Academic Programs


SCI-STAR: Student Training for Advising Research is a professional development program that provides graduate students with the opportunity to propose, plan, and oversee original research projects. The goal of this program is to develop graduate students as leaders in science, especially in the context of mentorship and group management. As such, the SCI-STAR program will accompany and complement the Rice Innovation Fellows program that the Provost Office has recently announced.

Program Details

  • Graduate students propose an original research project as Principle Investigators (PI)
  • Six projects will be selected by a faculty committee to be funded; they will receive a $7,000.00 grant each
  • One undergraduate student will be recruited by each selected graduate student to work on the project
  • Graduate student PIs of the selected projects will participate in Lilie introductory workshops to entrepreneurship
  • The research project is expected to be conducted over a full academic year, including the summer
  • The grant will provide a summer stipend for each participating undergraduate as well as funds for project-related expenses
  • During the SCI Summer Research Colloquium, results from each project will be presented as a poster by the undergraduate researcher. A travel award will be awarded to the best research team!

Information for Graduate Students

  • Graduate students should have the approval and support of their faculty advisor before submitting a proposal.
  • Research should be under the purview of the Smalley-Curl Institute, and the faculty advisor should be eligible for SCI membership (if not already a member).
  • Proposals should be no more than 3 pages, including the bibliography; they must provide an overview of the research project and detail how the undergraduate will collaborate on the project.
  • The faculty advisor should provide a letter of support for the graduate student and their proposed research as a PDF file.
  • The proposal, the advisor’s letter and a 2-page applicant’s CV have to be uploaded here.
  • The deadline for uploading the complete application package is Friday October 1st, 2021.
  • Proposals will be reviewed by SCI Administrators and faculty, and selected projects announced in the Fall semester.
  • If selected, the graduate student will send regular progress reports to SCI administrators (frequency and nature or reporting to be determined based on specific project details).
  • The graduate student will be allowed to use up to $1,000.00 from the grant during the program duration, as a contribution to research-related expenses. Note: all expenses must be pre-approved by SCI Administrators.
  • The selected projects will present a poster by the undergraduate at the annual SCI Summer Research Colloquium. There will be a separate category for “best SCI-STAR poster”, and both the graduate and undergraduate of the winning poster will receive a travel award.

Information for Undergraduate Students

  • Undergraduate students who participate in the SCI-STAR program will have the opportunity to collaborate on a long-term research experience under the guidance of a graduate student mentor. Research can begin in the Fall and is expected to continue through Summer (a stipend will be provided during the summer). The undergraduate will then present a poster on their research at the annual SCI Summer Research Colloquium and be eligible for a “Best SCI-STAR Research Poster” award.
  • Undergraduate students who are interested in gaining hands-on research experience should contact the graduate student directly when information is posted.

Program Archive