student in the creation of their presentation, whether it take poster format or some other medium. The goal is for the student to have a positive and successful experience.

We allow grad students and postdocs to be identified as the mentor because in many research groups and labs, they are the person working most closely with the undergraduate researcher. They then know the student best and have the most influence on habits, knowledge, and skill acquisition.

What should the letter of support include?

Your mentor letter should include the strengths and skills the undergraduate has that will enable them to successfully complete the proposed project. You should also touch on the amount of independence the student will have (a unique project conceived of by the student or a part of a larger project that they will be leading). You should also include your intent as a mentor touching on what support you will be providing. There is no page limit for this document, but it must be in PDF format.

How is funding distributed?

There are three ways to receive funding:

  1. The entire award can be transferred to the awarded student as a fellowship payment for discretionary use.
  2. The entire award can be transferred to the department of the mentor for use on the project.
  3. The award can be split between the student and the mentor’s department for the uses explained below.

NoteAny transfer of funding to a department should be 100% the decision of the recipient, but with the mentor’s agreement. A mentor CANNOT force a recipient to transfer or “share” the funding.

What can the funding be used for?

The PURA Award is a discretionary fellowship award. Recipients may use the funding in any manner they like with no required reporting of use back to HOUR.

  • Funding transferred directly to the recipient can be used for anything – some examples include living expenses, travel, food, clothing, anything!!
  • Funding transferred to the mentor’s department allows the recipient to capitalize on university purchasing power and access as well as not incurring sales tax.
  • Note, this award is NOT to be transferred to a faculty discretionary account and CANNOT used as compensation to a mentor for time/ standard supply usage.
  • Any funding transferred to a department but left unused at the end of the year should be transferred to the student for their personal use or returned to the HOUR office for reinvestment in the program.

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 tax@jhu.edu

How do we select reviewers?

HOUR staff reviews each submission looking at: the proposal title, the proposal summary (requested in the application), as well as the mentor/s primary appointments and affilations to gain basic understanding of the project. We then research university faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and staff to identify field specific or subject matter experts to serve as reviewers.

This is a very time-consuming process but allows us to make strong reviewer/ submission matches. These matches assure that each submission is evaluated by someone who can review in its area of study and provide constructive feedback.

Some examples:

  • A student who is a dual degree candidate from WSE and Peabody with a creative project proposal for a computer music-based project and mentored by a Peabody faculty might have 2 Peabody faculty identified as mentors or 1 Peabody and 1 Computer Science faculty identified.
  • A student majoring in English, but on a premed track, working on a gastrointestinal cancer project at the med campus might have reviewers from Oncology and/ or Gastroenterology.
  • A physics student writing a science fiction novel that references science fact might be reviewed by English or Writing Seminars faculty as well as a faculty in the related science area.

What is required of reviewers?

HOUR staff works diligently to not overtax our reviewers, limiting the number of submissions assigned to each reviewer. Reviewers utilize the same platform (SMApply) that applicants use. We do require constructive feedback from our reviewers so we can help develop stronger researchers and proposal writers. Reviewers are asked to provide comments on:

  1. How well the proposal is written.
  2. How viable the project is in general and for the undergraduate applicant.
  3. Were the Proposal Guidelines generally followed.

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