Richard Barber Interdisciplinary Research Program

Project Proposals and Undergraduate Researcher Applications are new being accepted for Summer 2021!

See for more details.

Since 2010 Richard Barber has generously funded our research program that has brought together researchers from across WSU for transformative research and educational experiences.

Our program fosters collaboration between faculty and students from the College of Engineering, the School of Medicine, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This year includes a focus on student mentorship and expands the undergraduate schedule to a full-time work load. We aim to have this research experience be a meaningful experience for helping the students develop scientific approaches to problem solving and fostering their high-tech careers.

Summer 2020 Projects and Participants

Barber participants, 2020

Funding opportunities for past program participants

The Richard Barber Interdisciplinary Research Program is excited to be expanding its support for research at WSU by defraying publication fees and travel costs for past program participants. Additionally, past participants who submit grant or fellowship applications based on their program-funded research are eligible for a monetary award.

1) Travel. Undergraduate students who were previously paid by Barber funds may request up to $1000 to support their travel to and presentations at scientific conferences. To receive the funds, students should complete this form:

2) Publications. Publications that acknowledges the research was supported by the Richard Barber Interdisciplinary Research Program are eligible to apply for help with the publication costs. The Barber program will typically pay for up to half of the publication fees as long as funds for the current academic year remain. To receive the funds, please complete this form:

3) Interdisciplinary grant submissions. To support external funding of interdisciplinary research, the Barber program will be rewarding past participants who submit grants to further their research. Awards of $1000 per faculty member may be available. Grants applications must have multiple Barber-funded WSU faculty members as PIs or co-PIs. To apply, please complete this form

4) Fellowship submissions. Barber-funded students who apply for external funds to support their continued research may receive an award of $500 upon the submission of a fellowship application. Fellowship applications must be for graduate or undergraduate students to continue their Barber-supported research. To apply, please complete this form:

Program History

Over the past nine years, the Richard Barber Interdisciplinary Research Program has provided opportunities for students to participate in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research while building collaborations between diverse academic departments. Over 115 WSU students and 14 different academic departments have participated. Many of the collaborations initiated via this program have continued to prosper, and many of the students have launched successful scientific careers. We are very proud of our past successes and are excited about our future improvements to the program.

This year we aim to increase the diversity in research projects, including theoretical and experimental research in the basic and applied sciences. The program includes full-time undergraduate support, encouragement of scientific outreach, and continuity in research support.

Program Structure

The primary activity of the Richard Barber Interdisciplinary Research Program is our summer research projects. This year, we will support ten research projects that each include faculty mentors from different complementary departments, undergraduate student researchers, and experienced graduate student or postdoctoral researchers. By bringing together researchers with diverse academic backgrounds and experience levels, we aim to provide an educational and productive research experience for all program participants. Faculty members from across WSU will develop their research mentorship team and propose research projects that exemplify the program goals. The winning projects will be selected by peer-review and by Mr. Barber. The winning project mentors will then select the undergraduate applicants that are likely to both contribute the research and benefit from the opportunity for full-time research experience over the summer.

With approximately 6 researchers per project, our summer program will bring together over 60 faculty members and students from across WSU. We will host program-wide meetings at the beginning and end of the summer to meet each other and share our research results. Additionally, there will be undergraduate-only meetings biweekly to foster community and provide peer support. The most important meetings, however, maybe the weekly project-specific meetings in which the undergraduate students will be able to see the interactions between their mentors, practice presenting their research results, and help develop the evolving research plan during the summer. Undergraduate researchers will submit an end-of-the-summer research report and present their results at a program-wide research fair to celebrate their accomplishments.

Budgetary Considerations: Incentives, Supplements, and Extensions

Stipends for the students and faculty will be partially tied to their completion of the program. Students will receive their final stipend payment upon submission of their final report and presentation of their research at a research fair. Faculty members will receive their stipends upon submission of their final report.

Successful summer projects may be eligible for funding extension during the academic year. The demonstration of success from the summer research and a plan for future success is expected. We hope to additionally provide funding to support travel to scientific conferences, external seminar speakers of interest to multiple research groups, publication fees, or other research expenses. The total budget available to such supplements is still under discussion with WSU and Mr. Barber.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: May a single faculty member submit two project proposals? A: Yes, but not with the same collaborators.

Q: Must the undergraduate researchers be new to the project at the start of the summer? A: Each project is required to bring at least one new undergraduate student into the research lab. Ideally, this student would have a background that enables them to be productive early in the summer and come from an academic department that is different than either of the project mentors. There are no restrictions put on the second undergraduate researcher in each project; they may have a long history of researching with their mentors.

Q: Are there restrictions on how research supplies, travel expenses, or salaries are budgeted in the proposal? A: Each project is required to dedicate $11,400 for the two undergraduate researchers' salaries. At most, $1000 per faculty member may be budgeted for their stipend; this is the only money that may go into the faculty member's paycheck. The rest of the money may be allocated to graduate student support, postdoctoral salaries, research expenses, travel expenses, or anything that WSU allows. However, how your funds are budgeted will be a major component of the review processes by your peers, so I recommend you budget in an impressive way.