Global Challenge Research Award

The UROP Global Challenge Research Award is an annual competition where students conduct faculty-mentored research that addresses an issue of global importance. This year’s topic is Covid-19. Successful applicants will conduct research on topics ranging from basic biology of the virus to the impacts of the pandemic on society. We welcome applications from across the university regardless of the research discipline. Candidates will apply through the standard summer 2021 UROP application, where they will indicate their interest in being considered for the award. Finalists for the award will be selected from successful UROP awardees and asked to provide additional information in April explaining how the project fits the topic and justifying why the project requires one year of funding. As outlined below, the award provides funding for one summer and two consecutive academic semesters.

Details about the award:

a) Students conducting research in any discipline are eligible to apply provided that their research relates to the chosen topic.
b) As with all UROP awards, research projects must be mentored by a BU faculty mentor.
c) We anticipate funding up to three applications each year based on relevance to the chosen topic, exceptional scholarship, and the transformative nature of the research. Funded projects are expected to have, as a goal, publication in a journal appropriate for the research.
d) Multidisciplinary research is encouraged but not required.
e) Awardees will be expected to present their work at a national conference, participation in which will be supported by the award.
f) The award is open to juniors who are committed to doing research during the summer and subsequent academic year.
g) It is assumed that awardees will graduate upon completion of their project, therefore, award recipients will not be eligible for future UROP funding.

What the award includes:
One summer and two consecutive academic semesters of UROP funding awarded as follows:

Summer: Student stipend awarded for 20, 30, or 40 hours/week of research.

Academic year (academic year funding is contingent on progress): Student stipend awarded for 5, 8, or 10 hour/week of research for the fall and spring semesters. OR If the student is receiving academic credit for the research, they may elect to receive supplies/travel funding up to $1425 per semester (with prior approval from UROP for all purchases/travel).

Travel/Supplies Funding: Funding up to $1000 to present research at a national conference.


In 2021, the Global Challenge Research Award was awarded to three students: Erin Duffy, Rachel Martin, and Zach Silfen.

Erin Duffy is a psychology major, conducting research with Dr. Nicholas Wanger (CAS Psychological and Brain Sciences) on a project titled “How does the type and amount of parental social support buffer against stress from COVID to promote parent and child mental health?”

Rachel Martin is a health science major, conducting research with Dr. Jonathan Jay (SPH Community Health Science) on a project titled “Gun Violence 20/20.”

Zach Silfen is a biomedical engineering major, conducting research with Dr. Diane Joseph-McCarthy (ENG Biomedical Engineering) on a project titled “In Silico Prototyping for Intranasally-Administered Agents for COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Pathogens.”


In 2020, the Global Challenge Research Award was awarded to two students: Cecelia Gerstenbacher and Aidan Wright. Cecelia Gerstenbacher is a biology major, conducting research with Dr. Alyssa Novak (CAS Earth & Environment) on a project titled, “Microplastic Density and Distribution on Associated Seagrass Species Zostera marina Throughout Sites of Varying Coastline Development along Massachusetts Intertidal Zones.” Aidan Wright is an English major, conducting research with Dr. Craciun Adriana (CAS English) on a project titled, “Ice in the Anthropocene, Then And Now.”