Posted: February 5, 2021

Call for project proposals from researchers in the college who are engaged in the process of advancing research with commercial potential and who also seek to have an undergraduate involved. The Harbaugh Undergraduate Research Assistantship (HURA) with the support from Earl & Kay Harbaugh seeks to provide funding for at least two undergraduate student positions for the remainder of FY20-21. A total of $4,500 per student position is available for the FY20-21 trial program. Ninety percent of the funds must support student wages and fringe and remaining funds can be used to facilitate student involvement with the project (e.g., lab materials, minor equipment or travel). Virtual work proposals will also be considered.

The program is administered by Entrepreneurship and Innovation with support from the Office of Research and Graduate Education and the Office for Undergraduate Education in the College of Agricultural Sciences. The program goal is to place undergraduate students with exceptional innovative faculty who are working on research with commercial potential to provide direct mentoring and hands-on experience in advancing research into practice. In other words, we seek to engage, develop and empower tomorrow's leading innovators in agricultural sciences.

HURA Assistantship Requirements and Expectations

  • Assistantship positions are only available to faculty and current students enrolled in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State. Commonwealth Campus faculty and students are encouraged to participate and have access to identical program resources.
  • The research project must have evidence of solid application in commercial practice whether through IP licensing or potentially providing commercial value in practice for a venture start-up or an existing enterprise.
  • Faculty mentors must be willing to commit a reasonable amount of their time for student mentoring and development.
  • Students must formally apply to awarded posted positions and provide a recent resume in the Penn State Wage Payroll System.
  • Students are expected to have significant involvement with the project and opportunity to develop and reflect upon their own learning, innovative skill development and future potential.
  • Faculty are required to jointly craft the HURA wage position job description, generate 2-3 student learning/professional development goals at project inception and be willing to share and discuss progress with the E&I leadership team.
  • Current and former RAIN grant recipients are encouraged to participate.
  • The student and faculty mentor will be required to hold a project kick-off meeting at project inception and end of project progress meeting with the E&I leadership team.
  • The student will be required to meet with the Harbaugh Entrepreneur and Innovation Faculty Scholar to discuss project progress once at a minimum and provide a two-page project learning reflection summary at the end of each semester. All Meetings are expected to be an hour in length.

Important deadlines

  • Proposal due date February 20, 2021
  • Award notifications February 26, 2021
  • Earliest date for student funding March 1, 2021 administered from the E&I Office*

Future HURA program offerings may be announced pending trial program results.
To apply, faculty should complete the proposal form which may be obtained from Kitty MacKenzie at

*Pending Penn State Human Resources wage appointment approval.