BioSURF Program

The Washington University Biology Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (BioSURF) introduces WashU undergraduate students to research in the life-sciences under the guidance of WashU faculty mentors. BioSURF is competitive and modeled on the grant-seeking process, with faculty from the WashU Biology Department and Medical School reviewing applications. Students gain a sophisticated and practical knowledge of the research enterprise as they enter the research environment and network within the community of scientists. Students experience the process of research as a creative intellectual activity and gain a more realistic view of the opportunities and demands of a professional research career.

Program Highlights

  • Student recipients receive an award of $4000.
  • The BioSURF program is intended to support WashU students working with faculty from WashU campuses, including the Medical School.
  • Students build professional relationships within the research group and the broader research community.
  • Work is carried out full-time for ten weeks between May 15 - August 18, 2023.
  • Students give an oral or poster presentation at the Fall Undergraduate Research Symposium patterned after a professional scientific meeting. Students also attend a required Research Ethics Workshop and submit an end-of-award report.

Learn about the OUR Summer Research Programs

Check out the OUR's Summer Programs Information Session to find important info about WashU's BioSURF and other WashU summer research programs.

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Submission Guidelines

How to Apply

The BioSURF application process is modeled on the grant-seeking process. In collaboration with a WashU faculty mentor, the applicant will write a project proposal that will then be reviewed by a faculty committee. Awards are made on the basis of recommendations of the reviewers and available funding.


  • Open to all continuing WashU undergraduate students
  • Recipients must be able to conduct research full-time for a minimum of ten weeks between May 15 - August 18, 2023.
  • BioSURF is only for basic biological and biomedical research; clinical studies are not eligible. 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.
  • Research mentorship from a WashU faculty member in the natural sciences or a member of the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences is required. Support is available for research in laboratories on the Danforth Campus and the Medical School (and some other local institutions). All BioSURF mentors must hold a faculty appointment at Washington University. Bench mentors may be graduate students or post-docs, but the recommendation and ultimate supervision must come from a professor. PLEASE NOTE: ALL RESEARCH MENTORS MUST COMMIT TO A 50% COST-SHARE WITH THE BIOSURF PROGRAM ($2000).

BioSURF Application Review Criteria

Fellows will be selected on the basis of their interest in and aptitude for research in the biological/biomedical sciences. Applications will be assessed based on:

  • quality of the proposal
  • contribution and significance of proposed research to your field
  • commitment to the project
  • quality of letters of recommendation
  • prior experience and academic record

Research Proposal Requirements

Want to write the perfect research proposal to increase your odds of being funded? 

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Have questions? Visit the BioSURF FAQ.