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The Office of Undergraduate Research

Research Abroad

The application deadline for 2016 Research Abroad Scholarship has passed.

Check back here on Friday, January 20, 2017 for the 2017 application.  

The Undergraduate Research Abroad Scholarship (UGRAS) is a collaboration between the Office of Undergraduate Research (UGR) and Education Abroad (EA). This scholarship pays up to $5,000 to a University of Kentucky full-time undergraduate student to cover the costs of a well-defined, credit-bearing research project abroad during the summer term for approximately 8 weeks. The student applying for the scholarship must be highly recommended by a UK faculty mentor with whom they have already done research. It is assumed the UK faculty mentor will recommend the abroad faculty mentor to the student and help broker the arrangement.

The application for the UGRAS 2016 award will be available here, beginning on January 11, 2016. The deadline will be March 4, 2016. 

University of Kentucky Faculty Letter of Recommendation will be available for upload here, beginning on January 11, 2016. The deadline for these will be March 4, 2016. 

The Abroad Mentor Letter of Support will be available to upload here, beginning on January 11, 2016. The deadline will be March 4, 2016. 

Proposal Requirements

1. A statement of 500 words, or fewer, of how this research experience will enhance the overall undergraduate experience of the student, and how it will contribute to his or her career goals (to be typed or pasted directly in the application form).

2. A 2-3 page project summary to include: (1) name and contact information of all parties involved; (2) project title; (3) hypothesis; (4) background and value of the current study; (5) methods and goal of the research; and (6) general budget. This is to be written by the student, although it is assumed the student will seek some guidance from his or her faculty mentor. This should be a separate document (Microsoft Word or PDF) uploaded into the space provided in the application form.

3. Letter of recommendation from UK faculty mentor (2 page maximum)

4. Letter of support, written in English, from Abroad mentor stating his or her willingness to serve as a mentor on this project (500 word maximum)

5. Selected applicants must interview with a committee.

6. Students must enroll in ISP 599 for 1 credit and will receive the credit upon completion of a final report of 4-6 pages. See below for details.  Students who receive the award must submit a Travel Registration application with the UK Education Abroad office for the term they will be abroad.  This application must be submitted no less than 6 weeks prior to departure. Students will be required to pay a $50 application fee and either purchase travel medical insurance (via UK Education Abroad) or show proof of international insurance coverage that meets the minimums established by the university. The application fee and cost of travel medical insurance will be billed to the UK Student Billing Account.

7. Project must be completed by August 15th.

8. Per university regulations, all students conducting academic research projects abroad, whether a scholarship is received or not, are required to register the international experience with UK Education Abroad. All students participating in credit-bearing international academic experiences are eligible to apply for the UK Education Abroad Scholarship. Please contact the UK Education Abroad office for more details.

Final Report Guidelines

Undergraduate Research Abroad Scholarship final reports are due in early September. You can upload your report here. Reports should be 4-6 pages long and submitted as Microsoft Word documents.  The document should include your name, your University of Kentucky faculty mentor's name, your abroad research mentor's name, the city and country in which the research took place, and the title of your project.  Please use the following as a guide when writing your report:

1. What background information can you provide about the topic at hand? This may be similar to what you provided in your proposal. What is the purpose of your research and how will it contribute to your field of study? Your introduction should be directed at all readers, not just those in your particular field.

2. What was your methodology and was it carried out as originally planned?  If not, why?  How did you adjust for the change in plans?

3. What sort of results did you see from your research and what can you conclude from them?

4. Most importantly, how did you benefit from your experience abroad?  What did you learn about the culture of the country you visited?  What did you experience while abroad that was most memorable?  What was it like doing research in a foreign environment?  Were there noticeable differences in the field of research abroad than what you have experienced at the University of Kentucky?  Was it more or less expensive than doing research in the United States?  This could relate not only to money, but human resources (e.g., your time or availability of research materials and resources).

Although we would like to hear about the research conducted, we are most interested in your reflections on your experiences abroad.

Final reports should include a statement and signature from you abroad research mentor indicating that they have reviewed and approved of the paper.

Past Winners

In 2014, Education Abroad (EA) and the Office of Undergraduate Research (UGR) awarded two UK students with an Undergraduate Research Abroad Scholarship (UGRAS) to support their international independent research projects during the summer session.

The scholarships are the result of a collaboration between EA and UGR to support experienced undergraduate researchers as they explore their academic interests abroad ­– with the support of their UK faculty mentors.

“Research has no boundaries,” says Diane Snow, director of UK’s Office of Undergraduate Research, “A researcher’s interests can take them across this country, or across the globe to find answers.”

Awardees of the Undergraduate Research Abroad Scholarship include:

  • Tamas Nagy, a computer science and chemistry double major, completed his project, "Systems Biology of Rotavirus Infection: Inferring Functional Host-Virus Genetic Interactions by Mapping Cellular Response to Infection and RNAi Perturbation," in Switzerland under the mentorship of Lucas Pelkmans at the University of Zurich. Nagy's UK faculty mentor is Rebecca Dutch, professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry.
  • Alexis Thompson, an animal science/pre-veterinary science major, will completed her project, "Ideal level of slow release urea for dairy cows on a grass silage diet," in Brazil under the mentorship of Marcos Marcondes at the Universidade Federal de Viçosa. Thompson's UK faculty mentor is Jeffrey Bewley, assistant professor of animal and food sciences.
  • Anil Erol, a mechanical engineering student, will complete his project, “Determination of Permeable & Thermal Dispersion in a Porus Medium,” in Turkey with the support of Dr. Haluk Karaca
  • Holly Poore, a psychology student, completed her project, “Improving Learning from Text: Cognitive Factors in Knowledge Acquisition Through Reading,” in the Netherlands with the support of Dr. Richard Milich
  • Heidi Vollrath, a management and pre-vet student, completed her project, “Primates are All Brain and No Brawn: An Investigation into tissue trade-offs,” in Spain with the support of Dr. Magdalena Muchlinski

“While these international projects will enhance the student’s research capacity here at UK, their UK mentor’s research program will also be enhanced,” said Snow.

The institutional benefit of undergraduate research is only a part of why Dr. Anthony Ogden, director of Education Abroad at UK, deems the scholarships a smart investment. “As a research one institution, we are investing in students to ensure they graduate with the knowledge and skills to engage with their discipline on the world stage. Conducting research abroad will help students learn the demands and rigor of their field in a way they wouldn’t at UK, or even in the U.S.”

Ogden has observed that undergraduate students who participate in research abroad programs often go on to pursue graduate or professional degrees in their fields. “These experiences not only foster necessary skills in a given field, but they also lay the foundation for a student’s professional network.”

NagyStudent Quotes: 

"I am honored and excited to receive this award; it will let me experience and contribute to a world-class systems biology lab over the summer," said Nagy, who is also a Singletary Scholar, Chellgren Fellow and in the Honors Program. "I intend to make good use of this grant to go and explore a field that I am very interested in and one that I am considering for graduate school. With this scholarship, UK is offering a very special opportunity to its students that is not available at most other Research 1 universities. In addition to providing its students with stellar research options locally; UK, through this scholarship, helps driven students to investigate new areas and ideas at other excellent institutions." Tamas Nagy


Thompson"I have been involved in research since I started at UK," said Thompson. "My overall goals for myself is to gain experience with how research is conducted in other countries and cultural differences of the world. This project lets me travel and achieve both of these goals. My future plans are to attend veterinary school and become a practicing veterinarian. The project influences my future plans by allowing me to understand and interpret research to provide the best services to my patients and strengthen my communication skills with my clients." Alexis Thompson