Dean's Award for Research Excellence - Undergraduate

DARE 2020

The Dean’s Award for Research Excellence (DARE) provides opportunities for Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) undergraduate students to engage in research projects supervised by faculty members over the Summer Term.

The primary goal of the Award is to support the development of students’ research skills by providing them with hands-on experience on a research project being undertaken by a faculty supervisor.

Through the DARE experience, undergraduate students will:

  • receive one-on-one mentoring from a faculty member;
  • participate meaningfully in the process of scholarly inquiry;
  • develop research skills and experience to support them as they move forward in their careers;
  • investigate and learn about a research area that interests you; and
  • gain valuable experience in the communication of research results, such as preparing and delivering poster presentations.

Award Value

$5,000 per student (paid as a monthly stipend over the summer months).


The awards are open to full-time undergraduate students enrolled in programs within the Faculty of LA&PS, including those graduating in June 2020, who, at the time of application:

  • will normally have a minimum GPA of 7.0; and
  • will have completed at least 48 credits by the time they take up the award (i.e. by May 1, 2020).

*Student awardees from previous Programs are eligible to participate in the 2020 DARE Program.

*DARE supervisors who participated in the previous Programs are eligible to participate as supervisors in the 2020 DARE Program. Previous DARE Project Supervisors should briefly explain any relationship of proposed projects to previously awarded DARE projects (if relevant) in the Project Description. While former DARE recipients are eligible to apply, preference will be given to applicants who have not been DARE recipients previously.

Number of awards for Summer 2020: There will be 30 awards available.

Duration of research activity: The research project is to be undertaken and completed during the Summer Term (May through August). Positions will commence on May 1, 2020, with final project deliverables due August 31, 2020.


Stage 1: Résumé and Cover Letter

Deadline: February 8, 2020 by 4PM
After reviewing all Research Project Postings, interested students must submit their résumés and expressions of interest to faculty members via MachForm by 4PM on February 8, 2020.

Stage 2: DARE Application (By invitation only)

Deadline: March 13, 2020 by 4PM*
Only those students who are selected by a faculty supervisor to work on their research project are invited to apply at this stage. Each student applicant must submit a DARE Application package consisting of the following:

by 4PM on March 13, 2020 via email to

* Note: Each student applicant is eligible to submit a maximum of one DARE application per competition. If a student is selected by more than one faculty supervisor in Stage 1, the student must decide on one project for which they will submit a complete DARE application and convey this information to all faculty members involved.

** It is the student applicant’s responsibility to arrange for receipt of the letter of recommendation from the faculty supervisor and append it to their online application.

Please do not include any additional attachments (e.g. photos, appendices, brochures, etc.) as these will be removed prior to the review process.

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Eligible Supervisors: Full-time tenure-track, tenured, CLA or CUPE 3903 Contract faculty members in the Faculty of LA&PS are eligible to submit a project as supervisors. CLAs who agree to supervise students must have an employment contract that does not cease throughout the duration of the award.

Program Process

Step 1. LA&PS faculty members submit research project descriptions by January 20, 2020.

Step 2. All completed project postings will be made available to student applicants beginning January 23. Students will submit via an online Expression of Interest form: a résumé, and cover letter to the professor(s) whose project(s) they would like to work on. At this early stage, students may wish to apply to 2-3 different projects that are of interest to them.

Step 3. Faculty members review student submissions and select the student(s) they may want to work with. They then invite them for interviews and select their preferred candidate by February 28, 2020 for whom they will also need to provide a letter of recommendation.

Step 4. Selected students will prepare an application to the DARE Program, in collaboration with their faculty supervisor. Note: Students will need to ensure that they have adequately conferred with their supervisor in advance of the competition deadline, so that supervisors are able to comment on the strength of the proposal in their letter of recommendation.

Step 5. Students are responsible for electronic submission of their DARE Application Form by the deadline of March 13, 2020 (by 4PM).

Application Requirements

Due March 13, 2020 by 4PM

  • Completed online Application Form (consisting of: 500-word Research Proposal and one-page Supervisor Signed Letter of Recommendation)

Competition Timeline


Deadline Activity
December 2019 Call launched to faculty members.
January 20, 2020 Deadline for faculty members to submit online research project postings through online portal.
January 23, 2020 Research projects posted online for student viewing.
February 7, 2020 Deadline for students to contact faculty members with a résumé and a one-page cover letter is February 7, 2020 by 4PM.
February 28, 2020 Deadline for faculty members to select and notify the student they want to support.
March 13, 2020 Deadline for students to submit complete DARE applications through the online DARE Application Form.
Mid / Late March 2020 Dean’s Office Committee reviews applications.
Late March-Early April 2020 Students and supervisors are jointly notified of the decisions.
May 1, 2020 Research work commences.
August 31, 2020 Final deliverables to be submitted to faculty supervisor
Fall/Winter 2020 DARE celebration and student poster presentations to LA&PS community (Tentative: The Collaboratory, Scott Library).


Application Evaluation and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated based on the student’s overall academic record, the overall project description and clearly articulated responses to the following criteria:

Learning Objectives

  • What are your learning objectives for your research project?
  • What strategies will you undertake to achieve your learning objectives?

Role in the Research

  • What is your overall role in the research project?
  • What are your specific tasks in the research project?
  • What methods will you use to conduct your research project?

Overall Quality of the Research Plan

  • Reviewers will also rate the overall feasibility and quality of the proposal.

Academic Record

  • Students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 7.0.

Quality of the Research Experience Being Offered

  • Is the Faculty supervisor providing the student with a valuable research training experience?

Release of Funding

Upon receiving the award, undergraduate students must agree to:

  • complete a brief survey evaluation of their DARE experience and submit to the Dean’s Office at the end of the award period
  • participate in the annual DARE Poster Session and Celebration



If you have questions about the DARE Program, contact David Cuff, PhD, Director: Strategic Research & Partnerships. Please also refer to our general DARE FAQ.