SURE: Natural and Biomedical Sciences

The SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research Experience): Natural and Biomedical Sciences Program supports Emory College undergraduates who wish to explore, experience, and conduct full-time independent and mentored research for the summer.

During the ten-week residential summer program, research fellows conduct full-time research, mentored by their Faculty Mentor or Principal Investigator and teams of postdocs, research technicians, graduate students, and other undergraduates.  Our summer researchers receive a housing award for residence on the Emory campus and a stipend to support their full-time attention to research training and professional development.

SURE: Natural and Biomedical Sciences offers the opportunity to develop skills such as:

  • Designing Experiments
  • Problem Solving
  • Interpreting Results
  • Communicating research to a variety of audiences
  • Navigating difficult ethical situations

SURE provides an opportunity to discuss science and start building your professional network with world-renowned scientists and with your best and brightest peers from Emory and other institutions. 


Both Emory and non-Emory students are eligible to apply for SURE: Natural and Biomedical Sciences Program

Emory College Students:

  • Must have a mentor and project identified for the summer
  • Must NOT be graduating the May prior to the summer program (or during the summer program)
  • Must be enrolled at Emory the semester following the summer program

Program Requirements

All applicants must complete an application by January 28, 2019

This intensive research program combines full-time research with activities that prepare participants for a successful graduate or professional career. In accepting our offer, awardees commit to:

  • Complete all pre-arrival steps in order to be admitted to the program
  • Attend and participate fully during entire program 
  • Complete all required safety training prior to collecting data on your project
  • Dedicate approximately 40 hours/week to their research projects
  • Participate in all weekly seminars, workshops, discussion groups and activities as scheduled
  • Develop a mentor-mentee contract with their faculty mentor
  • Post a research proposal by the third week of the program
  • Routinely consult the updated online program schedule
  • Present a poster during the poster symposium
  • Complete pre/post program evaluations
  • Participate in laboratory meetings, journal clubs, safety training, and other academic activities as outlined by the research mentor
  • Update program organizers of future academic developments for program assessment purposes

Summer research participants cannot enroll for summer school. Currently, it is not possible for us to award research credit hours for participation.

Application Instructions

Before Applying:

  1. Review the program requirements.  
  2. You must be fully available during the dates of the entire program. 
  3. Please review these guidelines before you begin your application.    

Emory students must apply with a proposal.

All applicants must submit the following by 11:59 pm on  January 28, 2019

  1. Transcript
    An unofficial transcript is acceptable
  2. Resume
    One page maximum length. You may wish to include academic awards and honors, including honors projects, independent research experiences, publications and presentations, volunteer and extracurricular experience, internships and work experience, and membership in professional and academic organizations.
  3. Statement of Purpose
    One page explanation of how participation in this summer research program will advance your academic & career goals. Specifically address how research fits into your goals.
  4. Application Form
    •  Academic, Demographic, and Contact information.
    •  Research Experience: List relevant research experiences. Include the title of project, your specific responsibilities and role, length of experience, supervisor, and location.
    •  Provide contact information for the faculty mentor or Principal Investigator sponsoring your research proposal. You will certify that you developed this proposal with your mentor’s input.
  5. Letter of Support
    For Emory and returning non-Emory students, the faculty mentor with whom you plan to work should write this letter.

    Non-Emory students should ask for a letter of support from a faculty member who knows you well and is able to comment on the below points.

    Provide a copy of these guidelines to your mentor to ensure he/she understands the program’s schedule and commitments. Your mentor will be better able to write a strong, supportive letter if he/she is familiar with your laboratory performance, work ethic, academic background and intended career path. If your mentor has applied for extramural funding or a supplement that might support your work, have him/her mention this in the letter. We strongly encourage all eligible mentors to apply for supplements. If there are things you wish to address that don’t “fit” anywhere else in the application, let your letter writer know. It is your responsibility to confirm with your faculty mentor that the letter has been submitted by the deadline.

All Emory Students (and non-Emory students who have previously participated in SURE) must submit the following:

Research Proposal

  • Emory students and returning students from other institutions must submit a proposal as part of their application. The research proposal may be your original idea, a project proposed by your mentor, or a combination of both. Your proposal should follow the guidelines here. Remember to ask if you are eligible for support under supplements to your mentor’s research grants. The final version of your proposal must be approved by the mentor.

Please review and follow these proposal guidelines to begin your application



Go to and create a new user account (or log-in with a user account if you have previously applied to a program through College Connect.)

Start a new application.

There is a drop down box where you indicate the application type, make sure you choose the Undergraduate Research Programs option and it should show the SURE Summer Undergraduate Research application. "


Why does the program target rising sophomores, juniors and seniors and not first-year students?

Many available projects require students who have completed sophomore-level coursework and beyond. 

Are graduating seniors (seniors that will graduate at the end of the Spring quarter/semester preceding the summer experience, or in the summer) eligible? 

NO. The program is designed to support students currently enrolled in an undergraduate program. You are not eligible for the summer research program if your bachelor's degree has been awarded by the time the program starts. 

Is the summer research program open to students who are not American citizens? 

Funding is available to US citizens and permanent residents. International students currently enrolled at Emory are also eligible to apply.

Can I participate if I have my own funding?

Some external students are eligible to particpate if their home institution or special program directly pays their stipend and housing. Assuming the student is a competitive candidate and that laboratory and housing space are available, we will do our best to place the student in our program. Note that funding availability alone does not guarantee a position: all applicants must be competitive as determined by the selections committee. Please contact the program director if you have any questions.

Finding a Mentor

We encourage you to browse departmental websites to look up faculty and their current research projects. We also encourage you to research some of our program partners for information on additional supported research areas. Find links to various departments below (this list is not all-encompassing):

Undergraduate Research in Anthropology

Undergraduate Research in Biology

Undergraduate Research in Chemistry

Undergraduate Research in Environmental Studies

Undergraduate Research in Math and Computer Science

Undergraduate Research in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology

Undergraduate Research in Physics

Undergraduate Research in Psychology

Summer Undergraduate Program in Emory Renal Research (SUPERR)

Advice to students writing proposals or searching for research mentors

1. Research the possibilities: What areas of research interest you? It is likely that you have a few topics that truly catch your attention. Use the local media, library, and the web to seek additional information. Talk to your academic advisor and to your instructors for suggestions. It is very likely that one or more researchers in the Atlanta area are currently working on topics that you enjoy. Friends and classmates may also be able to suggest faculty members that have a reputation for being good research mentors. If you have work-study funds, you can try to find work at a laboratory of interest (this can be particularly useful to 1st year students, who often have trouble finding research mentors due to their somewhat limited academic background).

2. Narrow down your search: Once you have some likely mentors in mind, you will need to contact them to determine whether they are available for mentoring undergraduate researchers. Faculty are usually limited in time and resources, and you want to determine availability as soon as possible. Call or e-mail the researcher, and explain that you are interested in applying to our program. Volunteer to forward program materials to them (don't assume they know about the SURE program), and set up an appointment to discuss the possibility of a collaboration. Do not be discouraged if you receive no reply: it is possible this researcher is out of town or busy with a grant deadline. Try someone else in your list. There is nothing wrong with approaching more than one potential mentor simultaneously. Your goal is to find a great mentor and research environment, and shopping around IS allowed. If you end up with more than one offer, decide which one you will explore, and decline the other offer with many thanks. This way, the researcher that you turn down will be able to recruit other students, and the phrase "flaky student that came by, acted all excited, then disappeared..." won't be associated with your person.

3. Prepare for the interview: The kindness of their heart aside, why should this busy stranger agree to mentor your research? The answer is simple: you would be an asset to their lab. As an undergraduate, you are not expected to be a fully trained expert; however, you should have a general idea (the more detailed, the better) of what this researcher's work entails. Prepare for the interview. Bring a list of questions to ask, such as what kinds of projects might be available for you to work on, and whether this faculty has mentored other undergraduates. Discuss your interest in continuing this collaboration during the academic year. Take notes. Discuss how this experience is important to your future career plans. If possible, indicate a project in which you would like to be involved (whether that is a project already in progress, or a project you devised your own).  Discuss compensation: are you looking for a paid position, a work-study position, do you wish to volunteer, or are you interested in doing research for credit?   Regarding funding, ask whether the faculty's grants may support undergraduate research. [NSF grants allow for supplements for all students, and NIH grants allow for supplements to support minorities. If your chosen researcher is unaware of these possibilities, refer them to Undergraduate Research Programs (]. Bring a transcript of your coursework, should you need to discuss your academic background. You want to appear informed, prepared, and eager to learn and work.

4. Follow up on the interview: Make time to call or send a note thanking the researcher for meeting with you. A short e-mail will do. If the researcher is unable to offer you his/her support, do not be discouraged. Think of this interview as good practice for the next one. If the interview leads to an offer to collaborate, set up a time to further discuss the project, and ask for materials or references to help you prepare.

5. Details, details: Find out as much as you can about the project and the research environment before you accept to participate. Discuss issues such as how many hours/week can you devote to the project (and is this in agreement with your research mentor's expectations)? Who will supervise you (and are you comfortable with this arrangement)? How often will you meet with your faculty advisor (or will you mostly interact with another laboratory member; is the arrangement acceptable to you)? How will your performance be evaluated? What skills will your project require and if you need training, when can this training begin? Discuss whether you need training in lab safety, use of radioisotopes, animal handling, or whether you need any tests/vaccinations. What is the laboratory protocol for notebook keeping? Will you be working in a project that might lead to a publication?

The above questions are offered as a starting point. In our experience, most misunderstandings between students and mentors stem from a lack of clear expectations on these issues.

See Emory's Guidelines for the Responsible Conduct of Scholarship and Research for a primer on the rights and responsibilities of individuals involved in academic research. We strongly encourage all students interested in research to explore their sponsoring institution's Guidelines.

6. Get to work!: For students that will use the SURE program to begin a research collaboration, it is important to invest in the project before the program actually begins. Only then will you have enough time to prepare a competitive proposal. Remember: applications are due in February. Locating a faculty mentor and perfecting your proposal will take time, and you will be busy with your Fall and Spring coursework and winter break; faculty may be attending meetings.

Capstone Experience

The capstone of the Sciences Summer Program is the Poster Symposium at the end of the summer. Research Fellows formally present their work in a symposium well attended by the community at large, as well as faculty of Emory University (Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine, School of Public Health), Georgia Institute of Technology, and other regional universities, who are looking for up-and-coming young researchers.


Successful applicants are offered campus housing (usually 4BR suites in Clairmont Campus housing). If you reside in the Atlanta area, you are still eligible for campus housing, however participants may choose to live off-campus.  Housing award funds are not transferable. If you are selected to participate and accept to attend the summer research program, you agree to abide by the same Emory College student conduct guidelines that are applicable during the academic year. Violation of these guidelines will result in termination and referral to other College units for follow-up as warranted.


Please address any specific questions about housing to: Summer Intern Housing Program (


Move-in 2018: May 29

Move-out 2018: August 3


A selection panel will identify finalists.

  • Notifications will be sent via email early March
  • Accepted students must confirm participation within a week of receiving their offer.

Financial Documents