Student research fund provides opportunities

For students planning any type of research and need funding, the Creative and Scholarly Research Fund was created for exactly that purpose—to enhance opportunities for undergraduate students at Mercyhurst College.

According to the Mercyhurst Portal, “The intent of the program is to promote professional development, especially through presenting completed research projects in academic environments.”

The funding priorities of the research fund are covering travel expenses to present completed research at a professional research conference or to present/perform an artistic creation, covering research expenses incurred during the research process and covering non-travel related research expenses such as expendable materials.

The fund is not limited to research projects alone. Associate professor of psychology Gerard Barron, Ph.D., said students in many diverse areas of study have applied for and received funding, such as dance, political science, art therapy, psychology, biology, criminal justice, intelligence studies, education and religious studies.

A fund like this is a great help to students who are planning to carry out a research project or a special performance.

“I believe this fund is a vital resource for students who may otherwise not have the funds for travel to a professional conference to present their research, or to fund a dance performance, or to mount an exhibition of their work,” Barron said.

“Such experiences can be crucial for career development by demonstrating vital competencies and establishing one’s professional credentials.”

Creating a proposal for a research project can seem intimidating to students who have never done so before. According to the Office of Sponsored Research, it is best to begin by thinking in general terms about any research and project interests, as well as the purpose of the project.

Senior Catherine Nicka was awarded grant money last school year.

“The process is easy, and it definitely helped a lot. With the money, I was able to present a poster on my research in Boston, and without the money, it would have never happened,” she said. “It’s good experience, and something to put on your resume.”

Because there is a limited amount of money in the student research fund each year, every proposal may not be funded, or may receive only a partial amount.

“In the two years I’ve been on this committee, I’ve seen the number of requests for funding by students grow, and that trend has continued this year,” Barron said.

“While the maximum amount of an award is $300, the number of deserving requests we received last term was such that we could not award the full amount and still have funds remaining for this term’s requests. Through increased awareness of this resource by students and subsequent increased demand, we can try to build a case to increase the amount budgeted by administration for this fund.”

Students interested in applying for this fund should submit a completed proposal form to Barron at The final review of proposals will take place after the deadline, which is April 26.

For more information or to complete a proposal form, students can go to the Portal’s ‘student’ tab, where the Creative and Scholarly Research Fund link is located.