Each academic year, students at IU Bloomington who are conducting research for a class or honors project in any school or department may apply for a Recognition of Original Research in Practical Ethics by Undergraduates. Students performing faculty-mentored research projects, in any discipline, that include significant ethical questions or concerns can apply for research recognition and support in the form of books, subscriptions, research materials, or conference registrations that support their project.

Purpose: This program is intended to stimulate ethical reflection in undergraduate education, reward highly motivated students, and facilitate original research at the undergraduate level. They enable students to develop close mentoring relationships with IU faculty and take advantage of the input and expertise of the Poynter Center community to include ethical inquiry as they hone their skills in their chosen field.

Eligibility: Applicants must be currently enrolled as undergraduates at any IU campus. The proposal must be supported by a faculty mentor. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of Poynter Center staff, and up to five winners may be selected.

How to Apply: The application should take the form of a research proposal describing the purpose and methods of a class project to be carried out during the 2015-16 school year. Successful proposals will outline a strong research project supported by a faculty mentor -- usually from the student's primary field of study -- and include well-articulated ethical questions and considerations as a core part of the project. To get an idea of the variety and scope of possible topics, see our Previous Honorees.

Application must include:

  • Your name, year, and major.
  • The name of a faculty advisor or sponsor for the project.
  • A title for your project
  • A one-page description that explains:
    • your research questions
    • what methods your research uses to study them
    • what ethical questions or issues the research explores
    • how you plan to address the ethical considerations (resources, theories, study design elements, etc.)
    • A proposal for research support in the form of books, subscriptions, conference registrations, or research materials, up to $200 in value (if you have questions about is allowable, feel free to contact us!)

If the student’s work will be part of a larger research project conducted by a faculty member or team of researchers, the description should clearly explain what the student’s unique contribution will be.

Application Deadline: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis from September 15th, 2015 through March 1st, 2016. Up to five honorees may be accepted. Applicants will be notified by email of whether or not they have been accepted within three weeks -- in some cases the committee may have further questions before making a decision. All successful applicants for the 2015-16 academic year will invited to set up a presentation of their work at the Poynter Center during April 2016.

Recognition: Each successful applicant gets following benefits:

- The chance to formally present their research at the Poynter Center. Presentations will be scheduled in April 2016. Students traveling from campuses other than Bloomington can received mileage reimbursement.

- The option of publishing a paper or other research product on the Poynter Center website.

- Research support congruent with the proposal up to $200 in value. Students may request: specific books or subscriptions to materials for their research, registration fees to participate in relevant academic conferences or workshops, or other materials that support the research proposal.

We also encourage winners to submit their papers to the IU Journal of Undergraduate Research.

Questions? Email or call 812.855.0261.


 2015 Honoree: Samantha Strong


Samantha is a sophomore, an Ernie Pyle Scholar in the School of Journalism, and pursuing an Individualized Major in Bioethics.

Her project: "Just Healthcare: a Rawlsian liberal-egalitarian perspective on the accessibility and affordability of treatment for chronic Hepatitis C patients."

The faculty advisor is Professor of Philosophy Sandra Shapshay. Strong will offer a presentation at the Poynter Center later this spring.

Among her other accomplishments, Samantha is a founding member of the IU Bioethics Society and on the staff of the IU Journal of Undergraduate Research (IUJUR).

Previous Winners of Research Prizes for Undergraduates

For information in undergraduates who have received Poynter Research Prizes in previous years, please visit this page.