Program Description:

The Blazer Summer Research Institute (BSRI) is a competitive program for VSU faculty and undergraduate students that is internally funded by Academic Affairs, University Advancement, and private donations. The goal of the BSRI program is to support faculty-lead undergraduate student research projects during the summer term, which aligns with VSU’s Strategic Planning Goal 2.

The program's objectives are to:

Through engaging in undergraduate research and creative inquiry, during the BSRI, students will:

  • critically analyze data or sources through inquiries in research and/or creative endeavors.
  • demonstrate how their project applies what they are learning in the classroom to a real-world problem or scenario.
  • be knowledgeable of ethical issues and/or laboratory emergency and safety guidelines associated with a specific field or topic.
  • articulate the relevance of their work to members of a general audience and succinctly describe how their research fits into the larger body of knowledge.
  • demonstrate information literacy through evaluation of data and relevant sources, including analysis of accuracy, credibility, and bias.
  • experience mentorship as one component of undergraduate experiential learning.
  • learn how to collaboratively build or maintain a team to conduct research or creative projects, especially for those involving multiple undergraduate students.

Definition of Research from OSPRA:

Research and creative activity are broadly defined as any creative, critical, scholarly, and/or empirical activity that expands, clarifies, reorganizes, or develops knowledge or artistic perception. Research is more specifically defined as a systematic process of investigation or study that will produce facts or theories or will demonstrate or apply such knowledge to problem-solving within the discipline or in society.

BSRI Steering Committee Members

College of the Arts - Talley Mulligan

Langdale College of Business Administration - Kadir Yalcin

Dewar College of Education and Human Services - Renee Hannibal 

College of Humanities and Social Sciences - Chuck Talor (co-chair)

College of Nursing and Health Sciences - Michele Blankenship

College of Science and Mathematics - Jan Drake (chair)

Library - Catherine Bowers

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching- Kaitlyn Hunt

Provost's Office - Honey Coppage

Dean's Council - James LaPlant

Award Information:

It is anticipated that 5 to 10 awards will be made this year, depending on funding availability. Maximum award amounts are as follows, however faculty are not required to request the full amount of funding:

o One faculty member with one undergraduate student - $5,000

  •  $1,000 scholarship for student
  •  $4,000, which could include faculty compensation (maximum of $2000), travel needs, or any other allowable expenditures as described below

o One faculty member with two or more undergraduate students - $5,500

  •  $1,500 scholarship divided equal between all student participants
  •  $4,000, which could include faculty compensation (maximum of $2000), travel needs, or any other allowable expenditures as described below.

o Two faculty members with two or more undergraduate students - $5,500

  •  $1,500 scholarship divided equal between all student participants
  •  $4,000, which could include faculty compensation (maximum of $3000 to be divided equally between faulty), travel needs, or any other allowable expenditures as described below.

Application Timeline: 

  • Applications Open: October 1, 2022
  • Applications Deadline: December 15, 2022 by 5:00 PM EST
  • Award Announcements: February 15, 2023
  • Institute Dates: June 5 to July 28, 2023
  • Final Presentations by Students: July 28, 2023
  • Final Reports Due: August 28, 2023 by 5:00 PM EST

Program Events:

  • Kick-Off Meeting: April 28, 2023
  • Half-Day Student Library Session: Week 2 of the program 
  • BSRI Faculty Development Retreat hosted by Dr. Jamie Landau of CELT: TBA (including lunch break)
  • Mid-Program Faculty/Student Social: TBA
  • Half-Day Student New Media Session: Week 6 of the program


All full-time faculty at the instructor, lecturers/senior lecturers, clinical supervisors, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor level are eligible for BSRI funding, including those with administrative assignments such as department heads. Full-time temporary instructors (limited term instructors), visiting faculty, part-time personnel, and Deans are not eligible for BSRI funding.

Application & Other Important Documents:

Application Cover Sheet
Application Instructions
Budget Template
Program Guidelines
Fact Sheet for Students
Sample Proposal Score Form



I am not requesting funding for outside resources.  Do I still have to submit a facilities, equipment, and resources document?

Yes, an application missing the facilities, equipment and resources is incomplete. Most projects will require resources, some of which are simply taken for granted, such as your office computer for report writing, existing laboratory space, or statistical computer program for your data analysis. Although you may not need additional resources, your existing resources to carry out your project must be included in your application.

Some documentation for resources are not obvious, such as when you are accessing documents housed in community libraries, hospitals and other private and public entities. Even though such resources may be housed at these facilities, you will want to document that you will have access to those resources and that you must access the resources from the facility cited. For example, outcome data for a topic of interest may be housed only in one library in the state, and that you will have access to those data during the hours of operation of that library.

This is important for reviewers to verify that the materials of interest exist, that the policies of the institutions holding the materials will give you permission to access the materials, and the manner in which access is provided. For example, will you only be able to read the materials while at the facility, or can copies or scans be obtained? If duplication is allowed, did you specify in your budget funds for duplication?

The issues of access to materials should be documented in your methodology section and budget.


Who should submit the proposal?

The supervising faculty should submit the proposal with sections specified completed by the undergraduate student.


How long does the program narrative have to be?

The program narrative has a limit of three pages. However, there is no limit to references which are cited in the narrative to support the narrative.

What information do I have to include in the budget justification?

An explanation for all personnel, activities, and materials needed to conduct the project need to be documented in the budget justification.  In other words, if you are requesting funding for something, including faculty stipends, you must explain this in the budget justification.


I would like to take my student to a conference this summer as part of the BSRI.  Can I include this in my budget?

Travel funds for sharing findings are not included in the BSRI. However, successful projects should be eligible for funding support from multiple college and university sources. For example, the Undergraduate Research Council has funds for presentations in fall and spring of each year.

As a faculty mentor, do I have to apply for the full award amount?

No.  You can apply for the costs you think are appropriate for the project.  Although the maximum is either $5,000 or $5,500, you only should apply for the amount of funding need to support your project.  In addition, you are not required to request a faculty stipend, but the option is available to you, as indicated in the BSRI Guidelines.

I am a professional advisor and adjunct faculty in a department on campus.  Can I participate in the BSRI?

No, you are not eligible to participate.  The competition is open to only full-time teaching faculty who are hold positions as instructors/lecturers, clinical supervisors, assistant professors, associate professors, professors, and department heads at Valdosta State University. Limited Term Faculty (LTF) and adjunct faculty are not eligible.


I am a lecturer (or clinical supervisor).  Could I submit a proposal for this summer?

Yes, if you are a regular faculty (as described above) you are eligible.


I currently teach in the graduate school, but have a couple undergraduates working with me.  Can I submit a project for this program?

Yes, you are eligible. As long as you apply for a project that is for the undergraduate students only and it is not currently funded by another grant.


One of the students in my lab is graduating in May.  Can he still participate in the BSRI?

No, the student would not be eligible. Any student collaborator must still be an undergraduate student for the duration of the summer program and be registered for courses as a returning student in the Fall semester after completion of the program. 


I am teaching a study abroad course during June and want to add research as part of the course.  Can I apply for funding through the BSRI for this course?

Summer program funds may not be used for teaching support, even if the activity is research. However, if a clear separation can be made between summer study abroad activities and research activities, the project may be covered under the BSRI. For example, students in the study abroad will stay in the host country for a period of time after the study abroad program officially ends. This could be in support of data collection or cultural activities covered under the BSRI.

Can a study that is currently being worked on qualify for the BSRI?

If the project is started but a distinction can be made between what the has been done and what will be done during the summer, the project is eligible. If the project is already funded by another grant, then the project is not eligible for BSRI funding.

How will my project be evaluated if no one on the steering committee is in my discipline?

Your proposal will need to be written at an advanced level with minimum use of jargon. While individuals on the committee may not be in your specific discipline, there will be faculty who are in your general field and will follow the logic, purpose and intent of your proposal. Additionally, the executive committee for your college will be reviewing your proposal and provide feedback on all eligible proposals to the steering committee to aid in their discussions. 

If your project will involve a collaborative experience with one or more undergraduate students. Outlining clearly the roles, responsibilities and learning objectives for the students will be important to the evaluation of your proposal.

Can a student receive internship or research credit hours for participating in the BSRI? 

If the student is receiving credit hours for the course, in any way, then the project is not eligible for BSRI funding. However, if the college is giving experiential learning credit (not credit hours), then the project may be funded provided this is explained in the budget justification.

How do I find a sponsor?

Look for a professor who is doing research currently in an area you are interested in. Then speak with him/her about doing a project with them.

Do I have to be enrolled during summer to participate?

No you do not have to be enrolled in the summer to participate.

Returning student for second bachelors?

Yes, you are eligible to participate as long as you are an undergraduate student.

Is housing covered?

Not at this time. However you can use your stipend to help subsidies your housing costs.

How many projects can a student participate on? 

Students are allowed to participate in only one (total) BSRI proposal while at VSU.

Contact Dr. Dereth “Jan” Drake, Co-Coordinator of Undergraduate Research and Associate Professor of Physics,, ext. 4852