Undergraduate Research

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Using URF Funds

1. URFs are NOT cash awards. If awarded, fellowship funds are made available for student use through an individual account administered by the supervising professor’s departmental accounting representative, and according to the recipient’s approved budget. All institutional requirements must be met before the recipient is able to spend any URF funds. If awarded, the recipient must contact the supervisor’s departmental accounting contact prior to using any of the awarded funds. The accounting contact will assist in all purchases/reimbursements made.

2. URF funds can only be used for purchases for the student receiving the award. Under no circumstances will faculty, research scientists/engineers, or graduate students be reimbursed with URF funds, nor will purchases be made on their (or a lab’s) behalf.

3. It is the responsibility of the student, supervisor, and departmental accounting representative to ensure that all expenditures support the research project in accordance with The University of Texas and State of Texas guidelines. This includes production of fiscal documents (purchase orders, requisitions, travel vouchers, etc.) and accounting for the fellowship. Click here for more information and assistance.

4. Any and all changes to the student’s funded budget included in the original application must be approved in advance and in writing by the Office of the Vice President for Research. Please submit requests to modify with specific dollar amount(s) and justification via e-mail to uresearch@austin.utexas.edu with Subject: “Request to Modify URF Budget”.

5. If not expended by 5 p.m. on August 31 or the student’s graduation date (if prior to 8/31), funds will be returned to the Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF) fund.

6. Upon completion of the research project, and no later than the end of September (a month after funds expire), each fellowship recipient must submit a one-page final report or reflection to the Office of Undergraduate Research. The report should briefly describe the research outcome(s), list any publication(s) resulting from the work, note any academic awards received by the fellowship recipient, and include post-graduation goals of the recipient.

URF funds may be used for:

Travel. The URF may fund research-related travel performed after the award is made but before August 31 (subject to University regulations and end-of-fiscal-year deadlines) or before the student graduates (commencement date). Travel and registration fees for professional meetings, conferences, workshops or symposia may be funded as well, with the same restrictions as above. For travel to be approved, the proposal must include specific date(s) and location(s) as well as an explanation of the relevance to the research project. Only research-associated travel beyond the Austin area will be covered (e.g., not from campus to Pickle, not around Austin while conducting interviews or doing site visits, etc.).

Supplies. The URF may fund budgeted research supplies and materials required for the undergraduate student’s approved research project.

Computer software. Only highly specialized computer software required for the project may be approved. No computers, computer peripherals, or commonly accessible software are covered.

Specialized research equipment and services. Small items of research equipment (e.g., cameras, recorders, etc.), which become the property of The University of Texas at Austin upon conclusion of the approved research project, may be approved if necessary for the project.

Human subjects compensation. Funds can be used for compensating participants in human subjects research only in cases that adhere to all relevant university guidelines. Use of funds for human subjects compensation is subject to approval by the School of Undergraduate Studies.

The University retains ownership of all equipment and/or software acquired with URF funds, which will remain the property of the supervisor’s department.

URF funds MAY NOT be used for:

  • Any purchase not included in the approved budget, unless budget is amended and approved prior to purchase. Amendments must not diverge from the project’s original intent, and will not be accepted the last week of August.
  • Any purchase, expenditure or event dated before the final URF approval or after the URF expiration date (expiration date is either 8/31or commencement date if earlier).
  • Books, journal subscriptions, music tapes, CDs, or DVDs.
  • Student scholarships, stipends, or salaries.
  • Vehicle maintenance, fuel, or local transportation costs (in the Austin area).
  • Tuition and fees at another institution.
  • Page charges, reprints, or manuscript preparation costs.
  • Computers, computer hardware, computer peripherals, or commonly accessible software.
  • Reimbursing faculty, associated graduate assistants, or any other individual for any expenditures, including travel.
  • Reimbursing URF recipients for any expenses, except pre-approved travel related expenditures.
  • Stocking a supervisor’s lab, office, or studio with research items unrelated to the approved student project.
  • Travel or research conducted after a URF recipient’s graduation date or after August 31. See above travel restrictions.