Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Grant

Students studying in library


The URCA grant is an exciting opportunity for undergraduates to pursue funding for their own independent research project. With up to $750 at your disposal for project-related expenses, this is your chance to take your skills and knowledge and add something unique to your (or another) field of study.


Present your research to the campus and community! Open to any student doing undergraduate research on campus, the Colloquium takes place in Spring quarter as part of Undergraduate Research Week. Join us to discover what UC Santa Barbara students have created during the year.


The suspense. The lights. The crowd. The drama. The Undergraduate Research Slam is a competition where participants have just three minutes and three slides to give a dynamic presentation of their research project. Come cheer on your favorite presenter as they compete!


Wondering how to apply to the URCA Grant? Where to sign up for the Colloquium or Slam? Come to a workshop where we’ll answer all of your questions. We also host workshops for a specific department, class or club – just send us an email and we will be happy to set one up!


AY 2021-2022 Grant Cycle

The URCA Grant Portal will open for 2021-2022 URCA Grants October 25. The final deadline to submit an URCA Grant application is 11:59pm on November 20, 2021. 

$750 and a wealth of opportunity

UC Santa Barbara is a top tier research institution, due largely to the contributions by undergraduate researchers. By applying for the URCA Grant you become an integral part of the research community at UCSB and will develop important skills like taking a research project from conception to completion, learning how a typical grant application process works and getting hands-on experience with research.

To qualify for an URCA grant, you must meet a few general requirements and submit a completed proposal online by the application deadline. If you receive an URCA grant, you are expected to present your work in a public forum at the end of the school year. For those unable to present, we require a contribution to the Digital Colloquium.

Who is eligible for the URCA grant?

To be eligible for the URCA grant, you must:

  • Be a UCSB undergraduate in good academic standing and remain so throughout the funding period.
  • Be currently engaged in a research or creative project, or planning to initiate one. Grants cannot be awarded retroactively for completed projects.
  • Identify a faculty member who is willing to supervise your project. They will be asked to complete a form on your behalf as a part of your grant application. Your faculty mentor must be a member of the Academic Senate (You can view the membership list here) or be instructor of a department research seminar.

Pandemic Considerations: 

  • Consider projects/tasks that take into consideration safety and social distancing (i.e., literature reviews, theoretical/conceptual work, analysis of online data/previously collected data, etc.).

  • Equity in research during the pandemic: It is acknowledged that the pandemic may disproportionately impact certain types of research. Whenever possible, we encourage reasonable adaptations, which allow undergraduates to move forward with research experiences/goals. 

All awards are available to those students who meet the criteria above, regardless of class standing, major, or college affiliation.

Will you be presenting your URCA research at a conference? 

Recipients of the URCA Grant are eligible to apply for the URCA Mini Grant to secure up to $250 to present their research outside of UCSB.


Share your work with the campus

The Undergraduate Research Colloquium is a poster presentation where you can share your research or creative activity with the campus community. Open to any UCSB undergraduate doing research, the Colloquium typically takes place each May in Corwin Pavilion, and is a requirement for recipients of the URCA Grant.

In 2020-21, due to ongoing pandemic conditions, a Digital Colloquium will replace the in-person event. Check out the link below for more information!

URCA Digital Colloquium


The Undergraduate Research Slam typically runs each year in concert with the Research Colloquium, and offers students the chance to give dynamic, 3-minute oral presentations of their research or creative activity to a panel of judges. All UCSB undergraduates participating in research during the academic year are eligible. After multiple rounds of competition, the top 3 students earn research awards in the form of cash prizes.

The first round of presentations takes place approximately two weeks prior to the final round. A panel of judges determines the top finalists, who compete in the final round during Undergraduate Research Week in May. All Slam events are held in-person and open to the public.

FAQ: Who is eligible to participate in the Research Slam?

To be eligible, students must:

  • Be a currently-enrolled UCSB undergraduate
  • Have worked on their research or creative activity during the current academic year
  • Be an individual (While groups are allowed to present a single poster at the Colloquium, students may not present as a group in the Slam. Participants within a group should focus their presentation on their particular contribution to the group project, and must have permission from other group members to present at Slam.)
  • Be available during the first round event and during the final event (spaces are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis by signing up through an online entry form).

Students do not need to have been awarded an URCA grant to participate in either the Colloquium or the Slam.


We want you to be as prepared as possible when it comes time to submit an URCA grant or participate in the Colloquium, Slam or Colloquium Unbound and will host a number of workshops prior to Undergraduate Research Week. See below for more information and be sure to join us on Shoreline so you will be the first to know about upcoming events.

Join URCA on Shoreline