Overview

The Richter Scholars program supports independent student research projects conducted under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The program relies on funds awarded through the Paul K. Richter Memorial Fund and the Evalyn E.C. Richter Memorial Fund, distributed by the Bank of America. The purpose of these funds is to support educational research opportunities that encourage the practices of independent thought leading to independent achievement and personal responsibility. In keeping with this intent, the Richter Scholars program at George Fox distributes funds to support student research activities that are devised, initiated, and carried out by individual student researchers, with mentorship, guidance, and expertise provided by a faculty mentor. For the purpose of this program, research is defined as a knowledge-generating activity that is designed to provide new information on a topic, tool, or process, and that proceeds according to established and accepted research methods.


Guidelines For Applicants (Updated April 2021)

Eligibility

Richter grants are available to full-time graduate (8 hrs per semester) or undergraduate (12 hrs per semester) students at George Fox who are actively pursuing their degree and are in good academic standing. The applicant’s cumulative GPA at George Fox must be at least 3.0. Undergraduate students must have at least sophomore standing to be eligible for a Richter grant. Transfer students are eligible to apply so long as they meet all eligibility criteria. Proposals are submitted by individual students, and separate proposals must not request funding for the same research. Individual students may submit separate proposals to work on separate components of the same larger project, but each student’s submission must describe a full research investigation.

A proposed project must be completed before an applicant’s graduation date. Because funds are awarded late in the spring semester and projects typically entail summer work, funds cannot be requested by an applicant who is planning to graduate in the same semester in which the proposal is submitted. Funding is for research that has not yet been conducted, and funds cannot be used to reimburse students for research that has already been completed.

An applicant must have identified a faculty mentor prior to submitting a research proposal, and should consult with the faculty mentor in the preparation of the proposal.

Collaboration with other students and researchers is encouraged, but the proposal should provide clear evidence of student leadership and involvement in all aspects of the proposed research. The proposal materials should indicate clear support from a faculty mentor with expertise in the area of the proposed research, but the research must be designed and conducted predominantly by the student. Faculty mentors are expected to be involved by providing guidance on appropriate research methods and tools, discipline-specific and research-focused materials to support student learning (e.g. books, articles, protocols), feedback on project design, proposal development, data analysis, and research dissemination, and general expertise and resources that support the student’s proposed work.

Funding

Funding is awarded in the fall semester for research that should primarily be conducted over the summer immediately following notification of the award. While data analysis and dissemination activities may extend into the following fall semester, most of the research effort should occur during the summer.

Undergraduate proposals may request funds for a stipend and supplies. Stipends may not exceed $4,200, and are not assessed based upon an hourly rate. Thus, the stipend should not be seen to indicate the number of hours of work that should be dedicated to the research. Stipends can only be paid during the summer months and not during the academic year. Supply requests should be restricted to those supplies that are necessary for the proposed research and that are not available through University resources. Funds for domestic and/or international travel may be included in the initial budget request if the travel is necessary to collect data*. Travel requests must be based on the most reasonable rates available for transportation, lodging, and meals. There is not a specific limit on the amount of funding per student, but funded requests typically do not exceed $5,000.

Graduate proposals may only request funds for supplies and travel to collect data; graduate students are not eligible for stipends.

Requests for travel funds to present research results at a conference or to disseminate the research through another venue should not be included in the original request. Remaining funds may be made available to support travel to present Richter-funded research at a professional conference. These funds should be requested only after the original funding request has been awarded and a research presentation has been accepted. Conference travel requests will be considered by the Richter committee as they are received. Requests should be made using the form available at this link; completed forms should be submitted to Vetta Berokoff (vberokof@georgefox.edu) along with documentation confirming acceptance of the conference abstract, paper, or poster. Travel grants will not be awarded until the final report from the research grant has been submitted to Vetta Berokoff. 

Richter research grants are specifically for the proposed research project and do not affect other George Fox scholarships or grants.

*University-related travel is currently restricted due to COVID. Because of the unpredictable nature of the ongoing pandemic, it is uncertain whether restrictions will be lifted or in place by summer 2021. If travel is an important component of your data collection effort, please include it in your proposal and clearly address your plan to modify your research should travel be restricted in your contingency plan.

Proposal Guidelines

Please check back as dates and criteria will be updated.

Proposals will be due early Fall 2021 (date to be determined). Proposals should be typed using 12-point font, one inch margins, Times New Roman font, with single line spacing. All proposal contents except for the faculty mentor’s support letter should be collated into a single PDF file and submitted as an email attachment to Vetta Berokoff (vberokof@georgefox.edu). The faculty mentor’s support letter should be submitted separately by the faculty mentor to maintain confidentiality. Support letters should also be sent as a PDF email attachment to Vetta Berokoff (vberokof@georgefox.edu), and should also be received by the proposal deadline. A faculty committee will review the applications (guidelines for partial evaluation) and notify students by email of the decisions on or before (date to be determined, Fall 2021). Projects are to be completed by November 1, 2022, with reports due December 1, 2022, and while the student is enrolled at George Fox University. As you prepare your proposal, please bear in mind that it will be reviewed by faculty from diverse disciplines; make every attempt to make your proposal intelligible and clear to a general academic audience, and to minimize discipline-specific jargon.

Contents of the Application

  1. Cover Sheet Complete all fields in the cover sheet, and enclose with the remaining application materials.

    Body of the Application (not to exceed four pages)
  2. Project title
  3. Issue or problem to be researched
    Briefly lay the context for your proposed research by orienting the reviewers to the discipline in which your research topic falls, by identifying the gap in knowledge that relates to your proposed work, and by clearly identifying the central problem that your research seeks to address.
  4. Thesis statement or hypothesis
    Clearly articulate a thesis statement or hypothesis that directly flows from the issue or problem already identified, and that frames the remainder of your proposal.
  5. Review of background literature
    Provide an organized and linear overview of existing knowledge on your research topic, and include proper citations. The literature review should be used to develop a conceptual framework and to expand the justification for your proposed research.
  6. Research methods
    Provide a clear plan for how you intend to conduct the research that considers materials, equipment, participants (if relevant), sample sizes, data collection techniques, data analysis methods, and inferential approaches. Methods and protocols that are standard for your discipline should be cited appropriately to provide evidence of credibility. Include, in table format, a timeline for all proposed project activities that are described in the research methods. All supplies, equipment, and/or travel that is requested in the budget should be clearly named and justified in the research methods. As you construct this section, bear in mind that reviewers will evaluate the research methods to determine whether your proposed research is capable of accurately addressing the hypothesis or thesis identified in the proposal.
  7. Benefits of the research
    Describe specific personal and disciplinary benefits that are likely to result from the proposed research.
  8. Outcomes of the project
    Provide a detailed and realistic plan for research dissemination including presentations and/or publications.

    Supporting Documents
  9. List of cited references
    Please use whatever citation format is standard for your discipline, and be consistent in your formatting throughout your reference list. Include a full citation for each reference that is cited in the main text. Do not include citations for resources that are not cited in the main text.
  10. Detailed budget and budget justification
    Complete the budget worksheet for the full funding request. Any requested stipend, supplies, and/or costs associated with travel for data collection should be listed, and realistic costs should be appraised. On a separate page, provide a 1-2 sentence justification for each budget item, including the cost breakdown for items such as mileage, multiple night stays, subscriptions, etc. If the proposal requests funds for international travel, this should be included based on the most current rate for Travel Guard insurance*. 
  11. COVID-19 contingency plan
    Due to the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the precise circumstances under which research will be able to be conducted are uncertain. To assist the committee in evaluating the potential for your research to occur under potential COVID-19 restrictions, please identify any items in your proposal that may need to be adjusted should COVID-19 result in limited access to laboratory space, travel, summer housing, face-to-face interactions with participants and/or collaborators, etc. For each item, outline a brief plan for how you propose to modify the research should these resources and/or opportunities be unavailable. The COVID-19 contingency plan should not exceed one page in length.
  12. Faculty mentor's support letter
    The faculty mentor should provide a signed letter no longer than two pages in length expressing support for the project and detailing their expected involvement and commitment to the research. The support letter should specifically address the value of the research, the strengths of the proposal, a realistic assessment of the capability of the applicant to complete the proposed research to a high standard, and the specific support that the faculty mentor will provide to the student. The letter should be signed and dated and emailed directly from the faculty sponsor to Vetta Berokoff (vberokof@georgefox.edu) by the proposal deadline.
  13. Unofficial copy of transcript
    Please print an unofficial copy of your most current transcript from MyGeorgeFox.

*All students traveling abroad will be required to register with Travel Guard, the University’s chosen travel insurance (contact Vetta Berokoff at vberokof@georgefox.edu for registration). Note that this is a supplement to regular medical insurance which all students and faculty should have. Students are expected to check with their current medical insurance carrier to make sure they are covered while traveling. If a student does incur medical expenses, they need to keep any receipts to submit to their insurance company when they return. The insurance is valid only when an insured person is outside of their home country, or country of domicile if different.

Review Process

All proposals that meet eligibility criteria will be reviewed by a faculty committee consisting of graduate and undergraduate faculty representatives from a range of academic disciplines. When making funding decisions, the committee will consider (1) the merit of the proposed research, (2) the likelihood of the research plan to be successful, (3) adherence to proposal guidelines, (4) the extent to which the proposed work represents independent student research, (5) the anticipated support provided by the faculty mentor and how this will impact the student’s experience, and (6) the total amount of funding available to be distributed. Following review, the committee will make one of the following decisions on each proposal:

  • Award as submitted.
  • Award with changes.
  • Invite the applicant to resubmit with specified improvements.
  • Reject with no opportunity to resubmit.

Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by email.

Management of Funds and Reporting

Accessing Funds

Awarded funds for supplies and travel to collect data will be accessed by requesting reimbursement. Stipends are treatable as taxable income, and stipend paperwork will be made available to the awardee once a current I-9 and W-4 are on file. Please read the additional information on accessing funds for a more detailed description of the process.

Changes to the Approved Research Plan

Funds are made available for the specific work outlined in the proposal. If substantial changes to the research plan are necessary, these must be approved by the Richter committee before work can proceed under Richter support. In such cases, the awardee should submit a letter to Vetta Berokoff (vberokof@georgefox.edu) and addressed to the committee that provides an explanation and justification for the changes, and details how these changes will impact the project outcomes, timeline, and/or budget. This letter should be co-signed by the awardee and the faculty mentor, and will be reviewed by the Richter committee. Awardees will be notified of the committee’s decision by email.

Reporting

All awardees are required to submit a report detailing project outcomes resulting from the completed project by December 1, 2022. All research activities for which funds were received should be completed by that time, and should be described in the report. The report format will be communicated to awardees early in the fall semester.

Termination

If the faculty mentor determines that an awardee is not satisfactorily fulfilling the terms of the proposal, they may request termination of the grant and cancellation of further funding. This request must be made through a letter addressed to the committee and emailed to Vetta Berokoff (vberokof@georgefox.edu). 

Equipment

Any equipment purchased with Richter funds becomes the property of the faculty mentor’s department at the completion of the student’s research. Thus, the department should be prepared to assume responsibility for maintenance, storage, and any continuing costs associated with the equipment.