SCGB Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF Program)

Closed
Important Dates
  • ProposalCentral Opens for Applications
  • Applications & Letters Due
  • Finalists Notified
  • Fellow-Mentor Matching Begins
  • Fellows Notified of Match
  • Accept/Decline Deadline
Important Dates
  • ProposalCentral Opens for Applications
  • Applications & Letters Due
  • Finalists Notified
  • Fellow-Mentor Matching Begins
  • Fellows Notified of Match
  • Accept/Decline Deadline
Contact Info

Opportunity

The goal of the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain (SCGB) Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program is to spark and sustain interest in systems and computational neuroscience among undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in neuroscience research. The SCGB supports this program with the recognition that diversity improves scientific innovation and collaboration. SURF provides funds for undergraduate research assistants to work in SCGB-funded laboratories during the academic year under the mentorship of postdoctoral fellows or Ph.D. students to provide personalized guidance to undergraduates.

Timeline and Funding

This request for applications (RFA) is aimed at undergraduate students from underrepresented groups who are interested in gaining laboratory experience. Applicants must live within a reasonable commute of an available lab opportunity. Fellows will receive a commitment of $25 per hour wage for 10 hours per week over 30 weeks, administered through the hosting laboratory. Awards will begin in the fall 2022 academic semester.

In addition to financial support, SCGB will provide program certificates to fellows, facilitate meetings among fellows and mentors, provide access to professional development opportunities including a computational boot camp, and arrange an end-of-year research symposium for fellows to share their work.

Application Process

Update: Please note the application deadline has been extended to June 2, 2022 at 5pm Eastern.

boxes with text sharing important deadlines for SURF grant

Undergraduates interested in applying to SURF should first review the list of available SCGB lab opportunities. Applicants may select and rank up to three opportunities of interest and should be able to regularly engage in in-person lab activity when practical according to public health conditions. Applications will be reviewed by SCGB scientific staff and a Review Committee including SCGB faculty, postdoctoral fellows and Ph.D. students. After review, SCGB will coordinate with labs to match undergraduate finalists with available mentors. Applicants should be available to speak with possible matches between July 8 and July 22. Fellows will be informed of their matches by July 28 and allowed until August 4 to accept or decline. Funds will be administered through the host laboratory’s institution.

Eligibility

  • Applicants must be currently enrolled at a degree-granting undergraduate institution (including community colleges).
  • The program application is open to individuals who are from gender, racial, ethnic and other groups underrepresented in systems and computational neuroscience, including individuals with disabilities and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. This includes, but is not limited to, women of any ethnic or racial group as well as any individual identifying as Hispanic/Latine, Black/African American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander or American Indian/Alaska Native. We will consider applicants to have come from a disadvantaged background if they meet at least two of the following criteria:
  • Applicants should be able to regularly engage in in-person lab activity when practical according to public health conditions.
  • It is not necessary for applicants to have prior laboratory experience.
  • Individual hosting institutions may have additional eligibility requirements; applicants should check that they meet both SCGB’s eligibility criteria above and any additional criteria listed for the lab opportunities selected in their application.

You are strongly encouraged to contact SCGB at scgbsurf@simonsfoundation.org before applying if you are unsure of whether you meet the eligibility criteria above.

Instructions for Submission

The deadline for application submission is Thursday, June 2, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

All applications must be completed electronically and submitted using forms provided at ProposalCentral. To submit your application, please log in as an applicant, go to the Grant Opportunities tab, scroll to Simons Foundation and click Apply Now for the “Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF Program Supplement)”. For assistance, please call 800-875-2562 or email pcsupport@altum.com.

All applications must include:

  • Resume or curriculum vitae, not to exceed one (1) page
  • Transcript (unofficial accepted)
  • Statement of interest, up to 300 words. Please explain your interest in applying for the SURF program, including how participating in this program will help you achieve your academic and career goals.
  • Statement of experience, up to 300 words. Please include a brief description of your prior and/or planned experience in the below subject areas. Planned experience can include summer courses or participating in the SURF computational bootcamp. Applicants are not expected to have experience in all areas. This is intended to help us better understand each applicant’s transcript and assess their fit with lab opportunities.
    • Neuroscience / psychology / biology
    • Computer science / math / physics
  • Signed self-attestation of eligibility (available on ProposalCentral)
  • Letters of recommendation (separate, blind submission). At least one (1) and up to two (2) letters of recommendation are required. Letter-writers should be able to speak to the applicant’s potential to engage in and benefit from the program and may include academic advisors, counselors, teachers, professors or instructors, including teaching assistants or resident advisors, though this is not an exhaustive list. Confidential letters must be submitted through ProposalCentral (see instructions available for download in ProposalCentral).
  • Selection of at least one (1) and up to three (3) lab opportunities the applicant would be interested in working in if selected. A list of laboratory opportunities to choose from is available here. For opportunities that list prerequisites, the applicant should briefly explain how they will meet those requirements.
  • Applications are reviewed by the SCGB scientific staff and the SCGB Review Committee. Reviewers will weigh criteria related to the applicant’s potential to engage in and benefit from working in a scientific laboratory. Prior laboratory experience is not heavily weighted in review.

    List of Lab Opportunities

    A list of available laboratory opportunities can be found here. Applicants may indicate up to three opportunities of interest in their application. For opportunities that list prerequisites, the applicant should briefly explain how they will meet those requirements.

    Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Many of the greatest ideas and discoveries come from a diverse mix of minds, backgrounds and experiences. The Simons Foundation is committed to grantmaking that inspires and supports greater diversity and inclusiveness by cultivating a funding environment that ensures representation of all identities and differences and equitable access to information and resources for all applicants and grantees.

    The Simons Foundation provides equal opportunities to all applicants for funding without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex, pregnancy, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic disposition, neurodiversity, disability, veteran status or any other protected category under federal, state and local law, except when identifying from a disadvantaged background or underrepresented group is an eligibility requirement of the request for application (RFA).

Read More
Important Dates
  • ProposalCentral Opens for Applications
  • Applications & Letters Due
  • Finalists Notified
  • Fellow-Mentor Matching Begins
  • Fellows Notified of Match
  • Accept/Decline Deadline
Contact Info

The Simons Foundation uses an electronic grants submission process. All interested applicants must submit their applications online through ProposalCentral. The submission deadline for applications in ProposalCentral has been extended to June 2, 2022, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Accessing the Application in ProposalCentral:
Prospective applicants must submit an application via ProposalCentral (PC). To start an application in PC, users must first login to their PC account.

If You Need to Create a New Account in pC
To create a new account, go to https://ProposalCentral.com/ (PC) and click CREATE ONE NOW under APPLICATION LOGIN. Fill in the required fields, check the boxes to agree to PC’s Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy and then click SAVE. For the next steps, see the If You Have an Existing Account in PC section below.

If You Have an Existing Account in pC
For all users with a PC account, log in under APPLICATION LOGIN at https://ProposalCentral.altum.com/ and select CREATE NEW PROPOSAL or click on the GRANT OPPORTUNITIES tab. Scroll down to SIMONS FOUNDATION and then click APPLY NOW for the Simons Collaboration on the “Global Brain Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF Program Supplement)” on the Global Brain Undergraduate Research Fellowship in order to start the application and access the templates. For assistance, please call 800-875-2562 or email pcsupport@altum.com. After all sections are completed, you will be able to click on the SUBMIT button.

To submit an application, the following proposalCENTRAL modules must be completed:

  1. Labs and Statements
  2. Download Templates & Instructions
    • Submission instructions and the Self-Attestation of eligibility template are available for download in this module.
  3. Enable Other Users to Access This Proposal
    • This module allows you to give other users access to your grant application. When you give a person access to your grant application, you can give them one of three levels of permissions: View, Edit or Administrator.
  4. Applicant
    • Enter the name of the undergraduate applicant here.
  5. Organization/Institution
    • Enter the applicant’s current institution (the institution where they are enrolled as an undergraduate student). Institution information is preloaded from the institutional profile but may be changed on this screen if necessary.
  6. Letters of recommendation (separate, blind submission; deadline June 2, 2022):
  7. At least one (1) and up to two (2) letters of recommendation are required. Letter-writers should be able to speak to the applicant’s potential to engage in and benefit from the program, and may include academic advisors, counselors, teachers, professors or instructors, including teaching assistants or resident advisors, though this is not an exhaustive list. The applicant CANNOT submit the letters of recommendation directly. Note: Individuals submitting references are referred to as “referee” in ProposalCentral. In this section, you will be able to list the referees who will submit letters of recommendation on your behalf through our confidential submission process. To enter the referees:

    • Enter and confirm the email address of the referee you have chosen in the text box provided and click the “Add” button.
    • A small pop-up window will open, prompting you for the referee’s first and last name. If the referee is already registered in ProposalCentral, the name will automatically display in the window.
    • Enter the referee’s full name and click the “Send Email” button, then click “Close Window.”
    • An email will be sent to the referee from ProposalCentral requesting a confidential letter of recommendation. The email will include instructions, the referee’s ProposalCentral account information, and a link for the referee to upload the completed letter of recommendation directly to your grant application.
    • To ensure confidentiality, you will not have access to these letters. Once the email is sent, the referee’s name and contact information will appear under the “Letters of Recommendation” section in your application. The referee information is displayed in the table (i.e., name, email address, date/time email was sent, etc.). You can refer to this table to check on the status of the letters that have been uploaded to your application. When each of the letters is uploaded, the status will display as “Submitted.”
    • Repeat this process for each referee you wish to add. You will NOT be able to submit your application until at least one referee is uploaded.
    • Letters of recommendation must be submitted by Thursday, June 2, 2022, 5:00 p.m. ET. It is advised that applicants begin the online application at least four (4) weeks prior to the June 2 deadline for letters of recommendation. Applicants will not be able to submit their application without the required references.

    NOTE: The referee will not have access to any portion of your grant application in the upload process.

  8. Budget Summary: Do not enter information on this page. For internal use only. If you are selected as a SCGB Undergraduate Research Fellow and matched with a Mentor, the Simons Foundation will work with the lab’s institution to confirm the budget.
  9. Proposal Attachments: Upload the following documents in this section:
    • Resume or curriculum vitae, not to exceed one (1) page
    • Transcript (unofficial accepted)
    • Signed self-attestation of eligibility (template provided in ProposalCentral)
  10. Applicant Data Sheet
    • The applicant’s professional profile will populate this section of the application. If revisions are required to the information in this section, please select EDIT PROFESSIONAL PROFILE and revise the information within section 4 (Personal Data for Applications).
  11. Validate
    • You must click the VALIDATE button on the bottom of the page to check for any missing information or files that are required to submit the application. All missing information that is required will be listed on the screen. Please correct any missing information before proceeding to the next step.
  12. Download Proposal Attachments
    • You can double check your application and download a PDF copy of it here. You do not need to acquire an institutional signature at this stage.
  13. Submit
    • You will be unable to submit if you have not provided all the required information. Any missing information will be listed on the screen. If your submission is successful, you will receive a confirmation message on the screen and a confirmation email will be sent to the applicant.
Important Dates
  • ProposalCentral Opens for Applications
  • Applications & Letters Due
  • Finalists Notified
  • Fellow-Mentor Matching Begins
  • Fellows Notified of Match
  • Accept/Decline Deadline
Contact Info
  1. Do I need to attend the same institution as the lab I’m interested in working in?plus--large

    No, you may select a lab opportunity so long as you live close enough to regularly engage in in-person lab activity when practical according to public health conditions.

  2. Do I need to have previous laboratory experience?plus--large

    No, laboratory experience is not required and will not be heavily weighted during review. Reviewers will weigh criteria related to the applicant’s potential to engage in and benefit from working in a scientific laboratory.

  3. What is involved in the fellow-mentor matching process?plus--large

    The matching process is designed to give undergraduate finalists and mentors an opportunity to meet and ensure they would be a good fit. During the matching process, finalists should be available to speak with mentor(s) who have been identified as possible matches between July 8 and July 22. It is the intention of the SCGB to match as many finalists as possible, but participating in this process does not guarantee a SURF Fellowship. Mentors and finalists may have multiple interviews.

  4. Do I need institutional sign-off to submit an application?plus--large

    No institutional sign-off is needed.

  5. I am an international student. Can I participate in SURF?plus--large

    Applicants are subject to the eligibility requirements of their home and host institutions, which may vary. In certain cases, international students in the United States may be eligible to apply for Curricular Practical Training or Optional Practical Training, which, if authorized, may allow them to participate in the SURF program. Please reach out to your home institution’s Office of Immigration Affairs for more information.

  6. Where do I submit the application?plus--large

    New users first need to create a user account on ProposalCentral at https://ProposalCentral.com/. (For instructions on how to create an account, see the FAQ How do I create a ProposalCentral user account? below.) For all users with an existing account, log in under application login at https://ProposalCentral.com/ and select create new proposalCREATE NEW PROPOSAL or click on the GRANT OPPORTUNITIES tab. Scroll down to Simons Foundation and then click APPLY NOW for the “Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF Program Supplement)” program in order to start the application and access the templates. After all sections are completed, you will be able to click on the submit button to send your completed proposal to the Simons Foundation.

  7. How do I create a ProposalCentral user account?plus--large

    Go to https://ProposalCentral.com/ and click “CREATE ONE NOW” under “Application Login”. Fill in the required fields, check the boxes to agree to ProposalCentral’s “Terms of Service” and “Acceptable Use Policy” and then click SAVE.

  8. Can I email or mail an application?plus--large

    No. The Simons Foundation only accepts applications submitted online through ProposalCentral.

  9. What are the font style and size requirements?plus--large

    Type should be set in 11-point, legible font. All margins should be set at 0.5 inches.

  10. Is validating my application the same as submitting it?plus--large

    No. Validating the application is a process that checks for errors and omissions and will alert you to missing requirements of your application. If it is complete, you must then click SUBMIT. You will receive an email within 10 minutes, and you should contact pcsupport@altum.com if you do not receive confirmation and do not see your proposal in the “Submitted” tab or with the status changed to “Submitted.”

  11. Where is the “Submit” button?plus--large

    The “Submit” button is located in the last section of the proposal. You will be unable to submit if you have not provided all the required information. If your application is complete and you are unable to submit it, please contact pcsupport@altum.com.

  12. I get an error message citing a missing section when I try to submit.plus--large

    The “Validate” button reviews your proposal for missing sections. The submission instructions list the required sections and attachments. You must complete the missing sections listed. If you are still receiving error messages after completing and saving the indicated sections, please contact pcsupport@altum.com.

  13. Where is the “Submit” button?plus--large

    The “Submit” button is located in the last section of the proposal. You will be unable to submit if you have not provided all the required information. If your application is complete and you are unable to submit it, please contact pcsupport@altum.com.

  14. Can I make changes to the application once it has been submitted?plus--large

    You must contact the Simons Foundation prior to the June 2, 2022, deadline to un-submit your application. Please email neurogrants@simonsfoundation.org if you would like to un-submit your proposal for any modifications.

  15. Are deadline times adjusted for time zones?plus--large

    No, please be advised that deadlines are in Eastern Time. We recommend registering early and submitting applications with ample time for corrections prior to the deadline hour. Site traffic can slow page-load times. The submit button will not work after the deadline time has passed.

  16. Will I receive a confirmation email when I submit?plus--large

    A confirmation email is sent upon submission of the application. Please contact pcsupport@altum.com if you submitted your application and have not received a confirmation email within 10 minutes. Make sure your spam filters allow emails from pcsupport@altum.com.

  17. When will applicants be notified of their SURF fellow status?plus--large

    Applicants will be notified of their status in July 2022.

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