Sponsor FAQs

Sponsor Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find more details about Idea Riser?

Read the Idea Riser student FAQs for more information on the Idea Riser program.

What are the expectations of the faculty/staff sponsor?

All Idea Riser applications require a faculty or staff member sponsor. The role of the sponsor is to make sure the idea or project can be completed, and to provide the student with guidance during their project.

You can be as involved as you want in the students’ Idea Riser project. At a minimum, we are asking that you:

  • Review the requirements of a Idea Riser project.
  • Verify that you have reviewed the student's application.
  • Agree that it is an idea grounded in reality, can be completed in three months and is worth pursuing by the student.
  • Meet with the student at least three times over the course of their project - one during planning, one during execution and one in preparation for the final presentation of the project.


The student must identify their project sponsor when they complete the online application.

Who is qualified to be an Idea Riser sponsor?

Any Radford University teaching, research or professional faculty member can sponsor an Idea Riser. The sponsor should have some experience or understanding of the type of project they are sponsoring to effectively guide the student during the project.  

What if the project I’m sponsoring fails?

That’s OK. Failure is a part of the creation process. The important thing is that the student learns from these failures to better prepare for their next project. Your student will still be required to complete all the responsibilities of the Idea Riser - like regular updates and a presentation about what went wrong and how it could be fixed.

Do students get academic credit for the Idea Riser?

No, students do not receive academic credit for participating in Idea Riser. You are not expected to grade the students or meet with the student(s) each week. We do ask that you meet at least three times during the semester. An idea riser project can be used in conjunction with an independent study.

Can I sponsor multiple students for an Idea Riser project?

Yes, you can sponsor as many Idea Riser students as you would like.

Can teams apply for a Idea Riser?

Yes, multiple students can work as a team and apply for an Idea Riser. If they choose to work as a team, one person must be designated as the primary investigator for the project. That person will be responsible for meeting all the deadlines and communicating with Idea Riser program staff. The team can include as many members, or co-investigators, as the student sees fit.

Whether you meet with the whole team or just the primary investigator is up to you.

Students listed as co-investigators on a project are allowed to apply for their own Idea Riser if it is an entirely different project. Remember, it’s one Idea Riser per idea.

How do I know I’m done with the sponsorship?

The student will present their project during the Student Engagement Forum at Radford University (late April).  That presentation officially marks the end of your Idea Riser sponsorship. Of course you’re welcome to continue working on the project, but you’ll have no other responsibilities to the Idea Riser program.

What kind of funds are in the Idea Riser?

The Idea Riser has a $300 spending limit in support of the student project funded through the office of Academic Programs. Funds are available only to support the actual research, creative activity, or making/prototyping required to complete the project. Examples of acceptable costs supported by this program include, but are not limited to instruments, specialized tools, laboratory supplies, materials for prototype construction, project components (e.g. electronics, gear motors, filter material, paint, glue, etc). Examples of things that are not supported by this program include payment to an individual for professional services, gifts, prizes, food, etc. The money can not be used as a direct payment to the project student or mentor.  Unused materials and all tools/instruments bought with Idea Riser funds must be returned to the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning [CITL] within three business days of project conclusion and becomes the property of the RU Makerspaces.

What if my student doesn’t fulfill the requirements of the Idea Riser?

If your student does not complete the requirements as outlined in this document, if they leave the project or Radford University University, or in the unlikely event they are asked to leave the project, the student must return ALL materials and tools to the Center for Innovative Teaching and learning within three business days. The student may be held accountable for any unreturned items and they will not be allowed to receive Idea Risers in the future.

You, the Idea Riser sponsor, will NOT be held accountable for any items the student fails to return.

Who selects the Idea Riser projects?

Idea Riser applications are reviewed by a team from Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning [CITL] student staff, CITL staff and by select faculty members of the Radford University Makers Initiative, Student members of the Radford University Makers Community and CITL Advisory group.

Who can I contact with more questions about Idea Riser?

Charley Cosmato at ccosmato@radford.edu or Jason Burton at jburton@radford.edu.