Program for Undergraduate Research Experience: Call for Proposals

Broadening access to, and enhancing, undergraduate research experiences is a central priority in UBC’s new strategic plan (Shaping UBC’s Next Century). UBC has committed $1m in strategic funds over 2 years for the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE). This call for proposals is for innovative pilot projects and is open to faculty, staff and students from both Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. 

For the purposes of this funding competition, undergraduate research is defined as “…academic pursuits that provide either a) an academic contribution to an area of research or to a discipline pertinent to one’s field of study or b) a practical application of academic learning, with consequences for society.” 

Please see updated FAQs


Faculty, staff and students are invited to submit proposals for innovative projects that will expand access to and/or enhance undergraduate research experiences at UBC. Proposals should demonstrate how the requested funding will be used to support innovative pilot projects and the anticipated outcomes for students.

Applications are limited to 5 pages (free-form), plus the template title page and template budget and justification form (excel form may download directly). Applications should provide: 

  1. The principal applicant and confirmed team members, collaborators and partners and a description of the team’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. All applications from teams must have sign-off and approval from sponsoring Dean(s) of a Faculty/ies and/or a member of Executive.
  2. The CVs/resumes of the team members up to a maximum of 5, including the principal applicant and the co-applicant (if applicable).
  3. A description of the project, including goals, objectives and expected outcomes of the proposed project.
  4. The role and involvement of, and/or consultations with, undergraduate students in the project.
  5. If applicable, contributions (cash and/or in kind) from Faculties, departments and other partners.
  6. Plans for sustainability of the pilot project beyond the funding end-date.
  7. Plans for scaling the pilot project to benefit a significant number of students.
  8. Evaluation plan that will be used to determine the project’s success/impact. 


Faculty, staff and students from both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses are eligible to apply for PURE. If the Principal Applicant is a student, the application must be supported and signed by a co-applicant who is a faculty member. Undergraduate student participation in pilot projects is essential.


A total funding envelope of $1 million is available for this competition. Teams may apply for projects between $5,000 up to a maximum of $50,000 for a one-year project and $100,000 for a two-year project. 

A strong budget justification is expected to align specific activities with goals and expected outcomes. The PURE review committees will consider each budget item and may recommend funding only some budget items, or reduced terms. 

The principal applicants of successful teams will be required to attend a post-award informational workshop with the VP Research & Innovation office. 


Multi-disciplinary peer review panels composed of faculty, staff and students, and including external reviewers, at each campus will review the applications. Each campus will develop a ranked list of proposals based on final proposal scores. A cross-campus multi-disciplinary panel will then select proposals for funding. 


The VP Research & Innovation office will hold proposal development information sessions on January 22 (Vancouver Campus) and January 23 (Okanagan Campus).

Notice of Intent to Apply

In order to submit an application to the PURE competition, we required teams to submit a short Notice of Intent (NOI) to apply by February 4. Please note, this deadline has now passed. The NOI is non-competitive and will be used internally to plan review panels. At the NOI stage, it is not necessary to have approval / sign-off from a Dean or Executive, but the NOI list will be shared with appropriate Deans and Executive for informational purposes.

Application Submission

Applications for this funding call must be submitted as a single PDF document (limited to 5 pages free-form, plus the template title page) plus the template budget page (excel form may download directly) plus CVs to the VP Research & Innovation electronic portal by end of day March 4, 2019.

Questions should be directed either to Helen Burt (Vancouver Campus) or Paul van Donkelaar (Okanagan Campus)

Submit Application

(Please note that only applicants who submitted a Notice of Intent to the VPRI Office are eligible to submit a completed application for PURE funding.)

Assessment Criteria

Specific assessment criteria for PURE include:

  • The project is innovative and positively impacts the undergraduate research experience at UBC. It should not be limited to an expansion of existing undergraduate research experiences or programs.

  • Ideally, the project demonstrates potential for curricular impact.

  • The project team membership and proposed activities reflect a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. Projects that meaningfully engage Indigenous students are encouraged.

  • The proposal provides a clear project description including rationale, overarching goals and specific objectives.

  • The proposal clearly articulates specific, well-defined outcomes that are achievable. Where applicable, dissemination strategies should be outlined, for example, published articles in peer-reviewed journals, abstracts, conference presentations (e.g. the Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference) posters, reports etc.

  • The proposal describes the roles, involvement and/or consultations with undergraduate students.

  • Plans for sustainability and scaling of the project to benefit a significant number of students, particularly under-represented student populations.

  • The proposal outlines an evaluation plan that identifies outcomes criteria that will be used to assess the project’s success/impact.

  • Where feasible, the project demonstrates cash/in-kind commitments from partners.

  • The proposal outlines the research mentorship/teaching that will be offered to undergraduates by faculty, post-doc, and/or graduate students.


The VP Research & Innovation Office will be hosting two information sessions on the current competition. We encourage all groups who are interested in applying for this competition to attend one of these sessions. Details are available at:


January 7, 2019

Competition Launch

January 22, 2019

8:30 – 11:00am

(Optional) PURE Information Session (Vancouver), Location: The Centre for Brain Health, 2215 Wesbrook Mall

January 23, 2019

9:30 – 12:30pm

(Optional)  PURE Information Session (Okanagan), Location: SCI 333, 1177 Research Road

February 4, 2019


Deadline to submit a Notice of Intent. Deadline now passed. 

March 4, 2019


Proposals due

Week of March 18, 2019

Panel meetings, notifications

March 29, 2019

8:30am - 10:00am


Vancouver pre-award workshop (required for all successful proposals) Henry Angus Rm. 037, 2053 Main Mall

TBC, 2019 Okanagan pre-award workshop (required for all successful proposals)




What is the source of the definition for undergraduate research?
Are Access Studies students eligible to apply even if they’re not registered in a specific Faculty where a Dean can sign approval?
In the event that several Faculties are involved in the project, which Dean should provide approval?
When is sign-off from a member of executive required?
Are part-time students and international students eligible to apply?
Is it possible to apply for an extension to the project?
When will final project reports be due?
What are some examples of eligible expenses?
Are course releases eligible expenses?
How many team members are allowed as part of the project proposal?
Are all team members required to submit CVs/resumes?
Are cash and/or in-kind contributions required for the proposed project?
Are postdoctoral fellows eligible to apply for a pilot project?
Can non-UBC faculty, students or staff be part of the project team?
Is there a limit to the number of applications an applicant can submit?
Are UBC co-op students eligible to participate in projects?
What informed the development of PURE?



Vancouver, January 22, 2019