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New competitive research opportunities for U of T Scarborough undergraduates

The Undergraduate Research Forum is appropriate for UTSC undergraduates who are in the latter or final stages of a research or creative project, have at least preliminary results to report, and are ready to publicly present their work in a juried setting.

The University of Toronto is well-known for its dynamic research environment, and U of T Scarborough in particular is committed to fostering opportunities for undergraduates to have research experiences.  The UTSC Library and Vice-Principal Research office are launching two programs this term—an Undergraduate Research Prize and an Undergraduate Research Forum—to recognize and inspire students. 

Shelley Romoff sat down with Chief Librarian Victoria Owen to learn more about the new programs.

Why are the UTSC Library and VPR launching these programs?

We know that exposure to research, received early on and often, enriches the undergraduate experience. The benefits are numerous and far reaching—students better understand published works, learn to balance teamwork and individual work, find out what subjects really inspire them—some even jump start their careers.

Our students are looking for more ways to get involved in research and these initiatives align the students’ needs with the University’s priorities.  Both research initiatives are competitive, adjudicated programs that give students a chance to gain experience disseminating their work to an academic community, share their research experience with peers, and develop their presentation skills. 

As the Library, we want to recognize the outstanding research, scholarship and creative endeavours—the information-seeking activities—that our students are engaged in.

We’re thrilled to partner with the Vice-Principal Research on these programs, and we’re excited to showcase the students’ creative and extensive use of the Library’s collections.

I would like to note that there is a third opportunity for UTSC students to be recognized for their work, and that is the tri-campus U of T Libraries Undergraduate Research Award.  It’s also a new program this year, and is available to students across the University.

How will students be recognized?

Each program offers cash awards.  In the case of the Undergraduate Research Prize, there will be up to three prizes of $1,000.  The Undergraduate Research Forum will offer cash awards to first, second and third place winners, $1000, $500 and $250, respectively.

Students will receive a Certificate of Participation, and will be invited to have their research posted on TSpace.

How can students participate?

The Undergraduate Research Forum will be March 8th, so the deadlines are fast approaching.  Students need to submit an abstract, and a letter of reference from a faculty member by February 8th.  A selection committee will review the abstracts, and select up to 24 students to participate in the poster forum. Those selected will prepare by participating in workshops, including a required research skills workshop, and by working with their liaison librarians. 

Submitting work to be considered for the Undergraduate Research Prize is a slightly different process.  Students need to complete an online form and submit a one-page description of their project, along with a reference letter from a faculty member and a statement by a liaison librarian who is familiar with the student’s engagement in the research process. 

The deadline for UTSC Undergraduate Research Prize submissions is April 27th at 5:00 pm EDT. 

The process for submitting to the tri-campus UTL Undergraduate Research Prize is similar, and that deadline is April 30th at 5:00 EDT.

Who is eligible?

The UTSC Undergraduate Research Prize is open to all UTSC students currently identified on ROSI as having completed their first year of study. Students must be the principal investigator. Assignments or research projects must have been completed during the Spring 2015/Summer 2015, Fall 2015 or Winter 2016 terms.  Applicants must also demonstrate meaningful engagement with their liaison librarian, for example, active participation in course research workshops or in-depth research consultations. 

The Undergraduate Research Forum is appropriate for UTSC undergraduates who are in the latter or final stages of a research or creative project, have at least preliminary results to report, and are ready to publicly present their work in a juried setting.

What projects are eligible?

Projects can take the form of a traditional paper, database development, a website, lab or clinical research investigation, photography, film/video, product or prototype development, mapping or GIS, artwork, or a digital project.

What do you think the take-away will be from these programs?

All of us in the UTSC Library are fortunate to see—on a regular basis—the exceptional sophistication and originality in research initiatives at UTSC.  We are thrilled that the UTSC Library’s and the Office of the Vice-Principal Research have this program that will bring attention and recognition to the research endeavours of our talented undergraduates.  

Where can I find more information?

Full details are available on the Undergrad Research Events and Prizes page.

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