Biology Research Opportunities

Mayo Innovation Scholars Program

Gustavus is proud to announce four internship positions with the Mayo Innovation Scholar Program. The internships are designed to give students first-hand research and marketability experience with leading inventors and researchers employed by Mayo. For more information about the program, please visit You may also make an appointment to see Jess Franta (, 507-933-7509) in the Gustavus Career Development Center to learn more details about this opportunity or talk with Tom Clement in Economics (, 507-933-7068).

The Rubert Anderson Award in Systematics

A great way to learn about organismal diversity is to work with a specimen collection. The Gustavus Biology Department has several opportunities to work with plant and animal collections! In order to share our insect, plant, and vertebrate collections with a larger community we are in the process of organizing and displaying information, including images, about the specimens in our collections on a newly-designed website. This site will serve as a resource for classes at Gustavus, the St. Peter community, and scientists.

The Rubert Anderson Award in Systematics is an annual award that is granted to faculty-student collaborators to conduct work with one of the department collections. Collections are a vital component of scientific study and education, cataloguing diversity and understanding evolution and environmental change.This award is an opportunity for you to contribute to the department’s educational objectives and learn about a particular taxon. Faculty-student collaborators develop and submit a short proposal in which they outline their plans to curate and present a portion of a collection on-line. To apply:

1. Contact and meet with one of the following faculty members:

2. With your faculty collaborator, develop a short proposal in which you:

  • clearly state what informational content and how much of the collection will be posted online by the end of the award period
  • describe what archival work needs to be done to support #1 (above) and what you intend to accomplish in one semester
  • Submit an itemized budget for no more than $160 to support your work. Money can be used to: travel to see collections at other institutions, purchase supplies to present or archive specimens, and acquire texts related to the collection subject

3. Three copies of the proposal are due to Eric Elias (NHS 221B) by the posted due date. Successful applicants will be notified the following week.

Swansom-Holcomb Undergraduate Research Grant Opportunities

Eligibility: Any undergraduate majoring in one of the natural sciences, mathematics, or psychology.

Deadlines: The Fall deadline is usually in mid-September, and Spring deadline is usually in early March.

Obligations: An oral presentation or a poster of the research accomplished must be given at the spring undergraduate research symposium held on the Gustavus campus.

Grant Size: While the committee will entertain any justified request, the usual maximum is $500.00. These funds are expected to be used for purchasing supplies that are not routinely available in the department. 

To Apply: Visit the SHUR grant homepage for detailed instructions. Models of successfully-funded proposals are provided at

First-year Research Experience (FYRE) Program

The First-Year Research Experience (FYRE) Program is dedicated to providing opportunities for students to engage in bona fideresearch experiences during the summer between their first and second years with a Gustavus faculty mentor in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics. This program was initially developed and supported with funds from a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) grant that aimed to improve the learning experiences for students interested in biology and/or chemistry early in their undergraduate careers. Following the four-year period of the HHMI grant award, in which students and faculty alike observed large, positive impacts of these early research experiences on the development of the students' learning and research skills and careers, Gustavus has committed to the continuation of the FYRE program into the future.

Learn about the types of research projects offered in this program and application instructions here

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Research At Other Institutions

Locating an Undergraduate Summer Research Opportunity

Late December and January are perfect times to search for PAID summer research opportunities. These are fabulous summer opportunities! You have many options to explore:
- Search 'SURP university' on Google to find other opportunities. SURP stands for 'summer undergraduate research program'. 
- Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF): The National Institute of Standards and Technology offers the SURF program for students majoring in science, mathematics, or engineering. The application includes a portion completed by an institutional representative and a set of materials provided by student applicants. For more information, see
- Some colleges have National Science Foundation funding to run a research experience for undergrads (NSF-REUs). Search these at:

Opportunities exist in ecology, chemistry, genetics, cell biology, aquatic biology, conservation, physiology, entomology, plant biology, behavior, neuroscience ...the sky is the limit. You get to interact with other undergrads, researchers, grad students, post-docs, etc. They pay a stipend, living expenses and generally take you to a national meeting. Deadlines for applications range from early January to mid-March. 

A word of advice: 
- Cast a broad net, geographically and biologically. Places on the coast, prestigious universities or beautiful locales are highly competitive, as are ones that explicitly mention medicine. See the opportunities in other possibilities.
- You have a better chance if you talk about what skills you bring to the program not just what you will get out of it. Think about what are you interested in and what might you do while you are there. This means you need to do your homework and see what kinds of projects different professors do and how it intersects with your interests. Be specific. Articulating a potential project does not mean you are locked into doing it, rather you are showing the selection committee that you are capable of acting and thinking like a scientist. 
- Juniors have a better chance than sophomores, but don't let that dissuade you from trying. 
- there are many Gustavus seniors that have been successful at gaining summer research - seek them out for advice. (Your advisor may be able to provide specific names when given permission.)

Happy hunting! 


Recent Research Opportunities

Valparasio University

Follow the link to the Department of Biology's web page. There you will be able to find links to summer undergraduate research programs, courses, and biology and science organization's websites.

Harvard Forest research in Ecology

The Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology is an opportunity for students to participate in 11 weeks of mentored, paid, independent research focusing on the effects of natural and human disturbances on forest ecosystems, including global climate change, hurricanes, forest harvesting, wildlife dynamics, biodiversity and invasive organisms. Learn more about this year's projects.

Students receive many benefits from the Program:

  • Stipend for the 11-week session
  • Free furnished housing at Fisher House or Raup House
  • Free full meal plan
  • Travel reimbursement for one round trip to the Forest (federal grant restrictions apply)

The Harvard Forest is located in the town of Petersham, in Western Massachusetts.

For more information visit.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

RISE is jointly sponsored by two of the nation's leading public research institutions -- Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). We have a vibrant campus, conveniently located only an hour from New York City and Philadelphia. We choose 30 outstanding college undergraduates to participate in cutting edge research in the sciences, math, and engineering under the guidance of prominent faculty mentors. You earn a substantial stipend and live in free on-campus housing. For mor information visit

Exciting Science: Our research spans the biomedical, physical and behavioral sciences, math, and engineering. In the biosciences, we offer an umbrella program,, and are home to the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey. Cutting-edge interdisciplinary opportunities include three IGERT programs: NanoPharmaceutical Science & Engineering,, and Perceptual Sciences, We also offer strong programs in environmental and marine sciences, food and nutritional sciences, and ecology.

We especially encourage you to apply if you are:

  • from an economically/ educationally disadvantaged background
  • from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences
  • a first generation college student
  • a student who does not have opportunities for intensive research at your home university
  • someone who has followed a non-traditional path to college

Admission to RISE is highly competitive.

US Department of Energy

Are you interested in conducting research at the US Department of Energy's largest multi-purpose laboratory? Do you know someone who would be an excellent intern, participating in world-class research with world-class scientists? Would you like to get paid to learn? Are you interested in expanding your resumé? Would you like to gain research experience before entering the workforce or graduate school?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above then you should visit to learn more about the following programs:
Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) Program
Community College Institute (CCI) Program
Pre-Service Teacher (PST) Program
Faculty and Student Teams (FaST) Program
Standard Eligibility Requirements:
Must have earned a high school diploma or GED - Must be at least 18 years old at the start of the program - Must have completed at least one semester of college - Must have a minimum 2.5 out of 4.0 GPA - Must be a United States Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident - Must have coverage under a health insurance plan. It is the responsibility of each participant to secure insurance coverage before arriving at the appointment site.

Must submit Two Letters of Recommendation
ORNL Education Program Contacts:
Ebony Vauss, (865) 576-3426,
Terry Howard, (865) 241-6395,

Nebraska Summer Research Program

The Nebraska Summer Research Program is a consortium of NSF funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and other summer research opportunities programs (SROP). One unique feature of the Nebraska Summer Research Program is the partnership between the REU and SROP programs and the Office of Graduate Studies . Students benefit in having a community of scholars in which to learn and to share research with. This intensive summer research experience provides mentoring and research experiences while allowing scholars to preview graduate school life. Students with a strong interest in graduate programs are particularly encouraged to apply, as are those from populations traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. For more information visit

Students with a strong interest in graduate programs are particularly encouraged to apply.


Persons interested in conducting research at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (see separate listing) should apply to that unit directly. Also Internship opportunities. See the web site

The Fellowships Office of Policy and Global Affairs

The Fellowships Office (FO) of the National Academies administers pre-doctoral, postdoctoral, and senior fellowship awards on behalf of government and private/foundation sponsors; these fellowship awards play an important role in the career development of doctoral and postdoctoral researchers and scholars for the academic, federal, industrial and international workforce. Current opportunities at

Application deadlines vary by program.

Rochester Institute of Technology

RIT offers paid internships in fields related to genomics and bioinformatics, immunology, ecology, and the like. For more information visit

Pathways to Science

Visit to explore internships or research opportunities available for Summer. This site is sponsored by NSF and NASA.

The Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) is a program for undergraduates. Other than just doing research students will have the opportunity to interact with other trainees as well as mentors supervising their projects. They must be sophomores or juniors when they apply, be majoring in the biological or chemical sciences, interested in obtaining a Ph.D., and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. A $400/week stipend plus free board is provided. Applicants will be evaluated on their enthusiasm for research, two letters of reference, their college transcript, and previous research experience (which includes science courses that have a lab component). For more information or to apply, visit the link provided.

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