Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund

Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund (DURF)

The Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund (DURF) awards funding to undergraduates at NYU Shanghai for summer research in any field of study.

The DURF broadly defines research as scholarly or artistic activities that lead to the production of new knowledge; to increased problem solving capabilities, including design and analysis; to original, critical or historical theory and interpretation; or to the production of art or artistic performance.

Students interested in any form of research may apply. You can work alone or in a group, in a traditional or interdisciplinary field, in a professor’s lab or in a studio – it’s up to you. All you need is a well thought-out, feasible plan and a Faculty Mentor willing to commit to supervising your project.

It is permissible for your research to be conducted outside of Shanghai. However, the proposal should include an explanation for why the work can be done in the proposed location and how you and your Faculty Mentor will work together if you are not in the same location.

The limits on participation and mentorship are not meant to be constraints on research, but only reflect limitations on DURF funding. Students are encouraged to do research which falls outside of the DURF program, in addition, students may participate in a DURF project even if they are not one of the three funded team members of that project.

If you intend to apply, please carefully review the details and application instructions in below. You can also download a PDF version of the DURF document.

 

Eligibility

 

You are eligible to apply if you satisfy all of the below requirements:

•       You are enrolled at NYU Shanghai in Spring 2017 (even if you are studying away from Shanghai);

•       You will also be an enrolled NYU Shanghai student for Fall 2017 (even if you are studying away from Shanghai);

•       You are in good academic standing (not on academic probation) with a minimum semester GPA of 3.30 from the past fall semester, and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.30.

•       You are able to secure a Faculty Mentor to supervise your project. The Faculty Mentor should mentor no more than two projects during the summer.

 

You may apply to do a project on your own or work with other students on a group project. There should be no more than three members per group. Every team member must meet the GPA requirements to participate. If you are receiving any other funding, you are not eligible to receive DURF funding. If you accept other funding after you receive DURF funding, you need to return your DURF funding.

 

Dates and Deadlines

DURF 2017 Online Application Available: February 13, 2017

Deadline to submit online application: March 15, 2017

Faculty Mentor to submit endorsement letter: March 15, 2017

Notification of Admission Status: Around April 10, 2017

Application Process

You should submit the online application by 5pm Shanghai time, March 15th, 2017. Your application is your chance to tell us about your proposed research, its significance, and how well you are prepared to undertake such a project. If you are working in a group, there should be no more than three group members. You may collaborate on the proposal content but each group member must submit a full individual application.

 

Application Components:

 •        Proposal: 3 pages maximum.

Please follow the guidelines for Type I and Type II proposals listed below. You may submit either type, but you must follow the given structure.

•        Biography: 1 page maximum.

Tell us about yourself and your story: where you come from, what you have done at NYU Shanghai, what interests you, and why this project is important to you.

The purpose is to help the Committee to get to know you better.

•        University Transcript

Please include an official or unofficial transcript. Your Fall 2016 GPA (minimum 3.3) and cumulative GPA (minimum 3.3) is one of the factors the committee will consider but it is not the only factor. We will also look at overall trends in your academic performance to date.  If you had a difficult semester or two, we will focus on the trajectory over time.

•        Resume: 1 page maximum

If you do not have an updated resume, please consult the Career Development Center for advice on resume writing.

•        Endorsement Letter from Faculty Mentor

Each student who applies to the DURF must have a Faculty Mentor to oversee his or her project. All current faculty in the NYU Global Network can serve as Faculty Mentors for students. The Faculty Mentor should oversee no more than two DURF projects. We expect that the Faculty Mentor will have substantial contact with the student during the course of their project. The commitments of a Faculty Mentor are to:

o     Give feedback to the student as she or he drafts the DURF application;

o     Fill out an evaluation form at the end of the Project evaluating the quality of the student's project execution and project outcome.

o     Send a Letter of Endorsement in support of the student’s application to durf.shanghai@nyu.edu by 5pm Shanghai time, March 15, 2017. The letter should comment on the project’s feasibility and value as well as the student’s abilities to carry out the project. It should also explain how the Faculty member will supervise and mentor the student, especially if they are in two different locations. If more than one student is working on the same project, the Faculty Mentor must write separate letters for each student, commenting specifically on each individual student’s capabilities.

The student and faculty member should discuss the following questions:

  • Over the summer, how often will the Mentor and student meet and/or communicate?

  • What is the student expected to show the faculty member at different stages of the project?

  • If there are other advisors involved (i.e. graduate students), what will be their role and responsibilities?

•        Past Projects (if applicable)

Please let us know if you participated in past NYU-funded projects, including any funding received from other NYU sites besides Shanghai. Provide the names of the projects, the dates of the projects, and the sources of funding.

•        Budget (if applicable)

See detailed instructions below.

Requirements

If you are selected and accept the DURF funding, you are agreeing to:

 

•       Carry out the project laid out in your proposal.

•       Meet the expectations set with your Faculty Mentor throughout the duration of the Project.

•       Follow institutional guidelines on human subjects research, if applicable to your project (see guidelines below).

•       Submit a Final Project Video that summarizes the results and lessons learned from the Project which can be put on the NYU Shanghai website. The required video length is 10 minutes for individual projects and 15 minutes for group projects.

•       Participate in all required DURF events including presenting your work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in your senior year.

•       Complete any other assessments connected to your project that DURF requires.

 

Failure to satisfy the above requirements will result in your not receiving the full DURF funding amount and ineligibility for future awards.

Funding Amount

Each selected student (regardless of whether they are working on their own or in a group) will individually receive a 6,600RMB (US$1,000) stipend, disbursed in two allotments. 3,300RMB ($500) will be provided at the beginning of the approved project period and the remaining 3,300RMB ($500)will be provided after successful submission and evaluation of the finished project. The funding is subject to all applicable taxes and does not affect financial aid.

 

There is an additional opportunity to apply for funding of a Project Budget to cover specific materials, supplies, and travel related to the project. Individual projects can apply for Project Budget funding of up to 3,300RMB ($500). Group projects can apply for Project Budget funding of up to 6,600RMB (US$1,000). To be eligible for Project Budget funding, you must submit a detailed Project Budget as part of your proposal. If you are approved for the funding, you must submit original receipts for the approved budget expenses at the end of the project period.

 

Please note: Expenses related to travel to one’s hometown or home country from another country may not be included in the Project Budget.

 
Proposal Guidelines

Writing a research proposal will help you clarify your project and will give you valuable experience for any proposal writing you may do beyond NYU Shanghai. All proposals submitted are read and evaluated by a selection committee made up of faculty from each of the disciplinary groups on campus. Your proposal will be read by someone in the discipline of your project and read by faculty members who are not necessarily familiar with that discipline. For this reason, a successful proposal will be written in such a way that an intelligent reader who is not familiar with your field can still understand the research question you are proposing and the significance of this research in a larger context. The committee should be able to understand easily what you are studying and why it is important.

 

The effectiveness of your proposal will depend on your ability to explain the nature, context and scope of the project. The selection committee will also be looking for an indication that your project will be more than just a learning experience. What does it contribute to your field that we do not already know? Please make sure to put the key question or theme of your project at the very start of the proposal. Readers should not have to search through the proposal for the answer to "What are you studying and why is it important?" Make certain that the proposal is in your words – not your professor’s words!

 

You are welcome to make an appointment to discuss your proposal before submission with the Dean who oversees your major or your project discipline, but the appointment should be made no later than March 4, 2017. The Deans are as follows:

Yuxin Chen, Dean of Business, yc18@nyu.edu

Maria Montoya, Dean of Arts & Sciences,mem22@nyu.edu

Keith Ross, Dean of Computer Science & Engineering, keithwross@nyu.edu

A Note on Human Subjects Research

At NYU Shanghai, undergraduate research projects involving human subjects must be independently submitted for NYU Shanghai University's Institutional Review Board (IRB) review prior to being conducted. If you will be working with Human Subjects at any point during your research, you must review and follow the NYU Shanghai guidelines here (Section 12.4.2). You should work with your Faculty Mentor and make sure that they are aware of their roles and responsibility, including that for projects involving IRB approval, faculty should serve as the principal investigator.

 

In your proposal, you must indicate that you understand the requirements of the IRB in your proposal and explain how you will comply with the requirements of the IRB.

 

Please find more resources here: https://research.shanghai.nyu.edu/resources

 

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Proposal Format

There are two types of proposal formats. Most students should submit Type I proposals. For students who wish to work in the Arts and Creative Humanities, Type II proposals are most appropriate. See detailed guidelines for Type 1 and Type II proposals below.

 

All students are encouraged to seek help from the Academic Resource Center (ARC) in preparing the proposal. If you are uncertain about whether Proposal Type I or Type II is most appropriate for you, you may consult the relevant Dean for your project.

 

Please see below for detailed instructions on each type of proposal.

 

Tips:

•        Remember to spell check! You are asking for money and your proposal should be a reflection of your commitment to the project.

•        You are highly encouraged to work with your Faculty Mentor on your proposal and to meet with them at least once prior to submitting the final proposal to review a draft.

Type I Proposal Instructions

Your proposal may be up to three single-spaced pages in length. We recommend using a a 12 point serif font (such as Times or Palatino). The proposal should include the following sections in order:

 

•       Title: At the top of the first page write your name and project title. Do not include a cover sheet or separate title page.

•       Abstract: A summary of your research question and your project design. Researchers typically write the abstract after they have finished writing the rest of the proposal.  Include it as the first section on the first page of your proposal.

•       Research Question and Significance: What is the question that you want to explore in your research and why is it an interesting and important question?  In thinking about the significance, try to take the position of an educated newspaper reader.  If she or he were to see an article about your research in the newspaper, how would you explain the importance of your project?  Please be sure to put this information at the start of the paragraph.

•       Project Design and Feasibility: How will you go about exploring your research question? What will be your methods and timetable? How will this research fit into your schedule?  If you are not doing this as part of a course, how will you find the time necessary to do the research?  This section allows you to use discipline-specific language to explain the details of your project.

•       Background: What courses or work experiences have prepared you to undertake this project?

•       Feedback and Evaluation: Who will provide feedback on and evaluate your project and according to what schedule and what criteria?

•       Dissemination of Knowledge: How will you share the results of your project? What form will your final report take?  Please be sure to mention Undergraduate Research Symposium which all DURF recipients are required to present at in their senior year.

•        Project Budget (Optional):If you are applying for funding for a Project Budget, include a list of all the items you propose to purchase and your best estimate of the cost of each item. You must include specific vendor information - where you plan to purchase the item(s) and how much each item costs. All expense items should be explained either in the body of your proposal or in a budget narrative included on your budget page. For example, if you are asking for funds to purchase a piece of software, is that software available through the Library or a university or public license? Does a faculty or staff member have the software that you could use? The selection committee reserves the right to disallow certain line items and frequently  approves only partial budgets.

 

Please note:

 

o   The committee rarely approves course fee and conference fee requests.

o   Travel costs must be directly related to the proposed research and fully justified; the committee rarely funds airline tickets or international travel. Expenses related to travel to one’s hometown or home country from another country may not be included in the Project Budget.

o   Equipment purchases must be fully supported in the proposal and equipment must remain the property of NYU Shanghai; state which department at NYU Shanghai will be responsible for it when you complete your project.

o   Book purchases are approved only if you can show it is impossible to get what you need from a library or on loan.

 
Type II Proposal Instructions (For Arts and Creative Humanities Topics)

Your Type II Proposal should place your project in a larger creative context, while providing specific details about your objectives, process and product, as well as the anticipated impact on your development as an artist and/or humanist. A typical problem is to offer too broad a discussion and too much personal background. The directions below are intended to help you organize your proposal and present your information in a way that balances significance and detail and meets the requirements of grant-giving agencies, including DURF.

 

Your proposal may be up to three single-spaced pages in length. We recommend using a 12 point serif font (such as Times or Palatino). The proposal should include the following sections in order:

 

•       Title: At the top of the first page write your name and project title. Do not include a cover sheet or separate title page.

 

•       Abstract: The Abstract is a brief but specific statement of the project’s objectives, methods, and impact as you as an artist, musician, and/or humanist: what you hope to accomplish, using what means and resources, and why the project is important to you, your field, and to the larger world.

 

•       Project Narrative: The project narrative is a detailed discussion of your proposed project, including the objectives, the methods you plan to use, and how your project relates and contributes to the particular creative field(s). Below are some questions to help you get started:

 

o   What makes your project original?

o   Why is it important that you undertake this project?

o   Objective or goal: What do you want to achieve?

o   Conceptual approach: How are you approaching this project?

o   Issues: What concern, problem, or need will the work address?

o   Approach: What medium and genre will you be using and why are they appropriate for this work?

o   Vision: What is your vision for the final project?

 

You should also describe how the proposed work fits into and advances the field’s current creative context and conversation. For example:

 

o   What are the sources of inspiration for this project?

o   How does it build on or differ from past or current work by others in the field and/or related fields?

o   In what specific ways will this work advance the current creative context and conversation?

 

•       Project Process: Describe the process involved with the project.

 

o   How do you plan to accomplish the project?

o   Provide a detailed timeline, including:

o   Pre-production research

o   Production schedule itemizing tasks and allocating time

o   Post-production, if applicable

 

•       Outcomes: Outline the outcomes of your project. Here are some questions to think about and address:

o   Benefit to the artist and humanist: How will this project/product enhance your interests and skills, directions and opportunities for further work?

o   Exhibition/Presentation: In addition to the Undergraduate Research Symposium in your senior year, how, where and when do you plan to present your work? If no additional exhibition is planned, how will you disseminate the knowledge gained from the project?

 

•       Supporting Materials: Please include some supporting materials to clarify the proposal. These include prior art or creative work; links to online documentation; music compositions; sketches of proposed work; preliminary research; archive information, etc.

 

•       Project Budget (Optional): If you are applying for funding for a Project Budget, include a list of all the items you propose to purchase and your best estimate of the cost of each item. You must include specific vendor information - where you plan to purchase the item(s) and how much each item costs. All expense items should be explained either in the body of your proposal or in a budget narrative included on your budget page. For example, if you are asking for funds to purchase a piece of software, is that software available through the Library or a university or public license? Does a faculty or staff member have the software that you could use? The selection committee reserves the right to disallow certain line items and frequently approves only partial budgets.

 

Please note:

 

o   The committee rarely approves course fee and conference fee requests.

o   Travel costs must be directly related to the proposed research and fully justified; the committee rarely funds airline tickets or international travel. Expenses related to travel to one’s hometown or home country from another country may not be included in the Project Budget.

o   Equipment purchases must be fully supported in the proposal and equipment must remain the property of NYU Shanghai; state which department at NYU Shanghai will be responsible for it when you complete your project.

o   Book purchases are approved only if you can show it is impossible to get what you need from a library or on loan.

Submitting the Video

Please submit a Project Video that summarizes the progress, results and lessons learned from the research project. The required video length is 10 minutes for individual projects and 15 minutes for group projects. Since the DURF program supports research projects in various disciplines, we do not have specific requirements on what the video should look like. Please determine what to include in the video as you deem appropriate, and make sure you tell your research story. We understand that you may not be able to complete your project by the end of July, but please work with your faculty mentor to include the progress and current findings of the project in the video.

Please click here for the guideline of using Camstudio to create screencasts, and for Apple users, you could use Quicktime. You could also refer to the example videos below.

Sample Videos:

Quantifying stock volatility using sentiment analysis

Predicting diabetic retinopathy

μMail: a Chrome extension for Gmail

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much funding can I get for doing summer research in DURF?

If you get selected for DURF research funding, you will receive 6,600RMB (1,000USD) stipend, disbursed in two allotments. 3,300RMB (500USD) will be provided at the beginning of the approved project period and the remaining 3,300RMB (500USD) will be provided after successful submission and evaluation of the finished project. This 6,600RMB (1,000USD) stipend can be used to cover your room & board, transportation, and other personal costs associated with your research.

There is an additional opportunity to apply for Project Budget funding  (up to 3,300RMB (500USD for individual projects and 6,600RMB (1,000USD) for group projects) to cover specific materials, supplies, and travel related to the project. To be eligible for Project Budget funding, you must submit a detailed Project Budget as part of your proposal.

2. Will DURF provide housing for students who want to stay in Shanghai this summer?

We will not provide housing this year as we already provide the research stipend. If you want to stay in dorm in Shanghai for the summer, please contact Residential Life. The rate for summer housing can be found on Bursar's website. Please be aware that the housing rate is per 6-week period.

3. Can non-NYU Shanghai faculty be the Faculty Mentor for students' DURF research?

All current professors in the NYU Global Network can serve as Faculty Mentors for students' DURF research. Please note that faculty mentor should oversee no more than two projects during the summer.

4. Is there a specific timeline for students to conduct the research?

The DURF research timeline is relatively flexible because we want to give students more freedom in terms of conducting research. You could start your DURF research as soon as getting the approval from us and ideally complete the research in Summer 2017. Your DURF research can go longer than the summer but if the timeline for the project extends beyond the summer it needs to be stated clearly in the proposal what the end date is and why. Last but not least, you do need to present your research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in your senior year.

DURF 2016

The 2016 DURF recipients have completed the following projects:

# Research Project
1 A Framework for Implementing More General-Purposed Artificial Intelligence (AI) Agent Using Monte Carlo Tree Search and Multiple Levels of Cooperating Neural Networks
2 A Unified Approach to Characterization of the Myerson Value and the Shapley Value Through Application of the Mobius Functions
3 Application of Deep Learning in Diagnosing Heart Disease
4 Application of Klein Bottle in Virtual Reality Maze
5 Asymmetric Dominance Effect in Two-Person Zero-Sum Games with Unique Mixed-Strategy Solution
6 Becoming the "Other": An Investigation into How Racial/National Identity Can Affect the Ways Expats in China Respond to Feelings of "Otherness"
7 Bring "Where" to "What": Integrating Attention into Convolutional Neural Net Based On Neuroscience Insights
8 Can Our Minds Influence Our Behavior
9 Characterizing HIV Risk Factors Among Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) Who Use the Geosocial-networking Application Jack'd in Shanghai, China
10 China and the New Orientalism of Ferdinand Marcos: Examining Asian Identity and Rhetoric in the Marcos Visits to China
11 Comparative Network Analysis of Twitter and VKontakte on the Spread of Information
12 Credit Ratings in China: What Are the Standards and Are They Effective
13 Designing New Deep Neural Networks Activation Functions with Computational Neuroscience
14 Dynamic Study of DNA Using UV Spectroscopy
15 Education Environment in Fujian's Neilong Village Primary School: A Case Study
16 Effective Inhibitors for Cyclin-dependent Kinase 6 (CDK6) in Cell Cycle
17 Entrepreneurial Tendency in China: The Effect of Government's Support and Policies
18 Eye Movement Tracking Control System for Robot Automation
19 Go Beyond the CAPM: An Empirical Test in China's Stock Market
20 Inclusive Growth in China: Multi-perspective Analysis on the Impact of City Scale on Employment Rate
21 Insights on Video Game Industry: A Complete Economic Entity and Its Significance in Future Digital Market
22 Intelligent Measurement of Post-Rehabilitation Patients' Condition
23 Investigation of Invasion Percolation Behavior in Three-Dimensional Space
24 Mapping Identity onto "Home": An Interactive Poetry Reading
25 Mathematical Analysis of Reinforced Random Walk: Understanding of Formation of Long-Term Behavioral Patterns
26 Mathematical Models of Polymers and Self-Avoiding Walk
27 Measurement Based Quantum Cellular Automata
28 Mechanism Comparison Between Different Timescales of Human Discounting Behavior
29 Mediated Campaigns: social media presence in and out of the establishment
30 Mobile Payment in China: Factors behind Rapid Development
31 Narrative Techniques in Virtual Reality
32 Natural Language Processing: Context-based Thesaurus
33 Observing Protein Interactions of Cell Cycle Related Genes by CRISPR/Cas9 & FRET Technology
34 Opposition and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Organization and Influence of the Anti-TTIP Movement in the Netherlands
35 Performance and Value of Soccer Players
36 Personalized Difficulty Assessment and Recommendation of Texts for Foreign Language Learners
37 Public Education Reform in Azerbaijan
38 Quantum Computing with Atomic Chips
39 Regulation of Economic Decision-Making by Physical Exercise under Cortisone-induced Stress in Rodent Models
40 Simulation of Transonic Waves at Low/Moderate Speed on Soap Film
41 Sleep Less, Smile More-An Investigation of the Role of Sleep Deprivation in Modulating Depressive-like Behavior
42 The Collapse and Reconstruction of Belief: Myth Image in Seventeenth-Century Chinese Drama
43 The Cultural Driver in Chinese-African Relationship: The Possibility of a Shared "Victim Mentality" Contributing to Chinese-African Solidarity
44 The Impact of Microblog Marketing on User Behavior in Financial Industry: Take Domestic Securities Companies as an Example
45 The Influence of Cultural Background on Social Participation of International College Students in Shanghai
46 The Korean American Self: The Lack of Belongingness Creating an Identity
47 The Story of Waimai: Investigating Ele.me as a Two-side Business Through Analytics
48 The Use of Financial Derivatives to Manage Exchange Rate Risks in Chinese Commercial Banks
49 Towards New Quantum Technologies with Ultracold Atoms in An Optical Cavity
50 Training Deep Network as a "rat" to Study the Dynamics of Neural Activity
51 Translating Sacred Architectures into the Virtual
52 Using Social Media to Map the Chinese Diaspora
53 VR Experience of 20th Century Chinese and Western Collision in Architecture

The 2015 DURF projects can be found here: PDF iconDURF 2015 Projects.pdf