Lakers Venture Grant Program

Supporting Student Inquiry Beyond Campus Borders
“Not all who wander are lost” ~ Tolkien

The Lakers Venture Grant provides undergraduate students with up to $2,000 in funding for off-campus travel (DOMESTIC or INTERNATIONAL) to conduct immersive, student-driven, original, and independent research or pursue experiential projects in the arts.

The Lakers Venture Grant enables an undergraduate student to propose scholarly, research, or creative project to be conducted or created prior to graduation. The Grant is intended to support travel to and engagement in an independent research/inquiry experience that could not be accomplished on campus. The Grant also provides opportunity for academic engagement in a research question or creative work that is exploratory, exciting, and 'venturesome' (while also being grounded in one's intellectual interests, prior coursework, and future plans). This is about exploration! It should lead to discovery – and help open doors to future possibilities (for graduate school, fellowships, and more). 

Award will be made based on the quality of the proposals (see the rubric for specifics). Each award includes up to $2,000 for travel costs and incidentals directly associated with the project (for example: museum passes, least-cost short-term accommodation at the research site, transportation to the research location, etc.).

Example of a Lakers Venture Grant:

LVG provides funding for travel to Nicaragua so that the recipient can explore communication issues arising between leaders of indigenous communities and the central government. This research started under the mentorship of a GVSU faculty member and has developed into the student's independent research project. The research work conducted under the auspices of the Lakers Venture Grant helped lay the ground for subsequent fellowship applications to Fulbright, Peace Corps, and more.


About the Award

The Lakers Venture Grant program at GVSU provides students with up to $2,000 in funding for off-campus travel (DOMESTIC or INTERNATIONAL) to conduct immersive, student-driven, original, and independent research or to pursue experiential projects in the arts.

The Lakers Venture Grant award is a travel grant intended to support travel to and then engagement in an independent research/inquiry experience that could not be accomplished on campus. More specifically, this Grant is intended to provide opportunity for academic engagement in a research question or creative work that is exploratory, exciting, and 'venturesome' (while also being grounded in one's intellectual interests, prior coursework and future plans). This is about exploration! It should lead to discovery - and also, at its best, help open doors to future possibilities (for graduate school, fellowships, and more). 

Award
The Lakers Venture Grant Program provides the following support:

  • $2,000 for travel costs and incidentals directly associated with the project
    • Some examples of incidentals are: museum passes, least-cost short-term accommodation at the research site, transportation to the research location, etc.

Eligibility
The program is available to full-time GVSU undergraduate students in good standing who have not yet completed the requirements for graduation. Successful students will have demonstrated a record of academic success in their discipline. Awarded recipients must continue enrollment at GVSU as full-time undergraduates for at least one full semester of study beyond the period of the award (i.e. the following Fall semester).


How to Apply

  • Complete the pre-application. Pre-application is due one month before the proposal deadline. 
  • The application process must include TWO faculty endorsements. Send the following link to your faculty recommenders: www.gvsu.edu/cuse/faculty

Step 1 - Pre-application

The Pre-Application is due one month before the Proposal deadline. Feedback comes within seven days of submission of the Pre-application. Students will have three weeks to work on their final proposal with feedback in hand.

A Good Proposal Describes -

  • what you hope to accomplish
  • why those objectives are important to your academic or artistic field
  • how you intend to achieve your objectives

Items to think about 

  1. What do you plan to accomplish? What question or hypotheses are you exploring? For creative artists, what project are you pursuing? (250 words max)
  2. What’s the significance of your research question or creative project? How does your research question connect to current thinking in your field? (250 words max)
  3. How will you achieve your objective(s)? What is your Project Plan? What steps will you take? What methods will you use? What’s the timeline for your research plan or creative project? (500 words max)
  4. How are you well prepared for your project? What courses, undergraduate research experiences, internships, or other experiences have helped set the foundation for what you want to do? (250 words max)
  5. What resources do you need? What sources of information, supplies, travel funding, equipment, creative space, or other things do you need to do what you want to do? Note texts, observations, archives, datasets, source materials, interviews, etc., you will need to pursue your project. (250 words max)
  6. Budget: What items will you need to purchase? What travel costs and entrance fees will you need to plan for? (Don’t forget the cost of a passport, for example, and hotel stays!). (250 words max)
  7. How will you share your results? What’s your plan for dissemination? (250 words max)

 

Step 2 - Application

Application Overview
After you have received feedback for the pre-application, complete the application by applying online. The proposal must include: a research/creative question, overview of significance, background literature survey if appropriate, sketch of preparation for success through prior coursework, internships or research, and projected outcome and dissemination plan, plus budget with documented estimates (for plane or train tickets, for example).

Limiting parameters include, but are not limited to: the award cannot go toward activities associated with a credit-bearing course at Grand Valley or elsewhere; the award cannot go toward the cost of a private language tutor, a dance instructor, or other private lessons; the award cannot go toward the transportation cost of a return to one’s hometown or country of origin.

Proposal Requirements
The Application Form will include the following items:

  • Applicant Information (part of online form)
  • Proposal (uploaded as part of online - follow the detailed Proposal Requirements when writing your proposal)
    • Project Goals and Significance: What you hope to accomplish and why it matters! (max 2 pages)
      • This prompt is from the pre-application, items 1 and 2
    • Project Feasibility and Scope: (max 2 pages)
      • This prompt is from the pre-application, item 3
    • Student Preparation and Resources needed: (max 2 pages exclusive of resume & unofficial transcript)
      • This prompt is from the pre-application, items 4 and 5
    • Budget: (referencing the template in the Proposal Requirements document)
      • This prompt is from the pre-application, item 6
    • Dissemination Plan: (max 1 page)
      • This prompt is from the pre-application, item 7
  • Budget Worksheet (template is in the Proposal Requirements document)
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • TWO Faculty Recommendations/Endorsements (submitted online by faculty at www.gvsu.edu/cuse/faculty)

Proposal Review
Proposals will be reviewed by a faculty committee using this Lakers Venture Grant rubric. We encourage you to review the rubric carefully as you develop your proposal.

Academic Year Award Grant Cycle

Proposals for travel during the break between the 2024 Fall and 2025 Winter semesters, or the 2025 Spring Break must be submitted by November 17, 2024.

  • Pre-application: Due one month before application deadline
  • Application deadline: November 17, 2024
  • Faculty review: concluded by December 1, 2024
  • Award announcements: December 4, 2024
  • Award disbursal: As required by budget and project timeline

Summer Award Grant Cycle

Proposals for travel during the 2024 Summer Break must be submitted by March 29, 2024.

  • Pre-application: Due one month before application deadline
  • Application deadline: March 29, 2024
  • Faculty review: concluded by April 5, 2024
  • Award announcements: April 10, 2024
  • Award disbursal: As required by budget and project timeline

Grantee Responsibilities

Each student Lakers Venture Grant recipient is responsible for the quality of their research project and for their conduct as a representative of Grand Valley State University at all research locations. They should be self-directed in their research, mature, courteous, ethical in every aspect of their research program and aware of the impact of their actions within the communities and organizations they visit.

Each Lakers Venture Grant recipient must fulfill the requirements of the program. These include:

a) designing and presenting a poster or oral presentation at the next Student Scholars Day following the grant period;

b) completing a Student Scholars Day registration process with abstract (a succinct half-page about their project) and, *if appropriate* a final research paper by the designated deadline to submit to GVSU’s Institutional Repository, Scholar Works. The SSD abstract should be a brief (200 words maximum) report on the research project and its results or a note the plan and outcome of the creative project (an art installation on campus, or participation in a gallery exhibit, for example, or performance). And

c) completing a short reflection paper (see requirements and essay prompts below).

The Venture Grant Reflection Paper:  This is a single-spaced two-page maximum reflective essay that enables you to capture what you’ve learned as a result of your Venture Grand funded experience. Address the following prompts in the order that makes best sense to you (be sure to touch upon all of the prompts, changing them up a bit if necessary to help them fit your project and your experience):

  • How has your understanding of the scope and/or significance of the project changed from the beginning of the project to now, at the end of the project? In what way(s)?
  • What do you feel that you learned in and about your disciplinary or interdisciplinary field because of completing your Venture-Grant funded research or creative work?
  • What parts of your project would you do more of if you had more time?
  • What would you change about your research or creative project (what would you have done differently, even just a little – or perhaps a lot! and why)?
  • What new questions or possibilities are you now seeing because of the Venture Grant-funded work you’ve done?
  • What ‘next venture’ will you/would you pursue if you had an opportunity to take another step in the process you started with this Venture Grant?
  • How would you describe what you’ve learned as a result of your Venture-Grant-funded research or creative work? What skills have you developed or improved? What new scholarly or creative resources have you found (new archives, databases, studio spaces, etc)? What research methodologies or creative processes do you now better understand and can better use?
  • How have you grown or changed as a result of the Venture Grant experience as a scholar, researcher or artist and as a thoughtful undergraduate person engaged in exploring and better understanding some part of the complex world.

Budget Tracking
Students are responsible for monitoring their budget and initiating any reimbursements. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship will reimburse the costs associated with the project up to the amount awarded. Please see the Budget and Reimbursement Information web page on the OURS Summer Scholar Programs website. We will follow the same process for Lakers Venture Grant recipients as we do for our summer scholars. We do not order supplies, make travel arrangements, etc. If you make purchases through another GVSU department, we will reimburse that department through inter-department OnBase transfer requests. Purchases should be processed through the faculty mentor's department first, then the department will request a transfer of funds through OnBase. The transfer request must include receipts showing the purchase(s).


Lakers Venture Grant FAQ's

The Lakers Venture Grant program at GVSU provides students with up to $2,000 in funding for off-campus travel (DOMESTIC or INTERNATIONAL) to conduct immersive, student-driven, original and independent research or to pursue experiential projects in the arts. 

Each award includes up to $2,000 for travel costs and incidentals directly associated with the project (for example: museum passes, least-cost short-term accommodation at the research site, transportation to the research location, etc.). 

The program is available to full-time GVSU undergraduate students in good standing who have not yet completed the requirements for graduation. Successful students will have demonstrated a record of academic success in their discipline. Awarded recipients must continue enrollment at GVSU as full-time undergraduates for at least one full semester of study beyond the period of the award (i.e. the following Fall semester). 

The Lakers Venture Grant award is a competitive, prestigious travel grant intended to support travel to and then engagement in an independent research/inquiry experience that could not be accomplished on campus.  

Quite a bit – You don’t want to write a Lakers Venture Grant proposal at the last minute. You'll want to brainstorm and journal in preparation for the writing process and dig into the practicalities of travel to your chosen research location. You’ll want to consider your academic interests and graduate school/career aspirations –   Some key questions to ask yourself: 

  • What academic subject or interdisciplinary issue sparks your passion? What questions have you begun to explore in classes, independent research projects, and/or collaborative research with faculty mentors that excite you? 

  • What ‘next thing’ do you need to do to better understand this question, this issue, in order to advance in thoughtful engagement with it?  

  • How might the most challenging and exciting courses you’ve taken so far at GVSU provide a foundation for your research experience and how might the research experience prepare you well for advanced courses and for graduate study or a gap-year fellowship experience before graduate study?  

  • How does your proposed research connect with your undergraduate research experiences at GVSU?  

  • What research foundation do you need to lay in preparation for your senior thesis or capstone seminar? 

  • How might your proposed research connect with your choice of study-abroad program and the timing of your study-abroad experience? (Note that some semester and year-long study-abroad programs include a major research component – SFS, SIT, ISDSI, DIS, ISA EuroScholars, the LSE General Course, IES Oxford, CIEE, and AMIDEAST, CET and IES language study programs are fine choices that are likely to complement your Lakers Venture Grant proposal.)  

The proposal must include: a research/creative question, overview of significance, background literature survey if appropriate, sketch of preparation for success through prior coursework, internships or research, and projected outcome and dissemination plan, plus budget with documented estimates (for plane or train tickets, for example). Please follow the detailed Proposal Requirements when writing your proposal.

The award cannot go toward activities associated with a credit-bearing course at Grand Valley or elsewhere; the award cannot go toward the cost of a private language tutor, a dance instructor, or other private lessons; the award cannot go toward the transportation cost of a return to one’s hometown or country of origin. 

Yes. Two letters of recommendation from faculty members are required. 

Yes. Competitive applications include a carefully researched, detailed budget. 

  • Summer Award Grant Cycle: End of MARCH 

  • Academic Year Award Grant Cycle: End of NOVEMBER 

Yes. Students are responsible for monitoring their budget and initiating any reimbursements. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship will reimburse the costs associated with the project up to the amount awarded.  

No. We do not order supplies, make travel arrangements, etc.  You will be responsible for this and submitting receipts for reimbursement.

Particularly with international research projects, circumstances may change on-site. In this case, CONTACT CUSE as soon as possible with an update and, if necessary, an amended budget. 

Each Lakers Venture Grant recipient must fulfill the requirements of the program. These include:

a) designing and presenting a poster or oral presentation at the next Student Scholars Day following the grant period;

b) completing a Student Scholars Day registration process with abstract (a succinct half-page about their project) and, *if appropriate* a final research paper by the designated deadline to submit to GVSU’s Institutional Repository, Scholar Works. The SSD abstract should be a brief (200 words maximum) report on the research project and its results or a note the plan and outcome of the creative project (an art installation on campus, or participation in a gallery exhibit, for example, or performance). 

c) submit a Travel and Expense Reimbursement Form to be reimbursed for your incidentals.

The Lakers Venture Grant award is a competitive, prestigious travel grant intended to support travel to and then engagement in an independent research/inquiry/creative experience that could not be accomplished on campus.

The Venture Grant is intended to provide opportunity for substantial engagement in a research question or creative project that in turn becomes a part of a foundation for a compelling application for graduate school, engagement in the workplace or major fellowships such as the Fulbright, Luce, Truman, Peace Corps, Rangel, Payne, Pickering, Rhodes, Mitchell, Marshall and more.

See GVSU Fellowships to explore the many fellowship options for which the Lakers Venture Grant provides a sound foundation as one of the ‘stackable’ experiences (along with study abroad, undergraduate research on campus, language study and community service) that provide content (experience and knowledge) for a compelling fellowship or graduate school application. 



Page last modified December 19, 2023