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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Guideline for Academic Staff


The University is committed to enhance the research activities of both academic staff and students. For this purpose, the University has established the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) programme. Academic staff can apply for research funding through the SURF programme, which will be used in a summer project involving a group of undergraduate students.

While funding is awarded to a research project, the main aim of the SURF programme is to stimulate the research interest and creativity of undergraduate students, and to boost the reputation of XJTLU students and student research in the region. This programme provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to support academic staff in their research, to apply knowledge acquired in their programmes, and to develop practical and presentation skills.


SURF Programme Procedure

1) Staff Proposal Stage

There will normally be one application round per academic year, in Semester 2. Academic staff shall submit their applications for SURF on e-Bridge.

Requirements for Projects:

  • The project must be innovative, and have clear objectives, detailed content, and operable methods
  • Project proposals are encouraged to involve local industry and the local environment
  • The duration of a project is typically 10 weeks, although projects as short as 5 weeks will be considered
  • Projects requiring ethical approval will only be accepted if confirmed as Low Risk Research (LRR) and granted ethics clearance by the University Research Ethics Review Panel
  • For projects generating intellectual property outcomes, the University policy of Policy on Intellectual Property Rights must be followed. Results/products from the projects are the property of XJTLU and can be utilised in other areas of learning, teaching and research as seen appropriate by XJTLU
  • Academic staff can normally be a Principal Investigator on a maximum of three projects in each round

2) School/Academy SURF panel review

Each School/Academy shall set up a School/Academy SURF panel, chaired by the Associate Dean for Research (or equivalent) of a School/Academy or his/her designee (academic staff).

School/Academy SURF panels review the applications on e-Bridge. The panel chairs make recommendations for each application from their School on e-Bridge based on the following criteria:

  1. The project’s ability to provide a beneficial learning experience for the SURF student(s)
  2. The project’s feasibility, coherence and academic merit
  3. Clarity on how students will be supervised throughout the entire project

3) Research Ethical Clearance

Projects recommended by School Panels must seek clearance from the University Research Ethics Review Panel on e-bridge prior to receiving the final approval from the University.

The Research Management Office (RMO) will reach out to Principal Investigators whose project requires ethical approval.

4) University Approval

The list of recommended projects will be approved by the Associate Vice President of Research and Impact. The final decision will be made based on the school recommendation, status of ethical clearance and the budget at the University level . The decision will be final.

5) Student Selection

Once the approved SURF projects are announced, students who are currently registered in stage 1, 2 or 3 of their undergraduate studies at XJTLU, can then apply to be a SURF research fellow for specific projects. Students can apply to a maximum of three projects per round and only participate in one project in each round. SURF Investigators are responsible for the selection of suitable students. There can be no more than six research students per project.

6) Supervision and Project Completion

The project should be undertaken from the end of the final examinations in semester two to late August. Principal Investigators must be on-site to supervise the project or make appropriate arrangements for student supervision. Principal Investigators will be required to sign a declaration on student supervision.

After the completion of the project, students will be required to present their findings during the SURF Poster Fair in the following Semester.


Budget Control

The Principal Investigator is responsible for managing the allocated project budget and controlling costs incurred by the project(s).

The funding from the University for each PI is fixed and does not increase with the number of projects the PI applies for. Should the PI needs additional funding, he/she can subsidise the project through self-funding (e.g. the PI’s own IRA account).

Project funds can be used for the following:

  • Student Stipends: It is at the discretion of the Principal Investigator whether and how much to pay students selected for the SURF project. It is suggested that the Principal Investigator distributes the stipend according to the contribution every student makes during the project. The stipend will be transferred to each student after the successful completion of the project
  • Consumables and Travel Costs: Project related consumables (e.g. experimental fees, printing, photocopying) and project related travel costs (e.g. conference attendance, project-related travel)


External SURF Projects

The University also welcomes external SURF projects supervised and funded by external supervisors from the industry.

The Schools/Academies are encouraged to contact their industry partners to submit the external SURF project proposals. Each external SURF project should have an internal contact person from the School/Academy. For external SURF project proposal submission, please refer to the announcement email in the beginning of each round.

The external SURF projects will be evaluated by the School/Academy SURF Panel alongside internal SURF projects. After the external SURF projects are approved by the School/Academy and the University, both internal and external SURF projects will be made available on e-Bridge for students to select.

(Last review date: 28-Feb-2024)

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