RAB Grant Research at Brown
Research at Brown (RAB) grants support student-initiated
projects. Applicants can seek up to $500 of funding. Most
grantees will be awarded less than $500, although in some
exceptional cases (see below) awards may equal or exceed $500.
We support research and travel to present papers at conferences,
although other kinds of creative projects may be funded if
resources are available.
Examples of Support Available Through RAB:
- Materials for a student research project, as long as
those materials are not available to the student through
existing laboratories or facilities at Brown. For example,
in the past students have needed supplies to conduct a specific
experiment, but the laboratory in which they were working
did not have the supplies and did not have a budget to purchase
- Travel to a museum, library, laboratory, observatory,
or other research center, when materials or data are not
available at Brown or through interlibrary loan. For example,
a student conducting historical research may have to go
to a town courthouse or town hall to look up deeds and other
- Funding for materials for thesis-related work, when the
department does not have these materials or cannot pay for
these materials out of their budget.
- Travel to conferences to present papers and/or posters.
Funding is intended to partially cover costs of travel,
registration fees, and limited per diem expenses. For travel
grants submit the entire proposed budget, even if it is
more than $500. We know that travel and conference fees
can be expensive, so in some cases grants may exceed the
- Travel to attend a conference and not present a paper.
The conference must be closely related to a research project.
Proposals will be considered for funding if money is still
available after material cost grants, paper presentation
and research travel grants have been decided. These proposals
require specificity and a clearly stated rationale for the
particular value of a conference to the advancement of a
research project. In some cases we have supported travel
for students who have attended an advanced research conference
with their faculty advisors.
- Students often think that grants are for scientists.
We welcome proposals from the arts and humanities as well.
Funding is not available to:
- Support salary for a student. (See UTRA for salary support
for research at http://www.brown.edu/Administration/Dean_of_the_College/ug_res/UTRA.html
Note: Students at Brown (as at most schools) cannot get
both credit and pay for the same research hours.
- Reimbursement for expenses already incurred. Support
is only for research planned or in progress.
- Pay for computers, hard-drives, or servers.
- Pay for expensive travel and accommodations when less
expensive options are available.
5. Pay for expensive equipment items such as DV cameras,
editors, and video projectors. If demand for such items
exists, we will purchase one of each for students to share.
Grants are evaluated using the following criteria:
- Explanation of project: Is the proposal well written,
interesting, and relatively easy for non-specialists in
the field (our reviewers) to understand?
- Importance to the field: How important is the
project in terms of its contribution to new knowledge, or
to service to Brown or the wider community?
- Importance to the student: How vital is the proposed
project to the educational mission of the student?
- Faculty support: Although in some rare cases we
will consider projects that have no faculty involvement,
generally we expect that a successful grant proposal will
come with strong faculty endorsement.
- Timeliness: Will funding at this moment provide
just what the student needs at this time in his or her academic
career? Will it help the student get a new endeavor off
the ground? Will it provide what is needed to acquire data
critical to a research project? Will it help the student
wrap up an ongoing project?
- Creativity: Project ideas that are especially
creative will catch the attention of the reviewers.
- Student Initiated: The RAB Committee is looking
for projects that are generated by students, although of
course faculty members can help them refine their ideas.
To apply for a RAB grant, submit your proposal here:
Once you have submitted your proposal, the computer will
automatically e-mail a copy of your proposal to your professor/advisor/mentor.
She or he will then be directed to another website to submit
a faculty letter of support. Once both the proposal and the
letter of support are submitted electronically, the entire
package of information is delivered to the RAB Committee.
The Committee meets once each semester, immediately after
the deadlines. Applicants are notified of their proposal's
status within ten days of the deadline. (For the 2002-2003
academic year the deadlines are November 2 and February 22.)
Please note that students may submit a proposal anytime, but
the Committee reserves the right to consider them only at
the semi-annual reviews. In urgent cases, for example when
a student learns that a paper is accepted at a conference
with just a few weeks notice, contact either the RAB assistant,
Jan Cal or the RAB
David Targan. In such cases we will speed up the proposal
review process by routing copies of your proposal to the Committee
members for consideration.
Students may apply as part of a team, but each member of the
team must submit their own electronic proposal independently.
If you are applying as a team, please indicate the names of
the other team members in your project title.
If you do not receive a RAB grant you are free to see Dean
Targan to discuss the rationale for our decision, and whether
a new and revised submission is appropriate. Some RAB applicants
have received funding after re-submitting their proposals
after learning more about the proposal and review process.
We are sorry to say that we cannot support every worthy proposal-
this grant pool is very competitive and funding is limited.
Nevertheless, we encourage you to apply for this grant if
you think your proposal merits consideration.
Those receiving awards must submit a report to Janice Cal
upon completion of the project. This report can include text
and pictures, or can be simply an abstract. We need this report
for our annual report to donors who have contributed to this
fund so that we can sustain funding for future Brown students.
Students are encouraged to report publicly on their work in
their department, in Brown's annual summer research symposium,
or in other appropriate venues in the University for sharing
and celebrating research. Ideally, the grantee will create
an appropriate web site to disseminate information about the
project, both the process and final product. For assistance
in creating such a website, examples of websites created using
past RAB support, or any questions whatsoever regarding the
RAB grants, please contact Dean Targan. He can be reached
by telephone: X3-2314, e-mail (Targan@Physics.Brown.edu)
or by coming to his open hours in UH 206. (For the 2002-2003
academic year they are every Thursday 2 to 4 pm.)