Research Funding & Programs

We help fund students undertaking research projects over the summer, and we can help you find summer programs and funding opportunities both inside and outside of WashU.

To promote outstanding undergraduate research, the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) offers financial support in the form of Summer Undergraduate Research Awards (SURA) for non-life science fields and Biology Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (BioSURF) for projects related to the life sciences (e.g. biology, biomedicine, biomedical engineering, biochemistry). To be considered for an award, students must seek nomination from a faculty research mentor.

Funding awards are not typically given to students doing research during the academic year, when they may receive academic credit for their work. Academic year awards may include funding for conference-related travel or for rising seniors or seniors working towards a thesis, capstone, or culminating project in the Humanities and Social Sciences. For more information on these opportunities, check out our award programs below.

General Application Timeline

If you are considering summer research, keep in mind the following general timeline for research funding and fellowship applications:

  • September – December: Find a mentor and formulate a project.

  • January – March: Apply for funding for summer research projects.

Prepare for the summer funding process by refining your research questions, starting a research proposal, and finding a faculty research mentor.

OUR Programs

Summer Undergraduate Research Award

OUR, in partnership with academic departments at WashU, offers Summer Undergraduate Research Awards (SURA) to financially support WashU undergraduates pursuing faculty-mentored research during the summer from all academic backgrounds, with the exception of the life sciences.

Learn More about SURA

Washington University BioSURF Program

The WashU 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 modeled on the grant-seeking process, and students gain a sophisticated and practical knowledge of the research enterprise as they enter the research environment and network within the community of scientists.

Learn more about BioSURF

Academic Year Undergraduate Research Award

The Office of Undergraduate Research offers the Academic Year Undergraduate Research Award (AYURA) to support student-initiated, faculty-mentored independent scholarly research or creative endeavors during term-time in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Learn more about AYURA

Conference Travel Award

Academic year awards may be given to fund conference travel and are accepted on a rolling basis. Funding is only given to cover expenses for conferences where students are presenting their research.

Learn More about Conference Travel Awards


The MARC u-STAR (Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research) Program seeks to train undergraduate students who are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences to think critically and write and speak effectively about their research in order to increase their ability to gain entry into and excel in top PhD programs nation-wide. MARC u-STAR also offers the Summer Scholars Program, which is an eight-week, minority-focused, research program for rising Washington University sophomores interested in scientific research.

Learn more about MARC U-STAR


Need help? You can find expert assistance preparing personal statements and research proposals for funding applications from many helpful resources here at WashU.