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First-Year Fralin Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Open to Virginia Tech Students Only

Virginia Tech’s Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is excited to announce an unprecedented first-year research program!

Funded by the Fralin Life Sciences Institute, the First-Year Fralin Undergraduate Research Fellowship (First-Year FURF) Program provides first-year students—who are new to research—with authentic research experiences in their chosen discipline, under the direct mentorship of a faculty member. The aim of this program is to provide early access to undergraduate research, particularly to students who may not otherwise have the opportunity, such as those who identify as first generation or low income. The program is open to all students and areas of research.

This year, each of up to ten (10) undergraduate students will be matched with a faculty mentor, and during their second semester at VT, they will engage in research activities for approximately 5 hours per week. The major objective is gaining important research experience and building a professional connection with the faculty member.

Selected students will receive a fellowship of $1,000 and their assigned faculty mentor will receive $500 to directly support the student’s research activities.

Students and faculty apply separately to participate in the program.


Application Deadline: August 30, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. EDT.
Submit your project information. NOTE: In order to access the form, you must sign in the Office 360 with your VT credentials. View Sample Faculty Application (PDF).

Eligibility: The First-Year FURF program is open to any Virginia Tech faculty member from any discipline.

Benefits: Faculty benefits include getting to know students and recruiting future researchers for their projects. Selected faculty will receive $500 to directly support the student’s research activities, specifically for materials/supplies/needs for the student to complete their work.

Application Process: Faculty may propose a new project or one that is part of their ongoing research. The project should be at an entry level and be appropriate for students with no prior research experience or skills, and have a scope allowing project completion in 80 hours. The nature of research activities will not be constrained, as long as the project follows the trajectory of accepted undergraduate research practice.

When students apply to the First-Year FURF program, they will review a list of faculty-submitted projects and indicate their top three choices. The OUR will match students to projects. Consequently, it is possible that not every project will be matched with a student.

Expectations: Matched faculty members commit to directly mentoring the student and collaborating with them during their one-semester research project. Student time commitment is approximately 5 hours per week (total = 80 hours for the semester). It is expected that a significant portion of this time will involve students working directly with the faculty mentor.


Application Deadline: October 30, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. EDT.

Application Process: Students will apply to the program using the online form during the fall semester of their first year at Virginia Tech. As part of the application process, students will review the list of available projects and rank their top 3 choices, briefly explaining why each project interests them. Students will be asked to explain what they hope to gain from the research experience, any skills, interests or abilities they would bring to the research experience, and why they should be selected for the opportunity.

Submit your application. NOTE: In order to access the form, you must sign in the Office 360 with your VT credentials. View Sample Student Application (PDF).


  • First-year freshmen and first-year transfer students in any discipline.
  • Students with no prior research experience.
  • Students in good academic standing (not on academic probation).

Benefits: Benefits to students include immersive training, introduction to authentic research at an introductory level and manageable scale, increased confidence and awareness of research, early faculty relationship building, and sparking a desire to pursue additional research opportunities, which all lead to increased retention. Throughout the program, students will also have access to guidance and mentoring from staff in the OUR, who will support the students as they seek and apply to additional research opportunities.

Students will receive a $1,000 fellowship. NOTE: Receipt of a fellowship could impact a student’s financial aid award, so students should consult with their financial aid advisor before accepting a fellowship.

Expectations: Students must engage in research with their faculty mentor for approximately 5 hours each week throughout their second semester at Virginia Tech. Per VT policy, students receiving the First-Year FURF fellowship will not be able to simultaneously receive research academic credit for that semester.

At the end of the semester, students will be invited to present their work at the annual Dennis Dean Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Conference.