Rasmussen Summer Research Fund

About the Fund

The Rasmussen Summer Research Fund at Harvey Mudd College is administered by the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design. The Rasmussen Fund supports student and faculty research in the area of environmental sustainability. The Fund is dedicated to supporting science-based inquiry into a broad range of environmental issues, in the form of either faculty or student research proposals. Projects are funded through the summer, and recipients will present their findings upon return to campus in the fall.

Who May Apply

Funding is specifically for student research, but a proposal may be initiated either by a faculty member or by a student with a confirmed faculty advisor. Students must be currently enrolled at Harvey Mudd College. Student-initiated proposals should be prepared in close collaboration with their faculty project advisor(s).

How to Apply

A Call for Proposals is extended to students and faculty on campus in November of each year. Proposals are accepted until early February. Students and faculty whose projects are selected are notified in March. Proposals should be sent to Professors Albert Dato Richard Haskell and copy Tanja Srebotnjak and Louis Spanias, by the due date specified on the Call for Proposals. Details regarding the structure and content of the proposal are laid out below.

Proposal Structure and Content

Abstract of Proposed Research

On the proposal cover sheet, state in one concise paragraph the importance of the project, the rationale for the approach to studying the topic, and the expected outcome if successful.

Proposal Body and Preparation

Starting Date, Duration and Location of Proposed Research

Research conducted away from the HMC campus needs an explanation for why the project will be conducted at that institution.

Proposed Research

In no more than two single-spaced pages, give specific details of the central research question(s) and the approach to the proposed study. Include the purpose of the research, a concise description of the project, and the names of the students and faculty participants to the extent that they are known. If the project is part of a larger, ongoing research program, indicate the specific work to be performed by the student.

Significance of the Project for Environmental Quality

In no more than one paragraph, establish the significance of the project for protecting environmental quality now or in the future. This could include any aspect of pollution reduction, improvements in energy efficiency, conservation of resources, protection of species or ecosystems, improvements in human welfare affected by environmental conditions, or other components of environmental quality broadly construed.

Education Value

In one paragraph, describe how the project will benefit the student researcher in terms of intellectual growth and professional development.

Feasibility

In no more than two paragraphs, establish the feasibility of the project by demonstrating that the student will have the resources, background, and faculty guidance needed to complete the project in the proposed time period with the budget requested.

Budget

Funds that may be requested are a summer student stipend at the current college rate, a $1000 stipend for an HMC faculty advisor, and funds for equipment, supplies and student travel to/from place where research will be conducted. Conference attendance and publication costs cannot be supported. Non-salary items require a brief description and justification. Salaries are not available for non-HMC faculty. Any external funds requested or received for the project should be mentioned along with an explanation of how the proposed budget would complement such funds.

Access to External Specialized Equipment

In your proposal, please specify separately if your project requires access to, or use of, any specialized equipment outside the control of your department or project supervisor (for example: do you need to use shared chemical instrumentation such as spectrometers, microscopes, or handheld devices?). Should the project require it, please specify which equipment you will use, the contact person for that equipment, and whether or not this use requires additional funds for consumables. Please verify with the contact person that they will be able to provide you with the necessary time and access to the equipment to complete your project, as the fund coordinators will verify with those individuals if an agreement was reached.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

All proposals will be reviewed by the Rasmussen Selection Committee of the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design, comprised of faculty from several campus departments. Evaluation criteria include:

Proposal Quality

The proposal is complete with respect to the background, potential impact, and other requirements for the proposal (start and end dates, duration, research, significance, budget, etc.)

Demonstrated Research Component

Research skills are a component of the proposed project. These skills include hypothesis formulation and testing, experimental design and reproducibility, and novel data collection and analysis.

Pedagogical Impact

The proposed project will result in a significant development of the involved students, as well as provide the students with an opportunity for discovery and learning.

Environmental Impact

The proposed project will have direct environmental impact, affect social perceptions regarding the environment, and will have results that benefit the environment.

Feasibility

The proposed work can be completed by the team with the resources available in the time frame suggested. A description of past work success and evaluation by the team or others in the proposed area is of great interest.

Budget

The budget is clear, complete, and convincing. The proposal discusses other financing that may be available and states the sources. The proposal provides evidence that additional support will be forthcoming.

  1. The overall quality of the research proposal
  2. The scientific soundness of the proposed research
  3. The value of the project for the student’s intellectual growth and professional development
  4. The significance of the project for improving environmental quality
  5. The feasibility of project success within the proposed time frame and budget

Due to the variety of backgrounds of those reviewing the proposals, the information contained in the proposal must be presented in a manner that is intelligible and informative to any HMC faculty member.

Conditions

A final report prepared by the student is to be submitted to the Hixon Center before the first day of fall classes. Recipients of awards may be asked to present their work to the campus community at large. The Rasmussen Summer Research Fund in the HMC Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design should be acknowledged in any publication or presentation derived from the sponsored research.

Proposal Evaluation Sample

Submitted Proposals

  • Proposal Title and Author (1):
  • Proposal Title and Author (2):
  • Proposal Title and Author (3):
  • Proposal Title and Author (4):
  • Proposal Title and Author (5):

Matrix Ranking

Please evaluate each proposal on a scale of (1) Strongly Disagree to (7) Strongly Agree Proposal #1 Proposal #2 Proposal #3 Proposal #4 Proposal #5
Report Quality          
Demonstrated Research Component          
Pedagogical Impact          
Environmental Impact          
Feasibility          
Budget          

Scoring

Please input your scoring results in descending order:

Proposal Title and Author Score
Proposal __
Proposal __
Proposal __
Proposal __
Proposal __

Comments

Please use this space to offer any comments regarding the proposals and/or your scores.

Examples and More Information

For examples of past research projects, visit this page on the Hixon Center website containing past proposals and reports:

Contacts

If you have further questions, you can contact:

About the Fund Administrator

Professor Albert Dato will is the Administrator of the Rasmussen Summer Research Fund for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years. He is a member of the Department of Engineering and received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.  Prof. Dato’s Energy & Nanomaterials Lab seeks to develop solutions to energy and environmental challenges through the synthesis and applications of advanced materials.