SPUR for Students

The Sponsored Projects for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) program helps students get involved in research projects with world renowned faculty and staff researchers in the Rausser College of Natural Resources. The program is one of many ways Rausser undergraduates can gain research experience. We believe that research experience at this top level research university is a unique experience we can offer our students; it contributes to student scholarship and provides participants with invaluable skills and knowledge. The SPUR program helps student find research opportunities by applying to a faculty-initiated project, or, once they are advanced, by submitting a student-initiated project. Funds for defraying some research expenses are provided by by donations make to the Berkeley Fund for Natural Resources.

Learn more about the student experience in research from the video below:

Faculty-Initiated Projects
SPUR facilitates application to labs interested in mentoring undergraduate researchers by putting faculty labs and interested undergraduates in touch with each other for faculty-initiated projects. Faculty and lab members post available projects every fall, spring, and summer, and eligible students are encouraged to apply. Once a lab selects a student, the student enrolls in research units and is mentored by lab researchers.

Students are also encouraged to apply for research positions through the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP). URAP is open to all students and faculty at Berkeley.

Hear tips for applying to faculty-initiated projects from the video below:

Student-Initiated Projects
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 CNR Honors Program. Students who previously participated in a faculty-initiated project may expand their research experience into a new project. Some funding is available through SPUR to defray research expenses.

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 strongly encouraged to attend one of the many research workshops offered by the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Teaching faculty, Cooperative Extension Specialists, adjunct faculty, faculty emeriti, and lecturers currently teaching or who have taught in the previous semester are eligible to sponsor a student-initiated project. However, priority consideration will be given to projects sponsored by regular faculty and Cooperative Extension Specialists. Projects from sponsors in other eligible categories will be approved and funding provided if it is available. Extension Specialists without an adjunct appointment, and others without a teaching appointment, will be considered for sponsorship if they have a teaching faculty member act as Instructor of Record.