Multidisciplinary Research Opportunities for Women (MRO-W)

The Computing Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) is pleased to announce a program that involves undergraduate students in collaborative, multidisciplinary research creating and using cyberinfrastructure. The goal of this initiative is to engage women undergraduates in computer science more fully in the research process by allowing them to investigate applications of computer science to other areas in which they may have an interest and to serve as a catalyst for forming new multidisciplinary partnerships with cyberinfrastructure expertise.

The program, called Multidisciplinary Research Opportunities for Women (MRO-W), is designed to provide positive research experiences for teams of undergraduates who will work during the academic year and following summer at their home institutions. Each team will consist of scientists from both the computing and non-computing fields as well as women undergraduate students from these respective fields. For example, a project in computational biology might consist of a computer science major, a biology major, a computer science professor, and a biology professor.

The program runs from fall through summer. A typical proposal would request funding for the academic year and following summer, but alternative timeframes such as starting a summer earlier or academic year only will be considered as well.

Students will work with two sponsoring faculty members, one from a computer science/engineering department and the other from another discipline. The women students will each receive a stipend of $3,000 for their work during the academic year and $4,000 during the summer. Each project may also request up to $1,500 to be used for special equipment, travel, or supporting materials.

For a similar program that does not require multidisciplinary research nor summer work, and that is eligible for women and minorities, please see the Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU) website. For a summary of all undergraduate research programs see Undergraduate Research.

Basic Eligibility

  • Teams of two to four students consisting of all women are especially encouraged to apply.
  • Students must have completed two years of undergraduate study at the college level. Priority will be given to students who will be juniors in the fall of 2008.
  • Students must have completed at least four courses in their respective majors.
  • Projects must be multidisciplinary, contain a computer science or computer engineering component, and be suitable for undergraduate research.
  • Applications must be jointly submitted by the proposing students and two or more sponsoring faculty members (from at least two different disciplines).
  • Because of funding sources, only proposals submitted from institutions located in the United States will be considered.
  • Funding for international student may be limited due to restrictions from the funding sources.
Evaluation Criteria

  • The use, support, deployment, development or design of cyberinfrastructure in the project is a requirement.
  • The scope and goals of the project should be reasonable and realistic, based upon the students' prior education and experience.
  • The plan for the project should be well-defined and should describe the collaborative approach taken. The proposal should identify the expected contributions to each field in the multidisciplinary research and include a description of the computational scope of the effort.
  • The project should warrant background research on the part of the students, and should have an active, investigative and experiential nature by which the students can discover their results.
  • Students should be actively involved in writing the proposal, with guidance and support of the sponsoring faculty mentor.
  • The sponsor should have the background necessary to oversee the research and there should be an appropriate strategy for keeping the students on track.
  • The sponsors and students must have enough time to devote to the research project so weekly meetings can occur with additional independent work taking place outside of these meetings.
  • It is assumed that all students will be active participants in the project throughout the entire project. It is anticipated that students will spend approximately 10 - 15 hours per week on the project during the academic year and 40 hours for 10 weeks during the summer.

Application Deadline: May 9, 2008 Notification of Awards: will be emailed June 17, 2008

Project Research: academic year 2008/09 and summer 2009
Midterm Progress Report: January 10, 2009
Final Summary Report: August 15, 2009


Sheila Castaneda
Clarke University
MRO-W Director (CRA-W)

Contact Information

Please send any inquiries or questions about the MRO-W program to