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Davidson Research Initiative

The Davidson Research Initiative (DRI) offers a wide range of opportunities for collaborative research and in-depth study between students and faculty during the summer. Student and faculty interest in the Davidson Research Initiative (DRI) remains very high 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.

In applying to the DRI Program 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 and the workload for each student as defined in the proposal. Typically, students spend from 5 to 10 weeks on campus in a collaborative community of researchers representing the entire academic spectrum of disciplines, including science, mathematics, social science, humanities and the arts.

Under current policies, DRI Summer Research Fellows can propose to work 10 weeks on campus, or 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 five of the 10 weeks.

First-years, sophomores and juniors are eligible to apply for 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, Ellen and Ernie Stevens, The Clark Ross Academic Innovation Fund and Larry Mimms '76:

  • Two Mimms Summer Research Fellowships, designated for students exploring research in biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, genomics or bioinformatic.
  • One Ross Summer Research Fellowship designated for students who have an interest in the social sciences or humanities disciplines.
  • One Stevens Summer Research Fellowship designated for students who are interested in studying the attributes of chemistry.


Deadline for applications for DRI Summer Research Fellowship proposals is Monday, Dec. 03, 2018, 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 Nicole Snyder at 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 Technology & Innovation Support Center at 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.