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Undergraduate Research Team Competition


NOVA is still accepting applications through 2/1/20!

Apply HERE


  • Who can apply?

    • Any team of 2 or more Hopkins undergraduates currently enrolled in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the Peabody Institute, and the Whiting School of Engineering. 
    • Interdisciplinary groups are encouraged. 
    • Faculty or staff mentors are encouraged but not required. 
  • What types of projects are accepted?

    • Projects options are pretty wide open and may range from inception through development of new processes, tools, interfaces, and static and interactive works of art.
      • Technology and design
      • Biomed, environmental, social science and public health
      • Film and Media and other creative outlets
      • If you are not sure, just ask (
    •  What type of projects are NOT accepted? 
      • Projects already funded through a department or program. Projects must be able to justify their budgetary requirements.
      • Entrepreneurial projects; there are already resources for students interested in business development (visit FastforwardU and the Center for Leadership Education for more information).
  • What should the project proposal contain?

    1. Title of Project (not “Team X Nova Project” or similar)
    2. Description of project, including clearly defined
      • Guiding question or purpose and importance
      • Brief summary (check word usage, avoid jargon)
      • Proposed methodology
    3. Project timeline w/milestones
      • Which parts of the project will be done when and what externally fixed deadlines might affect the project?
    4.  Anticipated barriers/challenges
      • What can go wrong and how might you deal with that?
      • Are there any community norms that might be violated?
      • What campus safety rules could conflict?
    5. Itemized budget spreadsheet (see Budget Guidelines)
      • Note: there are many resources available across Hopkins, you may not need to purchase some equipment, tools, software, etc. Just ask:
      • List of equipment, tools, and consumable materials needed complete the project
      • List of other expenses: travel, space rental, other
      • Approximate cost of all budget items and suggested source(s)
      • List of all no-cost university resources to be utilized
      • If budget exceeds maximum grant amount, list of other anticipated funding sources.
    6.  Proposal formatting
      • Font: Arial or Helvetica, size 11
      • Spacing: single spaced
      • Margins: minimum ½ inch on all sides
      • Proposal length: Three (3) pages maximum
      • Budget length: One (1) page maximum
      • Figures and Bibliography/ References: two (2) page maximum
        • Figures (if needed): tables, graphs, photos, and schematics that are essential to the project can be included following the main proposal text and do not count toward the three page maximum. All figure elements should be large enough to be readable and have clear, informative captions.
      • All documents should be combined into a single PDF submission.
  • How will the proposals be judged?

    • Review Criteria for written submissions
      • Creativity, originality and/ or innovation of proposal – 50%
      • Clearly articulated and well-written proposal – 20%
      • Well thought-out and justified budget – 15%
      • Feasibility of completion by team – 15%
    • ROUND 1: 
      • Non-elimination round
      • All teams will receive constructive feedback to improve their submission.
      • Teams will have the option to edit and resubmit their proposal for Round 2 or withdraw from competition at this time.
    • ROUND 2:
      • Elimination round
      • Ten (10) teams will advance to live finals.
      • All teams will receive constructive feedback from reviewers to be used in NOVA final round (if advanced) or for future proposal development.
    • ROUND 3:
      • Live Ignite presentation 
      • Each team is given 5 minutes and the use of twenty (20) slides advancing every 15 seconds to “sell” their project.
      • Panel has 10 minutes to ask questions.
      • After all presentations are complete, panel will take 30 minutes to confer
      • Winners are announced

Program Details:


Opens for applications: June 1
↓ NOVA Research Project Budget Guidelines (.pdf)

Deadline to apply: September 15

Apply HERE

Feedback provided to all teams: on or about November 1


Deadline to submit updated or new proposals: February 1

Apply HERE

Finalists notified: March 15 (feedback provided to all teams)


LIVE Competition: first week of April (exact date and location to be determined). Lite refreshments will be provided.



Vice Provost for Research

265 Garland Hall
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

(410) 516-8094

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