ASUS undergraduate research fund now accepting applications

Arts and Science Undergraduate Research Fund to support undergraduate research at Queen’s

Undergraduate researchers will access lab facilities on campus and more through ASURF.
Photo supplied by ASUS

This year, ASUS introduced the Arts and Science Undergraduate Research Fund. Created by former ASUS executive Darrean Baga and Brian MacKay, this fund seeks to attract undergraduate students to pursue research without the issue of financial barriers.

The Arts and Science Undergraduate Research Fund (ASURF), receives funding through an opt-out student fee of $3.75 that passed ASUS assembly in January, with the policy itself coming shortly after.

During their time in office, Baga and MacKay also brokered a funding deal with the Faculty of Arts and Science to match the funds levied through the student fee.

Current ASUS President Jasmine Lagundzija told The Journal that if roughly 70 per cent of students opt in to the fee, the fund will collect around $30,000. If matched fully by the faculty, up to $60,000 in funds will be available for students.

“The really big push we are doing this year is that no project is too big or too small. If you want $200 just to cover a train ticket to go present your research at a conference in Toronto, we’re happy to see you apply. If you are looking for $1,000 to fund a new resource or tool that you need to conduct your research, we also encourage you to apply,” she said.

Lagundzija added that she thinks this academic year will be a “tester year.” She said this is because students may not be aware of the fund “beyond the simple line included in the opt-out section.”

Though the fund is only in its first year, Lagundzija said she hopes to see about 50 projects funded this year. To her, the more people who are aware of the fund, the more applicants they will receive.

“I really hope that if you know about it and I know about it, we’ll be able to spread the word and hopefully see close to 100 or 150 applicants,” she said.

“The goal is to really help students at any level of research. In science you need a lot of resources, it's very equipment-heavy, but in arts you don’t necessarily need the same tools, but you need maybe a software, or you need travel fees to go interview people.”

Applications for the fund have been open since Oct. 13 and will run until Nov. 13. After applications close, a panel consisting of the ASUS executive, the ASUS Academics Commissioner, a representative from the faculty of Arts and Science and two members of ASUS Assembly will deliberate on which projects will receive funding.

Without having a faculty vote, Lagundzija said students who deliberate will “have the knowledge of the faculty,” to inform the panel about complex proposals.

Since the Oct. 13 start date, Lagundzija said there have been “quite a few” applications that have come in already, indicating there’s “definitely demand.” She added she’s “incredibly optimistic” that students are going to be attracted to ASURF.

“I am really excited to see how the project goes this year, and then hopefully in future years, it will just become part of the Arts and Science experience. If you want to pursue undergraduate research, funding isn’t an obstacle,” she said.

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