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Ferguson Award

The Mary E. Ferguson Memorial Research Grant
Established by Ms. Aileen Ferguson in honor of her daughter Mary E. Ferguson, this award supports undergraduates doing independent research.

Award: $200-600, to be spent within the fiscal year of award

Nomination Deadline: Two application deadlines per year: Oct 16, Feb 21. 

Materials to Submit:

  1. Brief description of the research project including an itemized budget and all figures, tables, and bibliography (maximum of 2 pages) — the project description should be written by the student in consultation with the faculty advisor and be crafted around the student’s particular research question. Applications that exceed this page limit will not be reviewed.
  2. Abstract (approximately 150 words) aimed at a general audience describing the project and how funds will be used.
  3. One-page letter of support from nominating faculty member. The faculty advisor uploads all materials as a single PDF document.  Upload instructions will be provided in an email sent by the Chair of the Undergraduate Studies Committee.


  • Application deadlines are as indicated above.  Please follow instructions provided in the solicitation email sent to Biology instructors.  The Feb 21, 2020 deadline includes applications for the summer. Please remember that all funds must be spent within this fiscal year—so plan ahead for summer work!
  • Grants will be distributed among as many labs as possible
  • All applications will be ranked by members of the USC
  • The amount of funds awarded to each proposal will depend on the amount of Ferguson award money available each semester
  • Depending on ranking, awards are between $200-600 each
  • Students who do not receive an award may resubmit revised proposals at the next deadline
  • Priority is given to proposal from first-time applicants and those from labs who have received less than 2 Ferguson awards in a given academic year. 
  • Eligible students include those enrolled in 403, 495, 496, 303, and 201 (303 and 201 students are eligible only if the applicant is planning on conducting summer research) and relevant biology research through other programs’ research sections (e.g. Neuroscience, Marine Science, Environmental Science and Policy).
  • Late, incomplete, and applications that do not meet the guidelines will not be reviewed
  • Students and PIs are notified by email about the outcomes of the review, in a timely manner

To be considered for funding, students and their mentors should follow the above guidelines. The faculty advisor submits all materials as a single PDF document to the Chair of the Undergraduate Studies Committee.