Educational Programs


If you are interested in applying to the C★STAR program, you may find some useful information in this compilation of frequently asked questions we have received for the fall 2016 application cycle.

How many years is the money typically awarded for?
If selected, funds are awarded annually on a competitive basis for up to three (3) years.

How many awards are given out each year? 
The program is highly competitive. Up to six (6) awards are given per year.

The website lists several areas of emphasis, but the flier highlights a targeted area of emphasis for this year? What does this mean for applicants working on organ sites listed on the website?
All applications will be considered based on their potential for success. The areas listed on the flier are in addition to the areas/organ-sites listed on the website.

Are late materials accepted?
No, all application materials should be submitted by the deadline noted for consideration. This includes letters of support and/or recommendation letters.

Do I need to send a research statement by email?
No, you are encouraged to use the online application portal to submit your research statement and other application material.

I don’t have a Carle physician collaborator, can I still apply?
Yes, applications should still be submitted even though a “match” has not been formally made. All complete applications will be reviewed. Matches can be made during the review process (for projects not having a collaborator).

Is there any financial support for the recipient of the award?
Yes, students selected as scholars may receive up to an 11-month research appointment.

Can the letter of recommendation also serve as a letter of support?
Yes, the letter of recommendation from your faculty advisor/department head can also serve a letter of support. The letter must be signed by the appropriate person and state that the faculty advisor and/or department head agrees to provide half of the program funding for the student if awarded.

Do recommenders need to be affiliated with a university?
No, letters of recommendations be provided by individual outside of the University of Illinois system. The recommender MUST be knowledgeable of your research skills and/or potential.

When would the program begin?
The next cycle of awards would begin on January 16, 2017.

How much would the time commitment be per week? 
The program is equivalent to a graduate research assistantship.

What should the research statement include?
The research statement should include a description of the project with specific goals/aims listed. It should state what is being tested or explored and what the student/research team hopes to learn and accomplish.

Is the project we are planning to work on a project we come up with on our own or one we are placed with based on our interests?
Projects are developed with the assistance of a faulty mentor. Leeway should be left in the project design to integrate ongoing feedback from a physician collaborator (if awarded). This program does not conduct project design and placement.

Is this program meant for students who are just starting out in research, or should we have prior research experience? 
Both—this program is a team based research and mentoring program. Students are mentored by a university of Illinois faculty mentor and a Carle physician.

In a previous round, I participated on an open forum where I presented before members of the Carle medical staff. Will I be doing this again?
No, presentations to the Carle cancer center medical staff will not be made this round.

I have a project, but I am not sure if it would be right for the program. What should I do?
If your topic is an area of emphasis listed in the announcement, we encourage you to apply. More information about the program is available here.