Selection Criteria

The College of Engineering aims to fund as many quality proposals as possible. However, levels of available funding fluctuate along with corporate and alumni donations. The competition for research awards varies from term to term, depending on numbers of applicants and available funding.

Your application will be reviewed and rated by a faculty committee according to the selection criteria below. Award decisions are based on committee ratings of how well your application fulfills the selection criteria. Please read the selection criteria and application instructions thoroughly and prepare your application carefully.

Please be aware that undergraduate research funds are available only for undergraduate students currently enrolled in the College of Engineering and Biological or Environmental Engineering (BEE) majors.

Reminder: Because Rawlings Cornell Presidential Research Scholars are funded through the Cornell Commitment Office, RCPRS students are ineligible for undergraduate research funding through this program. Student Project Teams are also ineligible for this program as they have the opportunity to be considered for college funding through a separate process each fall.

Rating criteria

From student’s research proposal:

  • Technical merit of the project
  • Student understanding of project goals and specific tasks required
  • Student understanding of practical, "real-world" purpose and application of research
  • Clarity and quality of written project description

From student’s wages request statement (if applicable):

  • Justification of value of wages support in relation to educational goals.
  • Clarity of need for wages in relation to other sources of financial support and eligibility for Federal Work Study
  • Note: Students may not receive both academic credit and wages for the same research project in a given term

From student’s personal statement:

  • Demonstration of self-motivation and commitment required to successfully accomplish project goals
  • Adequacy of preparation and experience
  • Demonstration of passion and dedication to the research endeavor

From faculty application:

  • Appropriateness of project for an undergraduate researcher
  • Clarity and appropriateness of specific responsibilities and tasks that will be assigned to undergraduate researcher
  • Demonstration of commitment to mentoring and supervision of undergraduate researcher, and delineation of mentoring plan

From faculty budget specification (if applicable):

  • Justification of project support expenses requested, listing specific costs for which funds will be used
  • Clarity of need for funding support (including wages and expenses) in relation to funded research and the availability of other resources

Overall considerations:

  • Involvement in a comprehensive research process--with inclusion in research design/planning, model development, data collection, analysis, synthesis--will be favored over a more peripheral involvement limited to the performance of technical tasks or procedures, or to the development of hardware or software (though these may be part of a more comprehensive experience)
  • Student applicants who have not received prior funding through this program will be favored over those who have received one or more prior awards (This does not apply to those receiving SRC/Intel funding)

Engineering Learning Initiatives staff make the final allocation decisions, based on review committee ratings, available funding and sources, and program philosophy considerations.

Students and faculty mentors are notified of competition outcomes by e-mail. Award funds are transferred to a department account, through which the student receives the agreed-upon hourly wages for time spent on the research project, and to which appropriate project expenses may be charged.