Q: How can I find out more about the SURF program?
A: Early in the spring semester, there will be an information meeting for students interested in summer research opportunities. Check the ur.wustl.edu homepage for date, time and location.
Q: How much is the BioSURF stipend?
A: The stipend for summer 2017 is $4000. Students are expected to be working 40 hours per week in their lab for a minimum of ten weeks during the summer. During this period Fellows may not be enrolled in any course or employed elsewhere.
Q: Is there a housing allowance?
A: No. Fellows will pay for and arrange their own housing, but the OUR (Office of Undergraduate Research) can help facilitate this.
Q: What else is required besides the summer research?
A: Fellows are required to attend EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) training and a Research Ethics Workshop. Also participation in the Fall Undergraduate Research Symposium is mandatory (unless you are studying abroad during the fall semester.)
Q: How do I start the application process?
A: After the informational meeting, the BioSURF application website will go live. In the meantime, you should be finding a mentor/lab and developing a summer project with him/her.
Q: Are there other summer research programs available for Washington University students?
A: Yes, information on a variety of other programs is available at http://undergradresearch.wustl.edu/research-funding/summer-research-programs-wu.
Q: What are my chances of being awarded a BioSURF?
A: In the past, about 50-60% of applicants have been awarded a BioSURF.
Q: May I apply for more than one Fellowship or undergraduate research program?
A: Yes, you may apply for more than one Fellowship, but you may only accept one.
Q: I was previously given a BioSURF award. May I apply for a second BioSURF award?
A: A second BioSURF is rarely awarded, except in the case where the mentor is unable to support the student or under other special circumstances. Please inquire, relating your circumstances, before applying for a second BioSURF. In your application and in the mentor's letter of recommendation, you and your mentor must clarify the special circumstance or explain the funding issue. If the circumstances warrant it, we will consider, without prejudice, a second application.
Q: I am working on a project that is clinical. Can I still apply for BioSURF?
A: BioSURF funding is intended for basic biological and biomedical research, and clinical studies are not eligible for this support. Disease-related research is often eligible, but patient outcome research is generally not. If you are unsure about whether your project is eligible for support, please inquire before submitting an application.
Q: My potential mentor says he/she has no money to contribute to my stipend. Can I still be awarded a BioSURF?
A: Yes. Recommendations for BioSURF awards are based solely on the merit of the application, not on a mentor's ability to pay. The strongest applications will be funded.
Q: My potential mentor works at another university, am I eligilble for a BioSURF?
A: No; the BioSURF program only supports students working under the supervision of Washington University faculty. (The mentor may be a professor on the Danforth or Medical School campus.)
Q. Is there a limit to the number of applicants my potential mentor can recommend for a BioSURF?
A. Washington University faculty may recommend no more than three applicants from their lab.
Q: I'm currently a senior. May I apply?
A: BioSURF is for continuing undergraduates only. However, if you will be a fifth year senior during the fall 2017 term, you are eligible for BioSURF.
Q: I'm a freshman. Do I have any chance of getting a BioSURF?
A: Over 10% of last year's BioSURF participants were rising sophomores. Fellowships are awarded to both those new to research and those already experienced in proportion to the applications received.
Q: You ask for two letters of recommendation. I'm a freshman and all the classes I've taken had large enrollments so my professors don't really know me. What should I do?
A: This is an excellent opportunity to get to know your professors! Draft a short (one-page) resume of your activities, your interest in research and the BioSURF program, what you hope to do in your project, and make an appointment to meet with your advisor, a teacher, a resident advisor in your dorm, your dean, or others. Faculty members like to see students take this kind of initiative and generally are willing to write a recommendation. Remember, ONE letter of recommendation MUST come from your mentor.
Q: In at least one of my classes the TA knows me and my work better than the professor does. May I ask a TA to write one of my letters of recommendation?
A: Yes. One letter may come from a graduate TA and one from your mentor.
Q: How long should the proposal be?
A: 1-2 pages, double-spaced, written by you. Your proposal should include critical material to inform the review committee how you're going to approach the project. See “Research Proposal Guidelines" to help you. Ask your mentor to review your proposal for completeness, well before the final deadline.
Q: Are examples of successful past proposals made available to applicants?
A: No. We do not release past proposals.
Q: May I take a vacation in the middle of BioSURF?
A: Possibly. You may negotiate with your mentor to take a vacation during your BioSURF as long as you contribute a MINIMUM 10 weeks of research, and your BioSURF research does not extend beyond the start of the fall 2017 term.
Q: If I have questions about applying, how can I get more information?
Questions not addressed above may be sent to:
Ms. Kristin Sobotka, Office of Undergraduate Research