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Alfred Research Grants for Undergraduate Students (ARGUS)

ARGUS is an Alfred University Program operated by the Office of the Provost to provide funding for research and scholarly activities of current Alfred University students in all fields. It is operated by a committee of faculty who are recommended by Alfred Deans and appointed by the Provost.

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Note: If your project involves the use of human subjects, your project must be approved by the Human Subjects Research Committee prior to submitting your proposal to the ARGUS committee. Your proposal should include a clear indication of this approval and a copy of the approval letter from the Human Subjects Research Committee. It may take as much as three weeks to obtain that approval, so please plan accordingly. Your project sponsor will be able to tell you how to submit your project idea to this committee.

Application procedures and review criteria

Application Procedures
The application procedure for requesting ARGUS funding is fairly straightforward. You will submit an application that consists of a cover sheet, a brief proposal, and the names of 2 persons who have agreed to write confidential letters of recommendation (one letter should be from your project advisor). The proposal will be evaluated by the ARGUS Committee (see below) and other faculty members against a common rubric. The rubric evaluates proposal quality in each of the required proposal elements as well a asking faculty referees to estimate the likelihood of your project being successful and assesses the impacts of funding the work. When all proposals for a given funding cycle (fall, spring, summer) have been evaluated, you will be notified whether the committee elected to fund your proposal.

Complete proposals deadlines during the 2015/2016 academic year for ARGUS funding are as follows:

  • Fall Project Start: April 17
  • Spring Project Start: November 13
  • Summer Project Start: March 4

The review process will take several weeks or longer...remember that our faculty reviewers are volunteers. Proposals should be submitted electronically via email to the ARGUS account with your last name and the desired funding period as the subject (ex. Bowers Summer 2012). Please ask your faculty recommenders to submit their letters of recommendation to the same email with your last name, the word "recommendation", and the funding period (ex. Bowers Recommendation Summer 2012). Be sure you communicate clearly what should be used as a subject line with your recommending faculty.

The ARGUS Committee consists of faculty members representing all units of the University. Faculty members from the unit where the research will be performed will be asked to review proposals from their unit (the standard program chair model). The chair of the ARGUS Committee is Geoffrey Bowers, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Adjunct Associate Professor of Materials Engineering, who oversees proposal submission and review. Questions about proposal submission or review should be directed to Dr. Bowers. The other members of the committee are:
Robert Reginio, English
Meghen Jones, Art and Design
Grzegorz Pac, Business
Steve Pilgrim, Engineering

The various steps involved in submitting and evaluating an ARGUS proposal are outlined below.

For Students

  1. Find a topic and choose a sponsor.
  2. Request two letters of recommendation. One should be from your research sponsor. Recommenders should be asked to submit letters electronically via email by the appropriate deadline.
  3. Prepare your proposal according to the criteria found on the proposal guidelines page. Submit your proposal by the appropriate deadline. Submission instruction summary
  4. Upon approval, perform research/creative activity under the guidance of your faculty sponsor.
  5. Present the project at the undergraduate research fair in April.

What happens after a proposal is submitted?

  1. The Chair of the ARGUS Committee will collate proposals and recommendations and notify the student if materials are missing.
  2. ARGUS Committee member(s) in the unit in which the research is to be done will solicit reviewers from among the faculty, based on faculty expertise and the topic of the research. Reviewers will evaluate proposals according to a fixed set of criteria.
  3. Once reviews are complete, the ARGUS Committee will discuss reviews and determine which proposals will be funded.
  4. The student will be notified if the project will be funded. If the project will not be funded, the student will be notified and given an opportunity to review committee/reviewer comments.