Davidson Research Initiative

Student and faculty interest in the Davidson Research Initiative (DRI) has grown enormously since the program's inception in 2007.

Undergraduate research opportunities

  • exponentially raise each student's level of understanding and expertise in a topic of study,
  • expand students' depth of knowledge beyond that which can be achieved in the classroom,
  • extend and enrich the student-faculty relationship,
  • energize faculty and support them in their research and scholarship, and
  • enable students to develop critical skills that provide a clear advantage when applying for jobs or graduate school.

The Davidson Research Initiative (DRI) offers a wide range of opportunities for collaborative research between students and faculty during the summer. Students may propose research projects that fit within the general framework of the faculty member's research or scholarship pursuits. However, to be awarded a DRI, a student must have individual ownership of at least one question or topic within that framework. Further, the student must be able to articulate (in the proposal) the unique contribution they will be making to advance the work.

Collaborative research project proposals, involving two to four students, will be accepted. Students must provide a compelling rationale for working collaboratively and define their independent roles within the project. Collaborative project proposals must be submitted by each student individually, but will be reviewed and rated as one project. The amount of each student's fellowship will depend on the duration of the project (as in other DRI projects the minimum duration for the project is five weeks and the maximum duration is 10 weeks) and the workload for each student as defined in the proposal. The SS&R committee will make the final determination of the amount each student will receive.

Under current policies, DRI Summer Research Fellows must work on-campus for five weeks during the summer, but are able to work off-campus for an additional five weeks as long as they have frequent contact with their mentor while off-campus. In 2016, this policy will change so that students may propose to work off-campus for up to 10 weeks during the summer. At least five of those off-campus weeks must include the presence of a faculty mentor at the same off-campus location. Combining the two policies, a student can propose to work five weeks on-campus with a faculty mentor and spend up to five weeks off-campus OR the student could work up to 10 weeks off campus, if the faculty mentor is also off campus, for at least 5 of the 10 weeks.

First-years, sophomores and juniors are eligible to apply for 20 DRI Summer Research Fellowships in any discipline ($480/week, plus housing and travel/supply funds). The following designated fellowships will be available through the DRI thanks to the generosity of Davidson donors, Larry Mimms '76 and Carole and Marcus Weinstein:

  • Two Mimms Summer Research Fellowships, designated for students exploring research in biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, genomics or bioinformatics.
  • Up to three Weinstein Summer Research Fellowships in the humanities and three Weinstein Summer Research Fellowships in digital studies.

Deadlines

Deadline for applications for DRI Summer Research Fellowship proposals is Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at 5 p.m. Proposal narrative components would include an introduction, justification (literature or previous work), methods, preparation, dissemination, and interview or surveys (if applicable). The student, in consultation with his or her faculty mentor, will submit a research proposal and other application materials. Contact Verna Case at vecase@davidson.edu for more information.

If your undergraduate research project is accepted and if you indicated on the DRI application that your project required technology resources, you will need to request a consultation regarding technology needs during the spring semester. Please email the ITS Helpdesk at helpdesk@davidson.edu or call 704-894-2900 to set up an appointment.

DAVIDSON RESEARCH INITIATIVE GROUP INVESTIGATIONS

DRI Group Investigations fund small groups of students who travel with a faculty member to an off-campus location to perform field research related to their coursework. A class studying "post-wall" Germany, for example, traveled to Berlin for a week over winter break. Another group traveled to Cleveland and Chicago to study urban decline and renewal. Groups can also stay on campus and study an artifact, rare volume, work of art or other tangible property that is brought to the college.