SCGB Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF Program)

Closed
Important Dates
  • pC Opens for Applications
  • Applications & Letters Due
  • Finalists Notified
  • Fellow-Mentor Matching Begins
  • Fellows Notified of Match
  • Accept/Decline Deadline
Important Dates
  • pC 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. SCGB is launching 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 2021 academic semester.

In addition to financial support, SCGB will provide program certificates to Fellows, facilitate meetings among Fellows and Mentors, and arrange an end-of-year research symposium for Fellows to share their work.

Application Process

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; this review will prioritize the undergraduate applications. After review, SCGB will coordinate with labs to match selected candidates with available mentors. Applicants should be available to speak with possible matches between July 5 and July 23. Fellows will be informed of their matches by July 26 and allowed until August 2 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).
  • Any applicant with the qualities necessary to participate in the program is invited to develop an application for support. Applications are especially encouraged from individuals whose participation furthers the goal to promote diversity in systems and computational neuroscience, in particular among populations underrepresented in the scientific workforce as defined by NIH, including but not limited to racially underrepresented individuals, women, individuals with disabilities and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. We also encourage applications from the LGBTQ+ community.
  • 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 Monday, May 31, 2021 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” program. 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)
  • Personal statement, up to one (1) page. 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. Type should be set in 11-point, legible font. All margins should be set at 0.5 inches.
  • Signed self-attestation of eligibility (available on pC)
  • Optional short letter including a clear description of how their selection will expand the pool of underrepresented individuals within systems and computational neuroscience, in particular among populations underrepresented in the scientific workforce as defined by NIH, including but not limited to racially underrepresented individuals, women, individuals with disabilities and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. We also encourage applications from the LGBTQ+ community. This letter will not be shared beyond Simons Foundation Staff.
  • 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 at this link.
  • 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 at this link. Applicants may indicate up to three opportunities of interest in their application.

    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 Collaboration on the Global Brain 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 Collaboration on the Global Brain 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
  • pC 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 is May 31, 2021, 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 in order to start the proposal 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 a LOI, the following proposalCENTRAL modules must be completed:

  1. Title Page
    • Answer all questions in this section, including listing at least one (1) and up to three (3) lab opportunities you would be interested in working in if selected. A list of laboratory opportunities to choose from is available at this link.
  2. Download Templates & Instructions
    • All templates necessary to complete your LOI 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 31 May 2021):
  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 Monday, 31 May 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET. It is advised that applicants begin the online application at least four (4) weeks prior to the May 31 deadline for letters of recommendation. Applicants will not be able to submit their proposal without the required references.

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

  8. Attach Application Documents: Upload the following documents in this section, where they are also available for download:
    • Resume or curriculum vitae, not to exceed one (1) page
    • Transcript (unofficial accepted)
    • Personal statement, up to one (1) page. 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. Type should be set in 11-point, legible font. All margins should be set at 0.5 inches.
    • Signed self-attestation of eligibility
    • Optional short letter including a clear description of how their selection will expand the pool of underrepresented individuals within systems and computational neuroscience, in particular among populations underrepresented in the scientific workforce as defined by NIH, including but not limited to racially underrepresented individuals, women, individuals with disabilities and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. We also encourage applications from the LGBTQ+ community. This letter will not be shared beyond Simons Foundation Staff.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  • pC 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, SCGB will arrange for finalists to speak with the mentor(s) the Review Committee has identified as possible matches. Finalists should be available to speak with possible matches between July 5 and July 23. SCGB will provide further details about these meetings when notifying finalists.

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

    No institutional sign-off is needed.

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

    New users first need to create a user account on proposalCENTRAL (pC) 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 a pC account, log in under application login at https://proposalcentral.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” 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.

  6. How do I create a proposalCENTRAL user account?plus--large

    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”.

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

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.”

  10. 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.

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

    You must contact the Simons Foundation prior to the May 31, 2021 deadline to un-submit your application. Please email lifegrants@simonsfoundation.org if you would like to un-submit your proposal for any modifications.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. When will applicants be notified of their SURF Fellow status?plus--large

    Applicants will be notified of their status in July 2021.

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