The SPUR program offers undergraduates in the Rausser College of Natural Resources the opportunity to participate in research in a faculty lab group by enrolling in SPUR program research units (199). SPUR helps interested faculty and labs researchers find each other in the hopes that students will gain much valued research experience, and get to know researchers and how research works.
Researchers who have programs that can provide undergraduate researchers with useful research experience are urged to submit projects to which students can apply. Researchers may apply each fall, spring, and summer term. The goals is to provide SPUR students with a meaningful learning experience, the kind only a world class research university can offer. Students should be informed participants in lab research, and understand the justification, goals, methods and results of the project they participate in. The role of a lab’s researchers—faculty, staff researchers, post-docs, and graduate students—in working with SPUR students is that of mentor and educator. Students enroll in a 199 and earn units for participating in research and learning about research processes. SPUR has limited funding to offset research expenses with a $500 contribution to the research lab for SPUR-related expenses, thanks to the donors of the Berkeley Fund for Natural Resources.
Regular faculty, Cooperative Extension Specialists, adjunct faculty, faculty emeriti, and lecturers currently teaching or who have taught in the previous semester are eligible to submit faculty-initiated projects. Priority consideration will be given to projects submitted by regular faculty and Cooperative Extension Specialists and for up to 2 students. Projects from those in other eligible categories will be approved secondarily and the remaining funding distributed for up to two students per lab. Extension specialists without an adjunct appointment, and others without a teaching appointment, will be considered if they have a teaching faculty member act as Instructor of Record. Sometimes a lab opts to accept students without funding, and they will still be considered part of the SPUR program.
Sponsoring a Student-Initiated Project
Student-initiated projects are ideal for students who would like to undertake their own independent research project. These may be projects intended for a senior thesis or the Rausser College Honors Program. Students who previously participated in a faculty-initiated project may expand their research experience into a new project. These projects require a considerable amount of preparation. It is recommended that students initiate their projects the semester prior to when research is set to begin. Students are required to find a Rausser College faculty mentor to sponsor their project. Faculty sponsors are encouraged to provide guidance and feedback on the student's research proposal and a proposed budget for research expenses. SPUR may also provide up to $2,000 in reimbursements to the student for expenses incurred in student-initiated projects, depending on funding availability. By approving the budget for a student-initiated project, the faculty sponsor indicates that they will be responsible for assisting the student with accessing their expense funding. It is highly recommended that interested faculty sponsors read through the guidelines for a student-initiated project to familiarize themselves with the student and faculty responsibilities for the project.