The School of Social Ecology along with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program announced the launch of the Inter-Disciplinary Summer Undergraduate Research Experience. With the deadline approaching, the program is calling for proposals for student research projects for the upcoming summer.
As a program under the UROP umbrella, the program funds UCI undergraduates from all disciplines who show interest and commitment in conducting research that relates to health promotion.
‘The thrust of this program is interdisciplinary training for undergraduates and research experience,’ explained Daniel Stokols, professor of Planning, Policy and Design and co-investigator of ID-SURE. ‘And the focus is heath promotion and disease prevention.’
UROP is glad to collaborate with the School of Social Ecology by providing its experience in assisting students with undergraduate research.
‘We want students to explore their interests and turn them into a passion, something that they can speak about with confidence,’ commented Said Shokair, director of UROP.
Furthermore, Shokair emphasized the importance of the interdisciplinary aspect of the program.
‘Research, in general, is moving in the direction of interdisciplinary,’ Shokair said. ‘You see that in the way where faculties are forming alliances across different schools. All knowledge is valuable and we need to have an appreciation for that.’
The National Institutes of Health Roadmap Initiative, designed to encourage interdisciplinary research, supports the funding for this program.
As one out of the five schools that receives funding from the NIH, ID-SURE expects to receive a total of approximately $60,000 in the next three years. Every summer, ID-SURE plans to select between 30 to 35 students from the applicant pool to participate in the program. Each student will receive up to $2,400 stipend in an eight-week period or an equivalent of 320 of hours research.
The student involvement of the program, however, is not limited to the summer.
‘They will be involved, not just in the summer research internships where they will work with a faculty member and write up the project by the end of the summer and probably present it at a mini conference, but they will also take a core course in the spring called The Social Ecology of Health Promotion,’ Stokols said.
The course will provide knowledge in the principles of health promotion, interdisciplinary research and design and evaluations of health programs.
For those who want to participate in the program, ID-SURE requires students to submit a proposal outlining their research topic. The application can be submitted through the UROP Web site as well as to the Health Promotion Center until Jan. 31. From the pool of applicants, a panel of five judges will then select participants for the program.
‘We are trying to be very broad in terms of what proposals students bring to us and [be] very open to approaches from any discipline,’ Stokols explained.
In order to help students draft their proposals, UROP will present a research proposal-writing workshop on Jan. 18. The two-hour seminar will assist students not only in drafting their proposals but also guiding them in a direction of comprehensive research.
Students who already receive stipends or funding for research related to public health can consider applying for the ID-SURE honorary fellowships.
These fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis where students will not receive funding for their research but instead will be recognized as a part of the program.
Shokair encourages students to participate actively in undergraduate research.
‘The skills and the benefits that can be gained from doing research are incredible,’ Shokair said.