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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 students through summer research projects in every discipline.

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, faculty who mentor under-represented minority 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 (such as a postdoctoral fellow, graduate student or other faculty), 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 2014 SMART application form (149kb DOCX). Please note that this form is for summer 2014, and is subject to change in subsequent years.

Completed SMART applications are due just after the end of the spring semester each year, for projects to be conducted during the summer months. Completed forms, and inquiries about the SMART program should be submitted to Dr. Lauren Clark, Research Program Manager for the Office of the Vice President for Research. You may also call Dr. Clark at (803) 777-5458 to discuss any questions you have about the program.

Responsibilities of the faculty mentor

  • Provide a research project for the 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

Responsibilities of the student

  • Attend the research training on a regular basis
  • Attend Office of Research professional development workshops
  • Complete a research project during the summer
  • 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)