Office of Undergraduate Research COVID-19 Operational Updates

This page was last updated 1/8/21

Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) 2021

Updated 1/8/21: While we are hoping for an in-person SPUR experience, given the structure of SPUR (many participants are not U students and/or are not local to Salt Lake City) and depending on U policy for summer 2021 (on-campus research and/or U-related travel restrictions), we are prepared to offer a fully remote SPUR experience should events necessitate the transition.

Travel reimbursement and the use of on-campus housing is contingent upon U travel and/or housing policy for spring 2021 and/or summer 2021 semesters. UPDATED 1/8/2021: The University of Utah is currently restricting all business travel, including having guests on campus, through May 7, 2021. This travel restriction applies to ALL faculty and staff travel, all university-coordinated student travel and all guest/recruit travel.

Fall 2020 On-Site Undergraduate Research Policy

Updated 8/11/20: The University has released a policy for on-site undergraduate research in Fall 2020.

All types of undergraduate researchers will be permitted onsite in the upcoming semester. This includes Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and honors students. Approvals from the Department Chair and Dean (or designee) are required, and you must follow the approval and tracking process outlined here: Fall 2020 Undergraduate Research Policy.

Students should work remotely during the “two-week pause” from September 28 – October 9 and when all classes transition to online format after Thanksgiving break.

For up-to-date guidance, please continue to watch the VPR’s COVID-19 updates page:

Applications for Fall 2020 UROP

Updated 5/28/20: Because UROP involves employment, and, more importantly, an educational experience for students, the Office of Undergraduate Research is obligated to take reasonable steps to ensure that selected UROP projects can be successful. For this reason, we require a Remote UROP Contingency Plan for Fall 2020 UROP proposals.

Remote UROP Contingency Plan: On the chance that events necessitate that students work remotely for some or all of the Fall 2020 semester, UROP applications for Fall 2020 must include both (1) an ideal research plan and timeline, and (2) a contingency plan for a meaningful UROP experience in the case that the UROP work must be done remotely. These plans will vary in similarity to one another depending on the type of research. Both plans will be evaluated as part of the UROP review process.

Mentors will be asked to provide any additional information that may help UROP proposal reviewers evaluate the suitability of the Remote UROP Contingency Plan. Reviewers will be asked to determine whether the student and mentor have provided a plan that will ensure a meaningful UROP experience in the event that on-campus work becomes impossible at any point during the Fall 2020 semester, and only those proposals meeting this criterion will be eligible for funding.

Undergraduate Research Advising

Updated 5/22/20: At this time, all Undergraduate Research advising will be conducted virtually or by phone through the fall semester. Please continue to make your advising appointments through Cranium Cafe and make sure to include your phone number. If you experience difficulty scheduling through Cranium Cafe, please email the advisor directly to schedule an appointment. The advisor you will call you at the time of your appointment at the phone number you provide.

Remote Undergraduate Research Mentoring

Updated 4/14/20: We’ve launched a page providing suggestions for remote undergraduate research experiences. Please visit:

Applications for Summer 2020 UROP

Updated 4/13/2020: Summer UROP applications are currently under review. Due to the University’s determination that undergraduate research cannot be conducted on campus or in other research or field facilities in Summer 2020, reviewers are being asked to first assess the applicant’s plan for remote-only research work. Unfortunately, applications that do not include a plan for an entirely remote UROP experience cannot be funded.

An additional challenge we are facing at this time concerns the hiring process. While we have secured an exception for UROP to the University’s freeze on hiring, all new employees (that is, those who are not in Spring UROP and are not otherwise employed by the U as of the date of their Summer UROP hire) must still present their hiring documents in person to Human Resources. Human Resources has set up stations that permit social distancing for this purpose. We will be in touch with students who are selected for UROP to determine whether or not it will be possible to complete the hiring process.

Updated 3/18/20: The deadline for Spring 2020 UROP applications has been extended to March 27. We urge students and mentors to plan ahead, to the extent possible, for a high-quality remote research experience should the need arise. The Summer 2020 UROP application now requests information about the applicant’s plans to adjust the research plan & timeline into an online format should it become necessary for Summer 2020.

Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS)

Updated 3/30/20: Students needing or wishing to present their research this Spring (current or previous UROP students who are graduating this semester are required to present) will upload their FINAL URS PRESENTATIONS via a web form between April 1 and April 13. 

Because of the flexibility offered by the online Virtual URS infrastructure, we will welcome presentations from undergraduate student researchers regardless of whether they previously registered for the URS.

The link to upload presentations will be found here and on the URS main page between April 1 and 13, and will be sent to previous registrants, UROP students, and student, faculty, and staff members of our listservs on April 1.

Please prepare your presentations as follows:

Your POSTER Presentation will include the following:
  1. a .jpg file upload of your poster
  2. 2. an audio recording upload of your 3-5 minute presentation OR a link to a YouTube video of your 3-5 minute presentation
Your ORAL Presentation will include the following;
  1. a .pdf file upload of your presentation slides
  2. a link to a YouTube video of your 15 minute presentation – narrated slides or a video of you presenting your slides
Your PERFORMANCE Presentation will include the following:
  1. a link to a YouTube video of your performance, up to 15 minutes long 
  2. an artist’s statement, up to 2000 characters long
Your VISUAL ARTS Presentation will include the following:
  1. a .jpg file upload containing your works of visual art
  2. an artist’s statement, up to 2000 characters long

For those who are not graduating and prefer to wait, we will provide information about a make-up in-person Symposium in due time.

Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)

Updated 3/30/20: Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, SPUR 2020 is cancelled. Notifications have been sent to all mentors, participants, and applicants.

We hope you’ll consider applying for SPUR 2021. The faculty mentor application is usually available around August 15. The student application is usually available around November 1.

Undergraduate Research Scholar Designation (URSD)

Updated 3/23/20: The deadline for Spring 2020 graduates to apply for the URSD is April 21. The Virtual Undergraduate Research Symposium counts as the presentation for the URSD. White honor cords will be mailed or can be picked up at a future date (TBA). Students should continue to apply for the designation.


Undergraduate Research Leaders Application Deadline Extended

Updated 3/16/2020: The deadline to apply to be a 2020-2021 undergraduate research leader has been extended to March 31. We understand that the quick changes and additional stress campus is experiencing may have prohibited some interested students from applying to the program. We are, therefore, extending the application deadline to 11:59 pm, Tuesday, March 31. Thank you to all who have applied so far. We apologize for the delays this may cause in interviews and application processing.

Spring 2020 UROP Students

Updated 3/17/2020: UROP scholars cannot be required to come to campus at this time, and they should avoid campus as much as possible.

Students will continue to be paid for their UROP-related research work. However, for most UROP students, we understand that the format of this work will require adjustment. These adjustments will vary depending on a number of factors, and we urge UROP students and their mentors to collaborate in developing a plan that works for them.

UROP Schedule Worksheet: At this time, we ask that UROP students do the following:

  1. Proactively reach out to your UROP mentor to discuss appropriate adjustments to your research work.
  2. Update your UROP Schedule Worksheet to reflect the new research work arrangement.

Undergraduate Research Education Series: All remaining in-person URES events for Spring 2020 are canceled, and the UROP URES attendance requirement is waived for all Spring 2020 UROP students. A list of links to previously recorded videos of URES events can be found here. Please watch any video that will assist you in conducting your research.

UROP Final Report: The UROP final report is still required.

Undergraduate Research Symposium: Presentation at the URS before graduation is still required of UROP scholars. Please see below for details.

Undergraduate Research Education Series (URES)

All remaining in-person URES events for Spring 2020 are canceled. A list of links to previously recorded videos of URES events can be found here. Please watch any video that would assist you in conducting your research. The UROP URES attendance requirement is waived for all Spring 2020 UROP recipients.

Undergraduate Research Awards Luncheon

The Undergraduate Research Awards Luncheon, scheduled for April 6, 2020, has been canceled and invitees have been notified by email.

Undergraduate Research Leaders

The Undergraduate Research Leaders’ office hours will no longer be held in office, but will be held remotely.  Their office hours can be found HERE.  Please email any Leader to schedule an email or phone appointment.