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 2020-2021 Grant Cycle

The URCA Grant Portal will open for 2020-2021 URCA Grants on October 2, 2020. The final deadline to submit an URCA Grant application is 11:59pm on November 20, 2020. 

$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 report on the progress and outcomes of your research of no less than 10 pages.

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, and obtain a letter of support from this possible mentor. The letter should be submitted 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)

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 virtual conference? 

Recipients of the URCA Grant are eligible to apply for the URCA Mini Grant to secure up to $250 to present their research virtually 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 takes place every May in Corwin Pavilion and is a requirement for recipients of the URCA Grant.

Get creative and think outside the poster

For some projects, a poster just isn’t the best representation of the work. For those instances, we have the Colloquium Unbound. Unbound projects are artifacts that you create that represent the essence of your research. The form, shape, and content of the projects is up to you (within size limits). They should represent the work that you’ve done – the questions you’ve asked, evidence you’ve explored, and findings you’ve identified in your research work.


The Undergraduate Research Slam 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. The top 3 students will earn research awards in the form of cash prizes.

The first round of 50 presentations takes place approximately two weeks prior to the final round. A panel of judges will determine the top 15 finalists, who will compete in the final round during Undergraduate Research Week in May.

Students MUST be available during the first round event and during the final event to be considered. Spaces will be allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis by signing up through the online entry form.

All Slam events will be open to the public.

Who is eligible?

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.)

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.