I am delighted to announce today the launch of BU’s Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) programme. Funded by the Fusion Investment Fund, this programme will offer paid employment opportunities for approximately 40 BU undergraduate students to work in clusters, centres and institutes, under the guidance of experienced academics, in a research position that is directly related to their career path and/or academic discipline. This will enable the students to assist academic staff with their research whilst also gaining valuable research experience.
Research shows there is a direct link between student satisfaction and research-based learning, particularly when the opportunity is in their field of study, and that the undergraduate student experience is improved by engaging them with research early and often. URAs are common in North America and are offered in a significant number of universities, for example Harvard University, Northern Illinois University, Kent State University and Cornell University.
In 2014-15 BU is offering two modes of the URA programme:
- semester-based programme (c. 20 part-time positions running for eight weeks in semester 2)
- summer programme (c. 20 full-time positions running for six weeks in June/July 2015)
There are two stages to the application process: 1) School/Faculty application stage whereby BU academic staff can apply for URA positions, and 2) student selection stage whereby School/Faculty staff recruit to the positions.
 For example: Healey and Jenkins (2011) Linking discipline-based research with teaching to benefit student learning, available from: http://www.mickhealey.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Linking-RT-Handout-Website1.doc
 For example: Madan, C R & Braden, D T (2013) The Benefits of Undergraduate Research: The Student’s Perspective, available from: http://dus.psu.edu/mentor/2013/05/undergraduate-research-students-perspective/