Undergraduate Forum: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of participating in the UTSC Undergraduate Research and Creative Forum? 

The UTSC Undergraduate Research and Creative Forum gives students an opportunity to gain experience disseminating research, scholarship, and creative activities to an academic community, share their research experience with peers and develop their presentation skills. The forum also provides the perfect opportunity for students interested in becoming involved in research to learn more about the accomplishments and research and creative interests of other UTSC students.

All selected finalists will receive a notation on their transcript as part of Co-Curricular Record program, and an honorarium.

A digital version of each finalist’s poster, or creative display, or presentation recording will be posted on the library website with the option to more permanently archive their work in TSpace.

What is considered a research or creative project for the purposes of the Forum? 

This Forum is ideal for all students completing capstone projects, independent research or creative projects, or other faculty mentored scholarly activities where there are at least preliminary findings to report. Student presentations may include material that has been or will be presented elsewhere, however, students cannot re-submit the same project as in previous years unless there are significant changes or advancements in the final product. 

Acceptable submissions for the Forum can vary widely by discipline.

Examples of research projects may include lab-based, field-based, experimental or theoretical projects that answer basic and applied questions in your field of study.

Examples of creative projects may include visual art pieces, creative writing, digital storytelling (podcasts, storymaps, etc), or performance-based projects.

If you're not sure if your project is appropriate for this event, check with your liaison librarian.

How do I write an abstract? 

Creative Projects: 

Students should submit creative statements as their abstracts.  Creative statements should be introduced to the art, performance, or creative work and include information on media and methods in creating the pieces.  The statements should also include a description of the inspiration for the work, the meaning the work signifies to the student, the artistic influences, and any unique methods used to create the pieces. Students are encouraged to explain the connections of the work with their inspirations or themes.  The statements should be specific to the work presented and not a general statement about the students’ artistic philosophies and approaches.  Effective creative statements should provide the viewer with information to better understand the work.  If presentations are based on previous performances, then students may include reflections on the performance experiences and audience reactions. 

Research Projects: 

Abstracts should include a short introduction or background to put the research into context; purpose of the research project; a problem statement or thesis; a brief description of materials, methods, or subjects (as appropriate for the discipline); results and analysis; conclusions and implications; and recommendations.  For research projects still in progress at the time of abstract submission, students should include their anticipated main findings and indicate that results and conclusions will be presented at the Forum. 

Please see U of T's page on writing abstracts for additional tips. 

What kind of help is available to students who want to participate in the Forum? 

Contact your liaison librarian for help with research skills, writing your abstract and developing your final submission.  

Students are welcome to attend one (or both) of our informal drop-in information sessions on January 31 and February 1 if they have general questions about the proposal or the URCF in general.

Poster and presentation skills workshops and feedback sessions will also be available to all finalists in March (dates TBC) to help them hone their skills as necessary.

Are group assignments or projects eligible? 

UTSC undergraduate groups or teams may participate in the Forum. All students that contributed to the assignment must be listed.

Are part-time students eligible? 

Yes. All students registered in a UTSC undergraduate degree program who are in the process of completing that degree are eligible to apply. 

May I apply to the UTSC Research and Creative Forum if I work at the UTSC Library? 

Yes. All students registered and completing an undergraduate degree at UTSC are eligible to apply. 

May I submit multiple submissions for the Forum? 

No. You may only submit one application to the Forum. However, if you are submitting a group application, you may also submit an individual application. 

The person who knows the most about my project is not the course instructor, but a teaching assistant. Must the faculty support come from the instructor in charge of the course? 

The faculty support letter must come from either the faculty member or the instructor teaching the course. 

What if my project is taking place off-campus? Does the faculty support letter have to come from a UTSC professor? 

As long as a student is pursuing their undergraduate degree at UTSC, the work being done can be with a professor (PI) off-campus. We will accept the support letter from a U of T professor or PI, or your professor at UTSC, whichever you feel is best. 

I am a faculty member and have been asked to provide a letter of support for a student. Are there guidelines? 

Please refer to the faculty support form.  

What is the application process and timelines?

  • Submit your work to one of the two presentation streams: 
    • Creative Project  
    • Research Project 
  • Complete the submission proposal form by the February 14, 2023 deadline. Deadline extended to February 17, 2023 at 12pm (noon)   
    • Abstracts and creative statements cannot exceed 300 words. Refer to the FAQs for additional guidance on what to include in the abstract and creative statement.  
  • Ask your faculty supervisor / instructor to complete the faculty support form in order to be eligible. 

Successful applicants will be contacted by end of day February 28, 2023.

Finalists will also be invited participate in dedicated scholarly communications and presentation skills workshops and drop-in support sessions in March 2023 (dates to be confirmed). Students are also encouraged to work with their liaison librarians throughout the process.

The finalists will be expected to create a digital research poster or creative display by noon March 27, 2023. This deadline in advance of the Forum is required in order to accommodate printing times and posting information to the library website.

I am a finalist, what do I need to submit for the Forum? 

Finalists will be expected to present a research poster or creative display summarizing their work.

Finalists will receive additional information by email upon their acceptance to the Forum.

You will have the opportunity to discuss your final submission during presentation skills workshops and feedback sessions in March (Details will be emailed to finalists). 

What is the best way to present if we have a group of two or more students? 

It’s up to you to decide how you want to present your work – creativity welcome! 

How do I submit my research poster or creative display?  

Send your final submission via email to nina.adamo@utoronto.ca. If the file is to large to send via standard email, you may choose to use UTSend or upload your file to your OneDrive and then share the link to the file. Additional details will be sent to the finalists.  

What are the time limits for my presentation? 

Posters and creative displays will be on display through the day from 10:00am-4:00pm. Finalists are expected to be in attendance to present their work for 2 hours, from 1:00-3:00pm, to UTSC faculty, staff, students, librarians, friends and family who are invited to browse all the projects.  Recognizing that attendees will be moving from project to project, you should aim to have a short presentation (no more than 5 minutes) that succinctly communicates your research or creative project to a general audience. 

(Optional) Want to provide a recording of your presentation for the Forum website? Here are a couple of options for you to consider: 

  1. Record your presentation video using a camera, smartphone, or webcam on your computer mimicking a ‘live’ presentation as much as possible. If you choose to record yourself standing next to your poster on a screen, you may wish to consider projecting it to a larger screen such as a TV instead of your computer monitor. 

  1. Record your video using screen capturing software. Two software options for you to consider are Snagit which is licensed for the University of Toronto or the PowerPoint recordings feature available in Office365. 

Note: Only videos 5 minutes or less in length will be posted to the website. 

May I submit the same research or creative project to the UTSC Undergraduate Research & Creative Prize or the Patricia and Peter Shannon Wilson Undergraduate Research Prize? 

No. UTSC students cannot submit the same assignment to both the Patricia and Peter Shannon Wilson Undergraduate Research Prize and the UTSC Undergraduate Research and Creative Forum and UTSC Undergraduate Research & Creative Prize

However, UTSC students may submit the same project to both the UTSC Undergraduate Research & Creative Forum and UTSC Undergraduate Research & Creative Prize. Please refer to their respective websites for additional information on eligibility and submission criteria for each initiative. 

How are finalists selected? 

Submissions to participate in the Forum will be judged by a committee composed of UTSC librarians and staff and a representative from the Office of Vice Principal Research and Innovation. 

The librarians and staff on the selection committee will include individuals with a variety of disciplinary knowledge. Students should take into account that their proposals will also be reviewed by those who are not familiar with their field. A concerted effort will be taken to select students from a variety of backgrounds/disciplines from among the applicants in order to showcase the breath of expertise, excellence, and experiences of the UTSC student population.  

How will information about the Forum be communicated?  

Finalists will be contacted via email. A message will also go out on library social media channels to notify that the finalists have been selected. An open invitation and various reminders to the UTSC community showcasing to come view the finalists’ work at the URCF will go out via library and campus communication channels approximately 1 week before the event. 

What are the important deadlines? 

  • Drop-in information sessions:
    • January 31, 2023 10:30-11:30am. 
    • February 1, 2023 2:30-3:30pm. 
  • Proposal deadline: February 14, 2023 at 11:59pm EST (midnight)  Extended to February 17, 2023 at 12pm EST (noon)
  • Finalists contacted: end of day February 28, 2023  
  • Finalists confirm participation: March 7, 2023 
  • Finalists skill building workshops and feedback sessions: March 2023 (dates to be confirmed)
  • Final submission deadline: March 27, 2023 12:00pm EST - noon
  • URCF: April 4, 2023 10am-4pm. Finalists expected to be present for 2 hours from 1-3pm.

Any other questions? 

Contact your liaison librarian.

If you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please advise Nina Adamo or the AccessAbility Services Office before the submission deadline.