WKU to give $50,000 in student research grants

Natalie Hayden

WKU will give out $50,000 in grants this year for student research.

Gordon Baylis, vice president for Research, said 100 grants will be given out for $500 each. Any student can apply for the grant as long as they have a research idea and a faculty sponsor.

“…The students will be getting at no charge a one-unit class called something like ‘mentored research’ or ‘independent study,’ so that faculty member has to meet with their student at least once a week to help them with the work,” Baylis said.

“The crucial thing is, you’ve got to have a project that we’re going to disseminate,” Baylis said. “Doesn’t matter if it’s arts, humanities, science, any subject, just as long as you’ve got a clear product that you’re sending out into the world.”

Lynn Minton, manager of Marketing and Business Development, said the applications for summer and fall will be put online sometime this week, and the deadline will be April 2 for both.

Baylis said that although this is the first year for the grants, he hopes they will continue for years to come.

“You never know whether you’ll be overwhelmed with interest or if there won’t be any interest,” he said. “Our target is to have 60 grants for this summer and fall, and then 40 for next spring, and we’ll assess it at that point. I hope we’re going to be expanding it, honestly.”

The grants will hopefully give students more to present in March during Research Excellence and Creative Heights (REACH) week, Baylis said. REACH week will take place March 19-24.

“There’s obviously already a whole lot of student research going on, a lot of high-quality stuff, a lot of collaboration between students and faculty,” he said. “We don’t in any way suggest that’s not going on — we just want to put more resources behind it and also emphasize how we want the student to be sort of in charge of this research.”

This is the first year WKU will have a whole week dedicated to student research, Minton said. In the past, there was an event that lasted a couple days with a speaker, but only one day was dedicated to student research.

Minton said this is also the first year the Office of Academic Research has been involved.

“The Student Research Council has always put it on,” she said. “We just haven’t been involved with it in this office in the past. But since Dr. Baylis has become aware that this is taking place, he wants to expand it into something that’s a bit more visible.”

Baylis said REACH week is a way to put more emphasis on the great tradition of fantastic student and faculty research at WKU and what it can do for others.

“That’s really the key behind research and creative activity, is the impact on everybody else,” he said.