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VCSU partners with ND EPSCoR to encourage undergraduate research

Mar 14, 2024

Valley City State University (VCSU) is leading a program in North Dakota to encourage undergraduate students to venture into scientific research.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is funded in partnership with North Dakota EPSCoR Office located at NDSU and aims to help students begin to think like researchers. The grant focuses on stimulating undergraduate research at the nine primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI) in North Dakota and five tribal colleges and universities (TCU), the campuses that are more often thought of as teaching-focused.

“We are happy to lead the way in partnering with other institutions to develop research opportunities for undergraduate students,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Larry Brooks. “VCSU developed a similar program that offers small grants to students so they can pursue meaningful research that is important to their area of study. The UROP expands that idea.”

There are two tracks offered by UROP. The first track focuses on engaging students to identify challenging problems that stretch their imaginations while soliciting faculty for mentorship. Together the student and mentor develop a short proposal for submission to the UROP offices for consideration, in a process that follows competitive grant writing protocols. Typically, projects are designed for one semester, or over a summer. Reporting and dissemination follow.

The second track is to provide research grade equipment to the PUI and TCU campuses that can be used to sustain undergraduate research activities for years to come.  Faculty are invited to solicit UROP with proposals that stimulate multiple student impacts.

“Critical thinking, analysis, problem-solving, and data management are prevalent research skills, but so are communication, collaboration, time management, planning, and budgeting. These skills are invaluable for so many careers, and in their development, we hope to service the growing demand for STEM workers in North Dakota,” said project director, David DeMuth, Jr., and VCSU Professor of Physics. “Our goal is to hone the students’ abilities for graduate study and beyond. The UROP provides a mechanism for high-level engagement, a “different kind of classroom.”

“Participating in UROP can be a student’s ticket to discovery,” DeMuth added. “This program offers students a chance to develop innovating solutions to challenging problems, and for their self-discovery and validation as researchers.”

The deadline for proposals for research during the Summer and Fall of 2024 is April 1, 2024.

To learn more, visit,  or contact Dr. David DeMuth by emailing or calling (701) 845-7437.