By Claire Crittendon – Co-Editor-in-Chief
On February 11, undergraduate students received an email from Academic Affairs on behalf of Professor of Business Zane Zheng subject lined “Call for LURE grant proposal.”
The LURE grant, or the Lasell University Research Excellence, was founded in 2020. According to Zheng, “the overarching goal of this grant mechanism is to allow Lasell undergrads to create new knowledge and explore new territories in their own professional fields.”
All undergraduate majors are eligible to apply. To qualify, students must present an idea for a research project spanning April to November 25, 2021, and find a professor to work alongside them.
This year’s grant theme is “promoting the use of digital technology in problem-solving,” due largely in part to the pandemic’s effect on our interaction with technology. As a society, we have all become engrossed in daily Zoom calls and constant FaceTimes with physically distant family and friends.
Zheng hopes to award five student-professor teams $150 towards their research project. The deadline for applications was March 15, with Zheng and the rest of the Committee on Academic Research and Development (CARD).
CARD was founded by Zheng to evaluate research being done at Lasell. He said, “one of the missions of that committee was to evaluate ideas, and also trying to come up with ways to increase the intensity and productivity of research in the community.”
In 2020, Zheng received seven applications spread out over the five schools – Communications and the Arts, Health Sciences, Fashion, Humanities, Education, Justice Studies and Social Sciences (HEJSS), and Business.
Zheng’s reason for starting the LURE grant was to inspire more “interest-based” research at Lasell’s undergraduate level. He feels while many students are completing research projects, when said projects are linked to a class or credit, they are more “mission-based,” and less driven by the students’ passion.
“It’s completely created out of your own thoughts and ideas and based on your understanding and perspectives of what is going on in your professional field,” said Zheng. “So, whatever you’re working on, or whatever your major, wherever you’re coming from, as long as you have this idea that you want to pursue, that’s totally unrelated to the current coursework, that will be a wonderful opportunity where you can use LURE grant, to have some monetary support and a faculty sponsor, in order to get your interest realized.”
The application itself asked for demographics such as gender to ensure the pool of winners was as diverse as possible. Aside from demographical information, applicants were asked to describe their proposed project, explain how their project fits into a “bigger picture,” go over their methodology, and lastly list an itemized budget.
“Find an idea that you feel like is worth pursuing, and dive into it. Try to create something new, and put your own name on it. LURE grant was created to achieve that purpose, in order for students to think outside the box, and then trying to make something of their own.”
Winners are set to be announced in early April.