Research Grants & Awards

David S. Olton Research Award

The David S. Olton Award is given annually to support undergraduate research in the area of the biology of behavior, broadly defined. Undergraduate students from Johns Hopkins psychology, behavioral biology, and neuroscience are encouraged to apply. The award is $4,000. This award is a research award, designed specifically to help students complete a research project of their own that they might not otherwise be able to carry out due to financial limitations. The award can potentially cover a wide range of costs including stipend support (either during the academic year or the summer) or supplies essential to the project. Note the award is not intended for permanent lab equipment for PIs (see below).

Deadline: 4 PM December 8, 2023

Questions? Contact Dr. Bohn

Applications should include:

A. A letter of support from your supervisor, with your name in the filename, uploaded here: Olton 2023 (Supervisors should describe their mentorship and logistical support for you and the project, assess your ability to conduct the research and address any potential questions on fund use for equipment)

B. The following, as a single pdf file with your name in the filename and uploaded here: Olton 2023

  1. A short proposal (up to a maximum of 4 pages + 1 page Literature Cited), the proposal should include:
    • An Introduction that describes the background to a broad expert scientific audience, and the research question(s) and/or hypothesis(es) of the project. 
    • A Methods section that describes how the hypothesis will be tested, what techniques will be used and the expected resulting data.
    • A Student Contribution and Timeline section that includes specifically what the student will be doing on the project and how/whether the project ties into other researchers’ concurrent projects in the laboratory
    • Literature Cited (at least 5)
  2. A 1-page budget with justification including how this award will contribute to your ability to complete the project. If equipment is included for the laboratory it must be clear why this is crucial to the applicant’s project. This should also be discussed in the letter of support from the research sponsor.
  3. A 1-page summary of your research and course experience relevant to the project
  4. An unofficial transcript

Key criteria for grant selection in critical order are:

  1. Is the project within the scope of the award – behavioral biology broadly defined? Is there behavioral relevance to the project?
  2. Student independence, contribution and feasibility.
    • Was the proposal written by the student?
    • Does the student demonstrate an understanding of the project (including literature cited)?
    • Is the proposed research feasible for the student to conduct?
  3. Quality of science.

The award was established in remembrance of David S. Olton, a professor of psychology at the Johns Hopkins University, who was a leader in the field of hippocampus research. During his career, Olton published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and pioneered the use of the radial arm maze as an important tool in the investigation of learning and memory. He contributed to our understanding of the hippocampus by investigating how aging affects memory, and exploring the use of drug therapies to curb memory loss. Olton also helped design the parameters of the existing Program in Behavioral Biology, and was influential in the decision to renovate Ames Hall.

Shortly after his passing in 1994, his family established the fund in his honor. As undergraduate research had been an interest of Olton’s during his time at Hopkins, the fund was designed with that aspect in mind.

Undergraduate Research, Scholarly & Creative Activity (URSCA) Office

The following info is for Fall 2023 applications. All have a pre-application deadline of October 23rd, and a final deadline of November 27th. Check out the URSCA website for more information on resources and the event calendar for info sessions and proposal workshops. See URSCA’s informational flyer here.

1. JHU Dean’s ASPIRE Grants

The Dean’s ASPIRE Grants (Arts and Sciences Projects, Investigations, and Research Endeavors) are designed to promote independent research projects among our exceptional undergraduate students in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS). These awards, which range from $500 to $4,500, enable undergraduates in KSAS to pursue original research, work closely with a Hopkins faculty mentor, and advance knowledge for the world. Awardees have an entire year to use the funding.

2. Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship (for freshman)

The Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program provides funding and support to a select group of Krieger School undergraduates. The program enables students to pursue unique research opportunities that exceed what is typically available to undergraduates.
Woodrow Wilson Fellows begin working on project design and implementation during the first semester of their award and carry that research through to graduation. In addition to the support they find from their peers during workshops, they also work one-on-one with a faculty mentor and receive supervision from the program director.

3. Research in Brain Sciences

The Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (URSCA) oversees the John Camp and Mindy Farber ’74 Endowed Award ($4000), Jeffrey Ma Shiu and Emily Liu Endowed ASPIRE Award ($4000), Albstein Research Scholarship ($5000).

4. International Research

Phares Family Grant for International Engagement ($7000)

Meg Walsh Award: Graduating seniors! $32,000 to undertake an independent project abroad in the year after you graduate.

Hopkins Office of Undergraduate Research

The Hopkins Office of Undergraduate Research (HOUR) houses a variety of opportunities for student funding. See below for Summer 2024 opportunities. Applications open November 1st, 2023, and close on February 1st.

1. Summer PURA

PURA (Provost’s Undergraduate Research Award) was created to assist and encourage Hopkins undergraduates students to continue or begin independent research, scholarly and creative projects with our amazing university mentors over the summer and without curricular obligations inhibiting full-time effort.

The Summer PURA offers $6,000 per award recipient.  The research will take place 10 weeks over the summer. Check the PURA website here for more information about the program and application.

2. BDP Summer Program

The Bloomberg Distinguished Professors (BDPs) Summer Program offers Hopking undergraduates the opportunity to work with one of the BDPs full-time for 10 weeks over the summer.  The participating professors and their affiliated labs, centers, or research groups will provide the projects, training and mentorship.

Individuals selected for this program will receive a $6,000 award.  Check the BDP Summer Program website here for more information about the program and the application process.

Internship Grants

Have you found an internship you would like to do over the summer but need some $ to make it happen? Up to $2,500 to assist in expenses for summer internships. Deadlines are 01/24 and 04/17.


The Goldwater Scholarship

The Goldwater Scholarship was established to foster and encourage excellence in science and mathematics in the U.S. Awards are made annually, with each scholarship providing a maximum of $7,500 per year for tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Sophomore applicants are eligible for two years of support; junior applicants are eligible for one year of support.

Must be US citizen, Sophomore or Junior, with a GPA of 3.7 or higher. MUST be intent on pursuing a PhD and a career in research.

The Boran Scholarship

Funding for study abroad carried out in regions and languages deemed critical to U.S. national security is available via The Boran Scholarship.

The Truman Scholarship

The Truman Scholarship recognizes exceptional readiness for a career in government or public service. Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate studies, participate in leadership development programs, and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government. There’s also a significant cohort experience for Truman Scholars including leadership seminars and government or non-profit internships.

Curt Richter Award (for seniors)

The Curt P. Richter Award in Behavioral Biology Research is given in recognition of outstanding achievement in the David S. Olton Behavioral Biology Program. It is awarded to a selected graduating senior to recognize his/her dedication to excellence in education and research. Dr. Richter is a former Hopkins graduate with a passion for science and research.