Dean's Undergraduate Research Fund Conference

As the largest independent research university in the United States, NYU offers its students boundless opportunities for research. When it comes to independent research projects at the College of Arts and Science, one of the ways students find support is through the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund (DURF), which has awarded more than $2.7 million to over 3,000 student projects.

In fact, DURF not only provides funding for student endeavors but also offers training on how to write a research proposal, supports and guides first- and second-year students as they learn how to successfully conduct their research, and helps students attend national or international conferences, where they can present their findings to the larger scholarly community. “The DURF process in its entirety, from application to research to my final presentation, was an incredibly rewarding experience,” says Sahaana Sundar, a Neural Science major. “It helped me identify the questions that I was seeking answers to in the lab and kept me focused.”


A female student showcases her research.

In recent years, students have received funding for individual and team projects and for carrying out research both locally and globally. For example, Sahaana worked on identifying which neurons in the brain are responsible for the interaction between memory and perception, which may one day help us understand and treat conditions like schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder. Other students have gone to Russia to study the growing HIV epidemic and Washington, DC, to work with declassified government documents related to American policymaking during the Iran-Iraq War.No matter the subject, DURF aims to provide students with the funding and support to learn how to find the answers they seek, a skill that will serve them long after they graduate. “As an undergraduate student, this type of experience not only looks great on a résumé,” says Sahaana, “it’s also a great motivator that gets students involved in their research well beyond the ‘intern’ level.”

Where to Find Funding

  • At NYU Shanghai, the Deans’ Undergraduate Research Fund provides funding for summer research in any field.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi students look to the Undergraduate Research Program for summer research and conference funding.
  • Most schools at NYU in New York City, including the Gallatin School of Individualized Study and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, offer funding opportunities for undergraduate research.

Since joining NYU’s University Relations and Public Affairs Office of Marketing Communications, Nathan has been integral in helping the university strengthen its brand and share its value with the world. He enjoys uncovering and sharing the stories that hit audiences on a deeper level and guiding partners across the university toward more engaging and informative brand and storytelling experiences. Nathan has also worked as a teacher and academic counselor. He earned a BA in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA in Professional Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.