Illinois State’s Office of Student Research is currently accepting applications for two grant programs dedicated to supporting student research and creative activities.

Both graduate and undergraduate students are eligible to apply for the new BirdFEEDER (Funds for Experimentation, Enquiry, and the Development of Student Research) grants. These grants will provide students with up to $500 to buy research supplies and cover research-related travel expenses. The deadline to apply is February 25, 2022, for funds to be used this semester.

Dr. Gina Hunter, director of the Office of Student Research, said she created the program, in part, because students asking her to support projects like building a musical instrument or researching at an archives, for which she had no funds. She said the program also offers a much-needed additional source of internal funds for graduate students.

“This could enhance both undergraduate and graduate student research,” Hunter said.

The deadline to apply for the office’s FIREbird (Fund for Independent Research Experience) grant program, which was formerly known as the Undergraduate Research Grant Program (URSP), for summer 2022 is also quickly approaching. These grants provide students up to $3,000 to conduct a research project with a faculty mentor. The deadline to apply for the grant is February 4, 2022.

The FIREbird grant summer program supports undergraduate students, who may not have time during the school year to dedicate to an intensive research project. Students can use the money as a salary and to buy research supplies and cover research-related travel expenses.

“It gives them an opportunity to do research that they otherwise may not have,” Hunter said.

This program typically supports 12–20 students each funding cycle, but Hunter hopes to increase this number now that the allocation has been decreased from $5,000.

Through a partnership between the Office of Student Research and the Center for a Sustainable Water Future, one BirdFEEDER and one FIREbird grant will solely go to fund a water-related research project.

Later this semester, the office will be soliciting applications for FIREbird and BirdFEEDER grants for the fall 2022 semester. Students who have questions about how to apply for the grants can contact Office of Student Research Director Gina Hunter or graduate assistant Sam Bruner.

Students can also apply for research support from off-campus sources through the Office of Student Research’s partnership with the national Student Opportunity Center (SOC). The office is hosting a workshop from 4–5 p.m. February 2, via Zoom explaining how students can use the SOC to find research opportunities and internships.

FIREbird grant

  • What: Up to $3,000 to fund an intensive research project with a faculty mentor
  • Eligibility: Undergraduate students
  • When: Summer 2022
  • Application deadline: February 4, 2022

BirdFEEDER grant

  • What: Up to $500 for research-related expenses
  • Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students
  • When: Spring 2022
  • Application deadline: February 25, 2022