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Each GC scholar must participate in a substantial team or independent project relating to a Grand Challenge theme or specific Grand Challenge problem.–NAE

UMBC is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research University with High Research Activity. With over $75 million per year in research expenditures, we are particularly proud of the extent to which undergraduates benefit from and contribute to our broad research portfolio. As the #6 university for undergraduate teaching (US News), we see involvement in research as a core part of the educational experience we provide our students. 

Accordingly, UMBC invests heavily in fostering undergraduate research experiences. For our newer students who are not yet ready to propose their own research projects, we provide support to faculty in the form of Undergraduate Research Assistantship Support (URAS) grants, which can be used to support undergraduate research assistants in their first two years at UMBC. When students are ready to propose their own mentored research projects, they are encouraged to apply for grants in our Undergraduate Research Award (URA) program. We organize an annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD), at which several hundred students and student teams present their research as a poster or oral presentation.

All GCSP Scholars are expected to complete mentored research on topic related to their selected Grand Challenge, and to present their completed GC-related research at URCAD.  Scholars completing Gold experiences are also expected to prepare and submit a research report to a publication venue such as an academic journal or conference, the UMBC Review (student research journal), or a regional student conference.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for the Research program element are based on a set of objectives that have been developed at UMBC to assess the learning of URA recipients, and on the Critical Agency AFC. The six core research learning objectives are:

  • Effective Communication: Express ideas in an organized, clear, concise, and accurate manner.
  • Disciplinary Communication: Write clearly and effectively in discipline-specific formats.
  • Creativity: Effectively connect multiple ideas and approaches.
  • Practice and Process of Inquiry: Demonstrate the ability to formulate questions and hypotheses within their discipline.
  • Nature of Disciplinary Knowledge: Show understanding of the way practitioners think within the discipline and view the world around them.
  • Understanding Ethical Conduct: Predict, recognize, and weigh the risks and benefits of the project for others.

For details about gold/silver/bronze experiences, visit the Learning Experiences page.