Providing Research Experiences for
Undergraduate Students Historically Underrepresented in STEM

The Undergraduate Research Experience Program provides funding for faculty-mentored research projects for STEM students from diverse backgrounds.

Broadening participation in STEM-based science disciplines through mentoring and collaboration.

Kentucky NSF EPSCoR established the Undergraduate Research Experience program to positively impact graduation rates of diverse participants through hands-on experience, mentoring, and collaboration.

Undergrad Focused

per student



Program Description

KY NSF EPSCoR Grants and Awards are intended to support high-risk, high reward projects that increase the number and diversity of STEM-skilled Kentuckians, with emphasis on training in Additive Manufacturing, AgriTech, and Robotics. KY NSF EPSCoR Seed-Funding is part of the NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 Award: Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Enhanced Robotics and Structures, Cooperative Agreement No. 1849213.

The Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) program provides support for intensive research opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds, and in particular undergraduates from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, gender minorities, and disadvantaged backgrounds.

The work supported by a URE must be aligned with KY NSF EPSCoR’s current KY NSF EPSCoR research themes. URE applicants are required to submit a statement on how the majority of proposed programming will relate to one or more of the following topics:

  1. additive manufacturing of embedded devices,

  2. robotics and human-machine interface, or

  3. synthetic biology and plant-based materials


Individual faculty members and departments at accredited academic institutions in Kentucky are eligible to apply. Junior faculty, women, and members of other underrepresented populations are encouraged to apply. Void where prohibited.

Undergraduate students with a background or identity historically underrepresented in STEM and enrolled full-time at a Kentucky accredited academic institution are eligible to participate.

The Higher Education Act defines the term “minority” as an individual identifying  as “American Indian, Alaskan Native, Black (not of Hispanic origin), Hispanic (including persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Central or South American origin), Pacific Islander, or other ethnic group underrepresented in science and engineering.” KY NSF EPSCoR acknowledges that the representation of certain groups of people in STEM education and employment also differs from their representation in the U.S. population. Women and gender minorities, persons with disabilities, first-generation students, and individuals from Appalachian counties are also included in our working definition of underrepresented groups in STEM.

Each institution that applies for financial assistance from the KY NSF EPSCoR must have a formal institutional plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) for all paid participants in the proposed research project. KY NSF EPSCoR must receive certification that participants on supported project have completed appropriate training consistent with their established institutional policies.

Any proposal submitted to KY NSF EPSCoR and declined for funding can be modified and resubmitted the following grant year but if declined more than once, cannot be submitted again.

Submission of Proposal

To Submit a Proposal upload the following:
  1. The proposed budget as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (.xlsx extension only)
  2. A combined PDF file of the complete proposal
    • Proposals should be submitted electronically as a single complete pdf document with any graphics embedded in the document no larger than 25MB and should adhere to the following order: (1) Cover Sheet (2) Project Summary (3) Project Description (4) Budget (5) Budget Justification (6) Current & Pending Support (7) Biosketch.

Important Dates

Proposals Due: 11:59 PM EST, May 15, 2021

Awards Announced: June 1, 2021

Award Year: July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

General Terms & Conditions


Only one proposal per investigator per program per year.

Foreign travel cannot be proposed.

Requests for computers cannot be proposed.

Requests for SWAG items such as t-shirts, gifts, souvenirs, and other memorabilia cannot be proposed.

Funds cannot be awarded for time beyond KY NSF EPSCoR’s Award Year.

Funds may not be used for more than one month of faculty salary support.

Applications to all EPSCoR programs can include requests for federally-negotiated institutional F&A/indirect costs. Maximum budget request amounts indicated apply to direct costs. F&A costs can be added to these direct cost maximums.

Review Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee including representatives from the KY NSF EPSCoR Central Office, plus research faculty with relevant expertise. When evaluating proposals, KY NSF EPSCoR reviewers will be asked to consider what the proposers want to do, why they want to do it, how they plan to do it, how they will know if they succeed, and what benefits could accrue if the project is successful. These issues apply both to the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the project may make broader contributions. View our rubric here

Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts are the two merit review criteria that NSF expects proposers to fully address in their proposals. The definitions of the two criteria, as noted in NSF PAPPG Ch. III Section A, are listed below:

  1. Intellectual Merit: The potential to advance knowledge, and
  2. Broader Impacts: The potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes


Reporting Requirements

KY NFS EPSCoR must comply with NSF EPSCoR reporting requirements. Therefore, each awardee will be required to comply with expenditure report deadlines and submit a narrative outcomes report to the central office once the project is complete. Awardee PI and students can fill out the required reports here: KY NSF EPSCoR Reporting Documents 1 – 4.

Frequently Asked Questions

Apply Now

Ready to start your application? Download the application forms to apply for the EPSCoR Internship program.

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Have Questions?

Have questions or need more information? Please feel free to contact us anytime at epscor@uky.edu.