Summer Fellowships

NSF-RII Faculty-Student Summer Research Grants

Six NSF-RII Summer Faculty-Student Research Fellowships are available each summer of the award, with each award including the following components:

  1. $4,500 summer research stipend for the undergraduate research student
  2. $2,000 in research supplies support applied to the project costs

Each faculty-student research project is expected to last a minimum of ten weeks, and include opportunity for professional dissemination in the following academic year at the regional/national level. Since this grant is funded through NSF’s EPSCoR initiative, there is significant focus in serving underrepresented minority (URM) populations in South Carolina, particularly given Furman’s overall campus diversity compared with our state’s demographics. With that in mind, students supported by this award will be recruited from URM groups with emphasis on African-American students, including women in Chemistry, Computer Science, Math, Physics and Engineering), including undergraduates at Furman, South Carolina’s historically black college/university (HBCU) campuses (Allen, Morris, Voorhees, Benedict, Claflin and South Carolina State), South Carolina Technical Colleges (e.g., Greenville Tech) and Converse Women’s College.

Any Furman faculty member is eligible to apply; as noted above, the primary requirement is the demonstration of logical ties between the research to be conducted and an improved understanding of the science that may be required to construct new organs, whether on the biological, molecular, physical or computational level. In addition, projects that are designed to explicitly consider the ethical implications of developing artificial tissues will be considered. Please note that by participating in this award, applicants agree to oversee the research of a URM undergraduate selected by the faculty member from either Furman or another participating SC campus.

NSF-RII Proposal Guidelines

The primary aim of Furman’s NSF-RII faculty/student summer fellowships is to provide support for scientific projects broadly supportive of the South Carolina theme in biofabrication. Proposals submitted for NSF-RII funding will be evaluated by an internal review committee selected by the Furman Project Director (Dr. Wheeler). When appropriate (e.g., based on proposal pressure), external review will be accomplished by members of the SC NSF-RII scientific advisory panel.


Proposals should be presented on 8 1/2” by 11” scale, with 1” margins top, bottom and each side, in 12-point Times typeface. Text is to be single-spaced, but paragraphs and sections should be separated by at least a space-and-a-half. An MS Word electronic copy should be submitted directly to Dr. John Wheeler in the Office of Integrative Research in Sciences by the submission date.


The proposal should have a single sheet cover page, with the author’s name and departmental affiliation, as well as the title of the proposed work.

The proposal Narrative is limited to three pages (including figures, excluding cover page and references) that should include the two sections designated below, each with the appropriate heading.

Section A: Project Aims, Background and Relevance to the South Carolina Theme

The applicant should provide appropriate perspective and context of the proposed work as it relates to the overall programmatic goals with essential references, typically ca. 1.5 pages in length.

Section B: Research Plan

This section should provide a brief summary of any preliminary data that has been collected to support the proposal aims, and the experimental plan to be followed in carrying out the proposed work. Keep in mind that the review committees will be comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds who are likely unfamiliar with jargon, abbreviations, etc. that may be routine in your field of specialization.


The standard budget will include a faculty stipend of $6,000 (from which FICA will be withdrawn in addition to standard withholding in accordance with University and federal policies), one student stipend ($4,500) and up to $2,000 in supplies for a 10 week summer research period in which the faculty and student are expected to devote full-time effort. If a Furman student (i.e., from an underrepresented minority population) expresses interest in working with the applicant, this should be indicated (along with student ethnicity) on the application.  If not, Furman will separately accept applications from students at South Carolina HBCUs, technical colleges and other select campuses majoring in fields supportive of the individual faculty projects, screened first by the Office of Integrative Research in the Sciences and secondly by the faculty awardees for compatibility. While a condition of this award is the applicant’s willingness to mentor a student from Furman or another South Carolina institution to serve the goals of NSF-RII program in enhancing URM impacts, in no case will a faculty member be assigned to a particular student without agreement in relation to the student’s qualifications/compatibility.

Biographical Sketch

The application should also include a summary two-page Biographical Sketch in standard NSF format (including training, publication activity, and synergistic activities – numerous examples/templates are available on the web). An indication of prior effort in mentoring undergraduate research students should be provided in this form. (Note: This is often listed under synergistic activities, e.g., “I have mentored 10 students in undergraduate research since 2004, resulting in 7 student presentations and 1 students co-authored publication”).

Proposal Review

As noted above, proposals submitted for NSF-RII funding will be evaluated by an internal review committee selected by the Furman Project Director based on proposal pressure and diversity of subject areas represented. When appropriate (e.g., based on number/quality of proposals submitted), external review will be accomplished by members of the SC NSF-RII scientific advisory panel. Proposals are typically due in February, and funding decisions will be announced by early March. Up to six awards will be made each summer the NSF-RII agreement is active.

Follow-Up Activities

Authors of successful proposals requesting student support will be expected to work with the Project Director (Dr. John Wheeler) in identifying an appropriate student who will be supported during the period of the award.

By November 1, following the summer of award, awardees will be expected to provide a short written report on their research activities and an accounting of supplies expenditures. Part of that report should address specific research goals delineated in the original proposal, and the degree to which those goals were accomplished. Also included should be information on student/faculty publications or presentations either completed or in progress.

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