Duke Kunshan University Undergraduate Summer Research Scholars Program (SRS)

Faculty Application Summer 2023


The Summer Research Scholars (SRS) program supports undergraduate students participating in collaborative research supervised by Duke Kunshan University faculty. Aligned with DKU’s mission to “involve students in innovative scholarship and research programs,” student-faculty collaborative research is particularly well suited to the development of the following four animating principles:


  • Collaborative Problem-Solving: To instill the habits of collaboration and the ability to synthesize disparate insights in solving complex challenges.
  • Research and Practice: To enhance the ability to forge links between theory and practice in the many-sided and rapidly changing world of human need.
  • Lucid Communication: To develop the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, and to listen attentively to different viewpoints in coming to mature judgments.
  • Independence and Creativity: To nurture free inquiry, deep reflection, and a drive to ask interesting questions and find compelling answers.

For students who intend to do the Signature Work in an area related to their summer research project, this experience can count toward their Experiential Learning requirement. The program is also intended to aid faculty in their research activities by providing undergraduate student researchers for whom the projects must be meaningful as well as educationally valuable.


This summer we are also offering the Global Engagement and Learning (GEL) program, designed to help returning DKU international students with a set of resources and experiences on campus in Kunshan during the summer months. We particularly encourage SRS funding proposals that include a commitment to providing research experiences for eligible GEL students.


The application process is competitive for both students and faculty, and funds may not be adequate to fund all proposals. Faculty are encouraged to request funding for as many positions as they think they can support. The initial target for this year is to provide funding for up to two traditional SRS students and up to two GEL students for each faculty applicant; allocations for student research positions greater than this are encouraged, but may be waitlisted pending availability of funding. The supported work must be carried out during the summer months and is open to any DKU UG student, although students are not eligible for SRS funding the summer after they graduate. Faculty of all disciplines are eligible to apply, including UG, LCC, and graduate faculty. DKU visiting faculty who teach for one or more sessions in the 2022-23 academic year are also eligible to apply.

Student Recruitment

Faculty are responsible for identifying student researchers and for covering any necessary research expenses. (See section on Funding below.) Approved projects will be advertised to students, who will be encouraged to directly contact faculty with whom they might be interested in working. While it is recognized that many faculty are already working with research students, those faculty who do not already have research students working with them are expected to consult the Duke Kunshan University Student Worker Hiring and Payment Guideline for information on how to recruit student workers. 


It is our expectation that most SRS students and mentors will do their research on the DKU campus in summer 2023, although some projects might be able to accommodate students or mentors working remotely. GEL students must be international students who are remaining in China from the Spring 2023 term through the Fall 2023 term. Students who do not fit the GEL criteria are eligible to participate through the regular SRS program. Any participants who are not in China during the Spring Term will need to follow all applicable quarantine and home health maintenance regulations in place at the time of their return before they will be able to access campus. Research mentors should have back-up plans in the event that they or their students are unable to come to DKU for all or part of the summer. On the application, faculty mentors should note whether the mentor and the student(s) will be on the DKU campus or if either will be working remotely. For any case in which either party will be working remotely, please indicate plans for adequate supervision of the student, including ensuring the student’s health and safety if applicable (i.e., experimental sciences). Preference for SRS grants will be given to students and mentors working in person.


These applications are due no later than 11:59 pm China time on January 15, 2023. Applications received after that will be automatically waitlisted and only considered if funding is available.


The program provides summer stipends for UG students. The amount of the stipend and any associated benefits are still being negotiated, but it will only be for the research conducted during the summer. It is expected that students will engage in full time research for a period of 8 weeks, or an equivalent amount spread out over summer, but the stipend is not to be used for research done while classes are in session. The stipend does not cover work begun before the end of Spring Term nor continuing beyond the first day of Fall Term classes. Students may not receive funding while doing military training or taking the summer Chinese Society and Culture courses. Students also may not receive funding while doing full-time summer coursework at Duke or elsewhere. Because GEL students may have other time commitments as part of their GEL program, they may be required to have a pro-rated research expectation and stipend for any SRS work, and this may need to be negotiated individually for those



As the SRS program funds students doing collaborative research related to the faculty’s own research projects, no funding for research supplies or expenses is available through the SRS program. Faculty should plan to cover these expenses through their own funding sources. In addition, some students may be eligible for Signature Work Research Grants, which are covered under a separate application. Faculty whose research project requires students to travel or do field work will need to cover these costs out of their own research funding, have the student apply for an SWRG towards these costs, or have their students apply to the SELF program instead of applying for an SRS. Students cannot hold both an SRS and a SELF in the same summer.


Students do not receive academic credit for research conducted over the summer.

Student Housing

Housing will be available in DKU accommodations for student SRS Scholars and GEL students over the summer, pending any COVID restrictions. If housing is available, the accommodation will likely be different from the student’s assignment in both the preceding and following school year. The cost of housing in DKU accommodation for this summer from May 27 to August 18, 2023 is tentatively set for 5000 RMB for a double occupancy room and will be covered by the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Students who request a single room may or may not be assigned a single, depending on the supply and demand. If assigned a single, the student will be required to pay the difference (1000 RMB) themselves. For students who will only be staying for a portion of the summer, a nightly rate of 80 RMB for a double occupancy room or 100 RMB for a single occupancy room will be charged. The Office of Undergraduate Studies will cover the cost of a double occupancy room and students assigned to a single will be required to pay the difference. Students are responsible for their own meal costs. More information about requesting DKU summer housing will be provided in the spring semester. The above dates and amounts are tentative, and subject to change.

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training

All summer research students must complete the CITI RCR training prior to beginning research.  Details will be sent to accepted students.

Application Process

The application process involves two stages, both of which are submitted by the faculty mentor. In the first stage, faculty mentors submit project proposals. If a faculty mentor wishes to divide students up over more than one research project, they should submit a separate application for each project, although the total number of research scholars may have limits. Faculty wanting more than two SRS students and two GEL students may indicate that on the application, but allocations greater than this number per faculty may be waitlisted pending availability of funding.



A listing of all summer research scholar positions will be made available to students. Once a project is approved for funding, the faculty mentor will then select their own undergraduate student research scholars and submit the second stage of the application.



Stage 1:  Project Application (to be submitted by the faculty mentor):

Applications are submitted by the faculty mentor using the online form, and consist of:

  1. Faculty name
  2. Project title
  3. Number of students requested (initially a maximum of 2 per faculty mentor, but up to 2 additional if they are committed to hosting GEL students. Numbers beyond this are encouraged, but may be waitlisted pending funding).
  4. A one paragraph summary (maximum of 150 words) of the project, to be used in advertising the research position(s) to students. Any eligibility requirements (such as major, course pre-requisites, skills) should also be listed.
  5. Research proposal of no more than 2 pages of text, written to be understandable to non-experts in the field. The proposal should include the following:
    1. Purpose of project (be very clear about the intellectual value/contribution)
    2. How project will be carried out
    3. Provide a description of each student’s role that clearly demonstrates their participation as an actual collaborator
    4. Timeline (i.e., will the work be concluded over the summer or continue into the next academic year or beyond)
    5. Anticipated end product (priority will be given to projects that will lead to a student’s signature work, publication, and/or conference presentation)
    6. Student responsibilities and educational benefit
  6. Indicate whether the mentor and the student(s) will be expected to be on the DKU campus or if either will be working remotely. For any case in which either party will be working remotely, please indicate plans for adequate supervision of the student(s), including ensuring the student(s)’s health and safety if applicable (i.e., experimental sciences).
  7. IRB materials, if applicable. If an IRB review is required for the project, a copy of the materials that will be submitted by the faculty to the IRB must be included with the application.

The following considerations should be addressed in the application:

  1. Projects should engage students as full collaborators in the scholarly
  2. Proposals should specify the significance of the student’s contributions to the faculty mentor’s research program.
  3. Proposals should include a clear and convincing statement of the benefits to the student(s) involved in the proposed work.

Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. Educational value to the student researcher
  2. Significance of the work proposed
  3. Clarity and organization of proposal
  4. Feasibility of the project

Stage 2:  Application for Student Research Scholars (submitted by the faculty mentor):


Faculty who do not already have research students working with them are expected to advertise research positions in accordance with the Duke Kunshan University Student Worker Hiring and Payment Guideline.  The SRS program will also advertise all approved positions to students, who will be encouraged to directly contact faculty with whom they might be interested in working.



Once a faculty member has accepted a student, they must submit the following on behalf of each student using another online form that will be distributed at this stage:

  1. Name of faculty mentor
  2. Name, ID, and class year of student
  3. Student’s major, if declared
  4. Project title
  5. A brief statement in support of the nomination (100-250 words).
  6. A brief description written by the student describing the proposed project and his/her role in carrying out the work (250-500 words). This description must demonstrate the student’s understanding of the research to be undertaken, explaining both the research question and the approach. It should be written in the student’s own words and may include references if applicable.
  7. A brief description written by the student of how the research will contribute to the student’s signature work and/or future plans, if applicable (250 words maximum).
  8. Indicate whether the student will require DKU housing.
  9. Indicate whether the mentor and the student will be expected to be on the DKU campus or if either will be working remotely. For any case in which either party will be working remotely, please indicate plans for adequate supervision of the student, including ensuring the student’s health and safety if applicable (i.e., experimental sciences).

The following considerations should be addressed in the application:

  1. The student’s qualifications and preparation for the proposed work.
  2. The student should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the proposed research project, as well as her/his role in carrying out the work.

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. Qualifications and motivation of the student participants
  2. Student’s anticipated contributions to the project
  3. Educational value to the student researcher
  4. Applicability to the student’s signature work
  5. Number of students requested per faculty
  6. Whether or not the student is a GEL student
  7. Graduation year


Research Report and Abstract: Summer Research Scholars must write a brief final research report (no more than two pages), due the day before the first day of Fall Term classes (Sunday, August 20, 2023). If there is more than one student working on the same research project, the team may submit one report. The student researchers, not the supervising faculty member, should write the report. The report will provide an accurate and complete account of all work done on the project, including figures, diagrams, and references if appropriate, and information on publication or presentation plans. Students must also prepare an abstract suitable for sharing with the DKU community, as well as prospective students or donors. The report and abstract should be submitted to the faculty mentor, who will review it and submit it to DKU Undergraduate Studies may set their own internal due dates for the report and abstract, but both must be approved by the faculty and submitted to UG Studies no later than 11:59 pm China time on the day before the fall term classes begin. Mentors should note that by submitting the abstract, they are granting approval for the abstract to be shared.  


Poster Session: All UG Summer Research Scholars will be expected to present their research at a UG Student Summer Research Scholars Poster Session in the Fall, tentatively scheduled for during Family Weekend. All posters should be approved and submitted by the sponsoring faculty mentor. More details will be provided during the Fall term. Mentors should note that by submitting the poster, they are granting approval for the poster to be presented publicly.

Note that mentors whose SRS students fail to submit their research report, abstract and/or poster by the stated deadlines might be ineligible to receive SRS funding in the future.

Dates and Deadlines

January 15: Stage 1 Application Deadline

February 12: Announcement of projects funded, student recruitment period begins

February 19: Stage 2 Application opens on a rolling basis and remains open until all SRS positions are filled

April 28: Deadline for students to accept funding

April 28: Deadline to withdraw from DKU housing

May 22: Earliest date funded research can begin

August 18: Last date funded work can be carried out

August 20: Final SRS Report and Abstract Due to UG Studies

Fall 2023 (date TBD): UG Student Summer Research Scholars Poster Session

Application Review

Applications will be reviewed by a committee consisting of one faculty member each from AH, NS, SS, and LCC, designated by the appropriate division chair or director of the LCC.


Contact DKU Undergraduate Studies