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College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Student Research and Conference Grants

If you're an undergraduate student studying in a major within our College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, we have some grants that can support your research projects or your participation in a conference presentation.

Research Grants

Do you have ideas for an independent research project in your area of academic interest? Have you covered a topic in class that grabbed your interest, but there was no time to dive into it? Are you working with a faculty member on a research study outside of your traditional coursework? We want to support you!

First, discuss your ideas with a faculty member. They can serve as a mentor in helping you to refine your focus and learn more about the process for conducting a quality research study. Once you have your research focus and methodology solidified, consider applying for a College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Research Grant to support your endeavors. Use this Student Research Grant Application Form.

Be sure to visit the FAQs section to learn more about grant requirements and the application process.

Conference Grants

Have you been accepted to present a paper or lead a workshop at an academic conference? If so, you might be eligible for financial support for your conference registration, travel, accommodations, and more!

Use this Student Conference Grant Application Form to apply for funding. Be sure to visit the FAQs section to learn more about conference funding eligibility

Guidelines for Students and Mentors

As you prepare to draft and submit your College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Grant Application, or to serve as a mentor to a student as they engage in research, keep in mind the following guidelines. 

  • Research involving human participants

    College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students engaged in research involving human participants are asked to complete Human Subject Certification. Mentors and mentees should work together to ensure the student successfully completes this certification. The student will be asked to upload a copy of the certificate to the grant application.

    College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students engaged in research involving human participants are asked to include a proper Institutional Review Board approval letter within the grant application. Mentors and mentees should work together to ensure the student successfully completes and uploads a copy of the approval letter to the online grant application.

  • Research involving animals

    College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students engaged in any type of intrusive research involving vertebrate animals must include documentation of approval through an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, per federal guidelines. Lesley University does not have its own committee, therefore, committee approval must be gained through collaborations or affiliations with other institutions that do have committees.

    If such approval cannot be obtained, then students may only apply for studies on vertebrate animals that are strictly non-intrusive (such as purely observational studies of wild animals or animals housed in other facilities such as zoos). Committee approval is not required for studies done on invertebrate animals, however the CLAS research grant review committee maintains the right to review such studies for ethical treatment and minimized sampling numbers of such animals.

  • Mentors and students working together

    Mentors and students should meet to review the student's grant application prior to final submission. As many of our College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students are engaging in research and grant writing for the first time, it is helpful to have a faculty mentor serve as reviewer prior to the final submission process.

    Students should clearly articulate their role, as well as their mentor’s role within the research or conference presentation process. The committee would like a clear understanding of who will be responsible for which elements and steps within the research or presentation process.

    Students and mentors should work together to identify cost-effective resources, travel, accommodations, etc. as they formulate the anticipated expenses involved within the research and/or conference travel. As the committee is allotted a fixed budget each academic year, we are eager to distribute funding among as many students as possible. It is important that students engage in cost analysis and comparison when designing the anticipated cost of the study or presentation

  • Completing the application

    Students should ensure that each aspect of the application is completed before submitting the application for review. Make sure that ideas are clearly articulated to avoid confusion throughout the review process. Remember that committee member’s might not have a background or research focus in application's noted area of study. Therefore, limit jargon and clarify any area specific language or ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the research process, research grants and how to get financial support for your research. 

  • Research involving people

    Q: “My research involves working with people. Do I need special approval to do my research?” 

    A: Yes! Any work involving people, or human “subjects,” requires Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval and human subject certification. Speak with your faculty mentor about completing the necessary certification process, and obtaining IRB approvals for your anticipated research. All applications indicating research with people (interviews, surveys, observation, etc.) will not be considered for funding unless accompanied by documentation of IRB approval.

  • Institutional Review Board and Human Subject Certification

    Q: I am eager to conduct research, but unfamiliar with Institutional Review Board  and Human Subject Certification. Where can I go to learn more about this process?”

     

    A: An important first step is to talk to your faculty mentor. With your mentor, consider reviewing the Institutional Review Board (IRB) guidelines and application process on Lesley’s website. If you have specific questions about the application, please contact irb@lesley.edu.

  • Research with faculty at another university/institution

    Q: “My research involves work with faculty at another university/institution. How might this impact my application?

    A: Students conducting research with faculty at other institutions should also find a Lesley faculty member to act as co-mentor, in order to have someone on campus to check in with. This may be someone whose interests/expertise are similar even if not exactly the same as the research topic.

  • Research for academic purposes

    Q: “I am conducting research for a project in one of my courses/seminars/independent study/capstone. Would this research qualify for College of Liberal Arts Research Grant funding?”

    A: At this time, such research would not qualify for grant funding. However, any research conducted outside of course requirements is eligible for funding. Students can apply to continue working on or expand on a research project that was started as part of a course after the course is completed.

  • Research involving animals

    Q: “I am conducting research that involves animals. Do I need special approval to apply for grant funding for this research?”

    A: Any manipulative, experimental or in any way intrusive research work involving vertebrate animals requires approval through an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) per federal guidelines. Lesley University does not have its own committee  therefore no intrusive studies involving vertebrate animals can be done through Lesley. If Lesley students or their research mentors can gain committee approval for proposed research projects through collaborations or affiliations with other institutions that do have committees, students may submit proof of this approval along with their application in order to apply for Lesley funding. If such approval cannot be obtained, then students may only apply for studies on vertebrate animals that are strictly non-intrusive (such as purely observational studies of wild animals or animals housed in other facilities such as zoos). Committee approval is not required for studies done on invertebrate animals, however the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences research grant review committee maintains the right to review such studies for ethical treatment and minimized sampling numbers of such animals

  • Funding for research

    Q: “If I don’t get funding for my research, can I reapply?”

    A: Absolutely! Applications that are denied funding are returned to the applicant with detailed feedback regarding the noted submission. Students are encouraged to review the feedback, make revisions, and reapply by the next due date.

     

    Q: "Can I apply for grant funding if I will be graduating or leaving my program prior to the conference event or research study engagement?”

    A: No. You must be currently enrolled as a College of Liberal of Arts and Sciences or Center for the Adult Learner student at the time of the grant request and disbursement.

  • Financial support for research conferences.

    Q: “I will not be presenting at a conference, but would like financial support to attend a conference. Should I apply for conference funding?”

    A: No. Unfortunately, at this time we are only providing financial assistant to students who are presenting at a conference

     

    Q: “I am conducting research and also planning to present my research at a conference. Can I apply for both the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Research Grant and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Conference Grant?”

    A: At this time, we ask that students only apply for one grant per academic year. For this reason, you would apply for either the research grant OR the conference grant if applying in the same academic year.

     

    Q: “Can I receive funding for an international conference opportunity?”

    A: Yes! But, as with domestic travel, we may only be able to cover a part of your expenses. International conference travel can receive up to $850.

  • Paying for research

    Q: “If I spend out of pocket for my research or for conference attendance, will I be reimbursed?”

    A: Maybe. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Grants Committee has to evaluate all applications carefully and typically cannot fund all requests. If you spend out of pocket before receiving funding, we are not able to guarantee reimbursement for expenses.

     

    Q: “Can my faculty mentor or another faculty member pay out of pocket for my research or conference attendance and be reimbursed?”

    A: No. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Grants Committee is not authorized for reimburse faculty for costs associated with student research and/or conference participation.

Helpful Tips: 

Apply early!

Note posted deadlines. Applications submitted after a noted deadline will need to be considered in the next round of application submissions.

Need IRB approval? Seek it early!

Know that Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval can take more than 6 weeks to receive, and often requires revisions throughout the process.

Read instructions carefully.

Failure to follow noted instructions might result in a request for revision or re-submission of your application at a later date.

Be thorough

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS Grant Committee is eager to review your application, but asks that you provide thoughtful, detailed responses to each of the questions contained within the online application.

Engage your mentor!

Please plan to work with your mentor to draft, revise, and finalize your application before submitting it for review and consideration. You will produce a stronger application as a result.