Faculty Mentored Summer Undergraduate Research and Scholarship
Supporting the Anthony J. Sakowich Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SCURCA) Program and Building Scholarship Capacity


The 2019-2020 Provost Innovation Fund (PIF) is focused on supporting faculty-led research projects and initiatives that deeply involve undergraduate students.  The PIF will provide fresh resources to continue the growth of Merrimack’s faculty research efforts as well as to help build a signature summer research program and experience for our undergraduate students.  

For 2019-2020, the PIF will support the Anthony J. Sakowich Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SCURCA), which provides on-campus summer research experiences for undergraduate students and faculty regardless of academic discipline. The mission of SCURCA is to bring faculty-mentored undergraduate research work on campus under a single umbrella and unified structure to promote meaningful scholarship, interdisciplinary engagement, and embedded development activities. The Program is able to offer support for student researchers, thanks to the support of a Sakowich Family Foundation gift.

All proposals for this funding round will be required to include faculty and student participation in the 6-week, SCURCA Program, which will run for 6-weeks from May 20th to June 28th 2019 (it essentially overlaps with Summer Session I). SCURCA involves more than just students engaged in faculty-mentored research across all five Schools. Students will participate in a range of programs during the 6-week program, including:

  • Career Advising: Letting Your Research Work for You
  • Human Subjects Research: Ethics, Policies and Guidelines
  • Writing for My Research
  • End of Summer Research Symposium and Celebration of Success
  • Guest Speakers/Researchers
  • Social Events/Field Trips

It is also important to note that for all accepted applications, there will be an expectation that the work plan proposed will include the faculty mentor(s) working with the Office of Sponsored Programs to seek and apply for external funding to support the faculty research/scholarship program after the completion of the summer program. Some other key parameters of the 2019-20 PIF are noted below.

  • The PIF program will provide one-time funding matched to the proposal needs; no monies can be used for course releases
  • All applications must include at least two undergraduate students for each faculty member
  • Proposals that involve faculty teams working on joint projects incorporating different but integrated disciplinary approaches are encouraged
  • Awards may not be used for redundant funding of pre-existing grants/awards to Departments, Schools, or the College
  • A reasonable proportion of the awards may be used for the SCURCA Program and it appropriate, additional summer salary
  • Awards may be used to purchase equipment/supplies essential to the project
  • A clear and concise rationale that outlines the implementation and evaluation of the impact of the project will be required
  • Awardees will be expected to work with the Office of Sponsored Programs to write and submit a proposal for continued funding or research/scholarship support

Funding Level

Based on the generosity of the Sakowich Family and the Provost Innovation Fund, we are able to offer both faculty and student salaries for the Program.  Faculty will be paid up to $4,400 for participation in the 6-week SCURCA Program and could be paid more if research is continued over the summer with undergraduates.  Students will be paid based on a set hourly wage of $14.25/hr and students must work between 10 and 32 hours per week.  Under this scenario, students could earn up to $2,736 during the 6-week program.  All accepted students also will have the option of on-campus housing during the 6-week Program, if required.

  • Students will receive payment as a Research or Project Assistant. The student payments are taxable to the extent described by the IRS, but taxes will not be withheld.
  • Student salaries should be calculated based on working between 10 to 32 hours /week at an hourly rate of $14.25.
  • Stipends will be paid to the students bi-weekly.
  • Faculty payments will be made at the full conclusion of the SCURCA Program.

Applicants will be invited to the Provost’s Office to discuss their proposal and budget.


Any and all single or collaborative groups of full-time faculty are eligible to submit an application.  As noted above, all faculty applying for projects will need to demonstrate that the project has longer-term scholarship potential and fully integrates undergraduate students.

How to Apply

Complete this downloadable application (doc).

Application Deadline

Completed applications are due by Friday, February 15, 2019. Each applicant will be contacted by email as to the status of their application after the review is completed.  For more information, please contact Dr. Jon Lyon, Vice Provost (lyonj@merrimack.edu).

Current Recipients