James R. Norris, Jr. Grant for Undergraduate Summer Research in Chemistry

The James R. Norris, Jr. Grant for Undergraduate Summer Research in Chemistry is named in honor of Dr. James R. Norris, Jr., the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor of Chemistry (retired). During his career, Dr. Norris taught undergraduate General and Physical Chemistry courses, and served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry for six years. As Chair, Dr. Norris was well known for recruiting outstanding new faculty to the Department. Among students, Dr. Norris was known for being inviting of student participation in research and unwaveringly supportive of his students’ careers.

The purpose of the competitive Norris grant is to recognize an outstanding 1st year college student who makes a substantial commitment to the performance of full-time summer research in the Department of Chemistry. Recipients of the Norris grant are expected to develop and perform a dedicated research project suitable for peer-reviewed publication.



  1. First-year student in the College at the time of application.
  2. American citizen or permanent resident.
  3. Intention to major in Chemistry or Biological Chemistry (major need not be formally declared at the time of application).



  1. Participate in an immersive, full-time, on-campus research experience with a member of the faculty of the Department of Chemistry for 12 consecutive weeks.
  2. May not enroll in courses or hold other employment during the 12 week award period. The grant may be held concurrently with other research awards/grants received by the student.
  3. Completion of a brief mid-summer progress report form.
  4. Preparation of a manuscript draft meeting all requirements of the target journal for publication of the project. If the project remains incomplete, a manuscript draft may be prepared based on progress-to-date at the end of the summer. The student must author the manuscript draft in its entirety.


Submit applications by e-mail to: jrnorris@uchicago.edu AND blseagle@gmail.com.


Application deadline: March 27th, 2016
Notification date: April 3rd, 2016


Application requirements:

  1. Research project proposal (double-spaced, maximum 3,000 words). The project should be well defined and have specific aims or hypotheses that are possible to complete or test within 12 weeks. The project may be part of a larger, longer on-going research program, but must make a specific, independently publishable contribution to the larger research enterprise. The proposal should include sections such as Background, Specific Aims or Hypotheses, Research Proposed including Methods (including expected statistical methods if relevant), and Potential Impact/Importance.
  2. Letter of recommendation from one of your professors in General Chemistry (or Organic Chemistry if taken during the first-year of college).
  3. Letter of support from your PI for summer research.

    PI letter must state that:
    1. The PI has adequate resources and time to support your performance of the proposed research project as your independent research project. The PI will also encourage and support peer-reviewed publication of the project when completed with the undergraduate as first author, given that the undergraduate performs the research and drafts the manuscript for publication.

      “Your independent research project” means that the project is primarily your project and not primarily the project of another member of the research group, although it is expected that you may work closely with a senior member of the research group for guidance and instruction on laboratory methods/techniques.


    2. The PI will provide personalized, active mentorship, including frequent feedback regarding project progress, and aid in your career development throughout the duration of your participation in the research laboratory.
  4. Copy of transcript for autumn and winter quarters.
  5. Up to one-page, single-spaced, Arial, font size 10 autobiographical and vision statement addressing your background and describing a vision for your career.
  6. Up to one-page, single-spaced, Arial, font size 10 response to the question: “What is life about?”



  • $4,000 stipend
  • Payment schedule:
    • June 20th, 2016: $2,000
    • August 1st, 2016: $1,000 (upon submission of mid-summer progress report form)
    • Sept 9th, 2016: $1,000 (upon submission of manuscript draft)
  • May be renewable for up to 3 summers.