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Academic Programs / Biology Undergraduate Program / Biology Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates

Biology Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates

The Biology Department is offering TWO awards of $5000 to promote the academic development of students through research during the Summer.

  1. Ribble Summer REU
  2. Steiner Summer REU

Interested students must have identified a research mentor in the Biology Department (, and discussed a plan to conduct a full-time research project during the Summer. The expected involvement in research is 30 hours per week over a period of 10 weeks. The same research may not simultaneously count towards BIO 395 or any other research course, or any other research fellowship or award. Awardees may not concurrently receive other Summer research fellowships, but applying to other fellowships does not preclude students from applying for the Biology fellowships.

The awardees will have opportunities to interact with student researchers who are participating in other Summer Research programs on campus and participate in the same activities. The awardees will be expected to present their research at a forum including other summer research students before the end of the summer. A short follow-up report will be expected before the first day of classes of the Fall semester; the report must include a summary of the research, its outcome, and the presentation venue.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Biology major when research project begins
  • Faculty research mentor in the Biology department
  • Excellent achievement and promise in biology
  • Potential for a productive research experience as exemplified by the research plan
  • Not received other UK research fellowships concurrently this summer, and not received this award in previous years.


We will begin reviewing applications on March 15th and continue until March 29th. The successful applicant will be announced in early-April. Please submit your application packet to

Application packets should consist of:

  1. Completed application form: download form here
  2. 1-2 page research proposal: Proposal should be written by the student and reviewed by their research mentor. Make sure that your research mentor has reviewed and approved of the proposal before submitting it.

Introduction & Background (One-half, single-spaced page maximum)

- What are the overall aims of the proposed research project?
- Provide a brief background that leads up to the central research question of your study.
- State the hypotheses of this research project.
- Relate your research to relevant work in the scientific community.
- Include relevant references.

Project Description (One-half, single-spaced page maximum)

Describe the proposed experimental methods and the purpose of these methods in relation to your aims. Make sure to spell out any abbreviations or acronyms. It is important to convey a clear experimental design taking into consideration all aspects of the scientific method, rather than providing technical protocols.

Expected Results (One-half, single-spaced page maximum)

- Explain what the expected results from this project will be, and how they would relate to your hypothesis.
- What is the expected significance of these results in the context of the scientific field? You may need to provide references to support your statements here.
- Explain whether this research will be presented anywhere, submitted for publication, or will contribute to the research goals of the lab you are working in.

Reference list

- Provide a list of references cited. Avoid citing only your research mentor’s papers, though these can definitely be included. Try to provide at least 2-3 peer-reviewed sources.


(Any other format used in a biology journal is also acceptable)

Within text: Use only last names of authors.
The sky is blue (Shenoy, 2012). Researchers (Osterhage and Mirabito, 2020) have shown that the sky appears blue under certain conditions. It is known that the scattering of light causes the sky to appear blue (Mirabito et al, 2017).

Reference list:
Authors. Year. Title. Journal, volume: start page-end page.

Examples (completely made up!):
Shenoy K. 2012. The color of the sky. Journal of Sky Colors, 22: 17-23.
Osterhage JL, Mirabito PM. 2020. What color do you see? Journal of Sky Colors, 22: 17-23.
Mirabito PM, Osterhage JL, Shenoy K. 2017. Effect of light on the color of the sky. Journal of Sky Colors, 22: 17-23.

  1. Faculty mentor’s letter of endorsement that covers, but is not limited to, the following points:

- In what capacity do you know the student and for how long have you known them?
- What was the student’s contribution to the project plan?
- Can you speak about the student’s potential in research and academics?
- How does this project fit in with your research program?
- Anything else you would like to mention.

Mentors may email their letters directly to before March 15, with the subject line: Summer REU letter for [student’s name].