curf - Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships



Research Grants

Hassenfeld Foundation Social Impact Research Grant

SPRING 2014 DEADLINE: March 18, 2014, 4:00pm

Purpose, Eligibility, and Expectations

The Hassenfeld Foundation Social Impact Research Grant has been established to provide support to undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences who are undertaking innovative research or social entrepreneurship projects or internships with potential for real-world outcomes and significant social impact. It is expected that through this experience student recipients will develop a deeper understanding of our increasingly interconnected world – within the US and beyond – as well as a greater appreciation of the challenges facing society.

The Hassenfeld Foundation Social Impact Research Grant seeks to support opportunities for personally enriching research and/or service for students in the summer after their freshman or sophomore year. The Fund will provide a stipend to recipients that can be used for travel, research costs, and modest living expenses. College students in any discipline are eligible. International students are eligible to apply, as long as they are eligible to work in the US (International students should consult Penn Global’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services if they have questions about eligibility to work in the US). Student recipients are expected to return to Penn to share their experiences with other students and to contribute to an entrepreneurial culture of service at Penn and in the larger world.

All projects related to the Fund’s goals will be considered, but since one goal of the fund is to promote deep understanding of the roots of social challenges, preference will be given to projects that students have originated and developed on their own (in consultation with recognized specialists at Penn or elsewhere), rather than working within an established organization.

It is expected that each applicant will consult with and seek guidance from at least one Penn faculty member with expertise in the area, and each application must be supplemented by a letter of recommendation from a Penn faculty member with experience conducting similar or related work in the same discipline, topic, or geographic area in order to speak to the general feasibility of the project, as well as the student’s ability to successfully carry out the project. Applicants are advised to seek out and develop mentoring relationships with potential Penn faculty members early in developing and designing their projects. In addition, projects that will take place outside the US require both a recommendation from a Penn faculty member with expertise in the area and a letter of willingness from a local project affiliate who can guide and serve as a resource to the student while abroad.

Guidelines for the Hassenfeld Foundation Social Impact Research Grant are intentionally open-ended to permit students to shape and define their own projects. It is expected that the process of designing a project, seeking guidance, identifying and contacting a local affiliate, and crafting a budget could take several months. Prospective applicants are therefore encouraged to begin preparing early and are invited to discuss potential projects with Dr. Wallace Genser, CURF’s Associate Director for Research.

Hassenfeld Foundation Social Impact Research Grant recipients will be expected to keep a journal, take photos (when appropriate), and/or prepare academic results from their experience, as appropriate to their field. After their return, all recipients will give a presentation of their experiences.


Before clicking through to the application form, please prepare the following in one document (.pdf only). Please submit one .pdf file. Docx, doc, png, jpg, htm, html, or any other non-.pdf format will be grounds for non-consideration of your application. Name your file with your PennKey name only (the alpha characters, not your PennID Number). Transcripts must be non-secured versions; secured versions prevent us from reading your application and thus will cause your application to be refused.

Proposal Essay: In no more than 2 pages, double-spaced, 12 pt type, describe the project you intend to undertake. Who, what, where, how, when, and why are important questions to address.
With whom will you work? Who will you serve? What is exciting, new, or valuable about your project? What contribution will it make? How will you carry out your project; that is, what steps will you take? Why is this project important? When: provide a timeline. Specificity is a virtue.

Academic Context – Project Goals and Objectives:

  • Abstract: Explain the overall goals of the project in no more than 100 words
  • Objectives and Methodology (500 words maximum)
    • State the objectives and relevance of the proposed work in terms intelligible to an educated non-specialist
    • Briefly evaluate existing knowledge and work in the area and provide a brief background summary justifying the proposed project’s potential contribution to the field
    • Describe the design and procedures to be employed and provide a timetable and implementation plan for completion of the project

Personal Statement: In no more than 2 pages, double-spaced, 12 pt type, describe how this project fits with your academic, personal, or career plans for the future, and with your current academic, personal, and career interests and activities.

Bibliography: no more than one page – limit of 12 items – of key scholarly works (listed in the citation format used in your discipline) providing background for your project. These may be books or articles, and they may be a mix of theoretical and empirical works that inform the project. If desired, a one-sentence annotation may be used to explain a specific item’s relevance to the project, but annotations are not required

Budget: No more than one page, double-spaced, 12 pt type. Specificity is important. These funds are to support you in your project, including travel and living expenses and research costs. They are not to be used as programming costs of a service project. In keeping with the goals of social entrepreneurship, budget proposals should reflect a careful stewardship of limited resources. For example, rather than proposing a budget based on the per-diem allowance of a federal or corporate employee, budgets should reflect the costs for a student to travel and live safely and modestly in the cultural context in which they will conduct their project.

PennInTouch Transcript: Transcripts must be non-secured versions; secured versions prevent us from reading your application and thus will cause your application to be refused.

Hassenfeld Foundation Social Impact Grant application form

Faculty Recommendation Form

Please follow all instructions on the application form and Faculty Recommendation form.

Your local project affiliate must also send a letter stating their willingness to work with you and briefly describing how they will assist you via this link:

Applications will be due March 18, 2014, 4:00pm.

Decisions will be made and announced no later than April 27, 2014.

Requirements and Procedures for Receiving Funding

Funds will not be disbursed until students review CURF’s information on Ethics and Compliance and complete and submit all necessary forms. All CURF-funded student researchers must complete CURF’s Research Experience Checklist and Waiver of Liability. Students conducting research outside the US are required to provide International Travel and Emergency Contact information on the Checklist.

Once the Research Experience Checklist and Waiver of Liability has been submitted to CURF and approved, you will be contacted by the College’s Business Office to complete forms required for disbursement of your stipend. You must complete stipend paperwork with the College’s Business Office before you can be paid. Due to federal employment regulations, you will not receive your stipend until you complete this paperwork.

Research involving animals or hazardous materials must also be submitted at the same time for approval by the relevant University oversight committees. Students should consult with their faculty research advisors to correctly submit any necessary forms.


Dr. Wallace Genser

For questions, and to schedule an appointment to discuss developing an application, please call 215-746-6488

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CURF, University of Pennsylvania
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