MN Futures UROP

The MN Futures UROP provides opportunities for undergraduates to partner with a cross-disciplinary team of faculty member on one of the MN Futures research grants.

    Program Details

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    Research Grants

    Project #1: Nonthermal Plasma Processes for Sustainable Extraction and Processing of Minnesota’s Titanium Resources (Chemical Engineering and Material Science, 2021-2023)

    Titanium (Ti) is critical to aerospace and automotive alloys, medical implants, and catalysts. Minnesota has valuable titanium mineral resources, but the lack of environmentally sustainable and economically viable extraction and processing approaches limits their utilization. The proposed research develops technology that will reduce or minimize environmentally and economically disadvantageous process steps in the conventional titanium refining processes and, in a distributed fashion, utilize abundant, untapped mineral and renewable energy resources within Minnesota to invigorate the regional manufacturing enterprise.

    Project #2: Measuring and Enhancing Creativity and Brain Flexibility in Adolescents with Depression (Psychiatry, 2021-2023)

    This proposal pursues the question of whether deep engagement in creative activities may benefit adolescents with depression by introducing a more flexible way of thinking, helping adolescents recognize and foster their own creative talents, and (ultimately) develop more positive views of themselves and their futures. 

    Project #3: Mechanistic Role of Gut Microbiota and Gut Barrier Function in the Pathogenesis of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (Cardiology, 2020-2021)

    Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a fatal disease with an average survival of only 5 years. Activation of our immune system is an important factor in the development of PAH. However, it is unclear what activates our immune system. The gut microbiome regulates our body’s immune system through many different ways. Changes in the gut microbiome has been shown to activate our immune system and cause different chronic diseases.  Circumstantial evidence suggest that this may be true in PAH as well. To prove a cause and effect relationship, we will alter the gut microbiome in a rat model of PAH through fecal transplantation and see whether it reverses PAH. This understanding will facilitate the development of fecal transplantation as a potentially lifesaving therapy for PAH.

    Project #4: The emergence of chronic wasting disease in Minnesota: Transmission across a landscape of plants, soil, water, and deer (Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, 2020-2021)

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has recently arrived in Minnesota. Its spread throughout the region poses urgent societal challenges and calls attention to important interdisciplinary knowledge gaps about disease emergence, transmission, and risk. To address these challenges, we are assembling a new interdisciplinary team, including experts on disease transmission, veterinary epidemiology, deer movement, molecular prion biology, plant and soil ecology, and hydrology. By generating novel experimental data, collecting field data at an outbreak site in southeastern Minnesota, and synthesizing models of spread at local and landscape scales, our team will fill a fundamental knowledge gap about the ecology and environmental transmission of this emerging disease.

    Program Structure

    Research: This is a research mentorship program of 120 hours of research on one of the MN Futures research grants

    Mentorship: Each faculty team may receive 2-3 undergraduate MN Futures awards each year of the grant to provide assistance with the research.

    Presentations: At the conclusion of the program, each student who received a MN Futures award must present their research in a public forum.

    Program Expectations

    To be considered for a MN Futures UROP award, it is expected that...

    • you have been accepted by the faculty members of one of the MN Futures research grants.
    • you will not start the research until the application is approved.
    • if applicable, you will begin the approval process or training needed if the project involves special permissions (animal or human subjects).
    • you are NOT receiving course credit for the project.
    • you agree to complete the four MN Futures UROP Program ending requirements.

    Application Process

    Steps to Apply

    1. Choose the MN Futures research grant that you're interested in.
    2. Email Vicky Munro ([email protected]) to get more information about the grant and faculty mentors.  
    3. The Office of Undergraduate Research will forward contact information to you if there is a space in the project.
    4. If space is available, contact the faculty member directly to discuss the project and get approval.
    5. Upon approval, Vicky Munro will send you a link to submit your application, 3-page proposal, and faculty recommendation form.

    Funding Details

    A MN Futures UROP award includes a research scholarship of $1,500 for 120 hours of research.  

    The stipend is paid through financial aid; the first $750 will be awarded at the beginning of your project and the final $750 will be awarded once all four ending requirements are met.  

    There is no expense money provided with a MN Futures UROP award; expenses will be paid by the MN Futures research grant itself.

    Ending Requirements

    The ending date of your project and the date that your ending requirements are due is listed on your award letter.  In order to receive your final stipend, you must complete both parts below.  This MUST be done by the last day of the month prior to your graduation if you are graduating at the end of your project.

    Part 1: Student Evaluation

    In order to complete your UROP project and receive your second stipend, you must submit the UROP Completion Form. In this form, you will submit your:

    Fill Out Your Completion Form

    Note: All sections must be completed at once. You cannot save the form and go back at a later time. 

    Part 2: Faculty Verification Form

    It is your responsibility to notify your faculty mentor to submit the verification of completion form by your ending date as stated on your award letter. Your final stipend cannot be processed until both final requirements are met. 

    See Faculty Verification Form

    MN Futures UROP FAQs

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    Who is eligible to participate in a MN Futures UROP?

    All undergraduates from the Twin Cities campus in good standing may participate in a MN Futures UROP.  It is up to the faculty teams for each grant to determine which students will work on a particular project.

    Can I work on a MN Futures UROP more than one time?

    Yes.  If a faculty team wants to continue your participation in a project, they may ask you to apply a second time for a MN Futures UROP.

    How do I connect with a faculty mentor?

    Look through the list of grants to find one or two you are interested in.  Contact Vicky Munro ([email protected]) to see if the mentors are still looking for students.  OUR will connect you with faculty mentors with open spots on their projects.  Once the mentor approves you, you must submit the application provided to you.

    Is there an application deadline for MN Futures UROPs?

    No.  Students may express interest in a project at any time.  Space may vary throughout the year on each project so it will be up to each team of faculty to determine when they have space for additional students.

    How am I paid, and does this affect my financial aid?

    Students are paid $750 when their project begins and a second $750 when all four ending requirements are met.  The stipends are paid as financial aid so this can affect your FA package for the year. Check with One Stop if you have concerns.

    What are the ending requirements and when are they due?

    There are four ending requirements: a 2-3 page final report, an evaluation form, a presentation form reporting on the required public presentation, and a verification of completion signed by your mentor.  These are due by the end date listed on your award letter.

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