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Office of the Vice President for Research

Opportunities for Faculty

SMART: Support for Minority Advancement in Research Training

The SMART program aims to enhance the training of under-represented minority students by providing funds for USC faculty to mentor minority undergraduate students through summer research projects in every discipline.


SMART 2024 Notice:

The SMART Program application will not open for the summer of 2024. Please check back next spring for updates for the summer of 2025.


Support for Minority Advancement in Research Training, or the SMART Program, was established by the Office of the Vice President for Research to enhance the training of under-represented minority undergraduate students and their recruitment into graduate programs at USC. Through this program, USC faculty (all campuses, all disciplines) who mentor under-represented minority undergraduate students from historically black colleges and universities, USC or other institutions during the summer receive a supplement of $1,000 per student, for up to two students. This support can be used toward summer salary for the mentor (the graduate student, postdoc or faculty member working directly with the student), research costs and/or for the under-represented minority undergraduate students.


Applying to participate in SMART

Details about SMART program responsibilities, for both faculty mentors and student participants, are available below and in the 2023 SMART Program Guidelines document (pdf).

Inquiries about the SMART program should be submitted to Dr. Lauren Clark, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. You may also call Dr. Clark at (803) 777-4649 to discuss any questions you have about the program.

Responsibilities of the faculty mentor

  • Provide a research project for the undergraduate student which will last a minimum of 8 weeks during the summer
  • Mentor the student throughout the project
  • Provide the resources necessary for the student to complete the project
  • If the mentor is not available for a short period (such as travel), arrange for a temporary mentor (such as a postdoctoral fellow, graduate student or other faculty) to oversee the student research project
  • If schedule allows, serve as a faculty panelist for one seminar as part of the Research: Next Steps to Success seminar series for undergraduate summer research students

Responsibilities of the undergraduate student

  • Complete all required health and safety training classes
  • Attend the research training on a regular basis
  • Attend Office of Research professional development workshops
  • Complete a research project during the summer
  • If conducting research at USC Columbia, attend Research: Next Steps to Success workshop and seminar series
  • Present the results of the research project as a poster presentation at the VPR Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium (or other end-of-summer research symposium as appropriate)

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.