Independent research is a time-intensive endeavor. You should have a strong interest in conducting research given the demands of finding a project/lab, applying for funding, and gaining background knowledge and training – all before actually conducting research. Once in the lab, you should expect to spend an average of at least 10 hours per week on research during the school year and 20-40 hours per week during the summer. For students who hope to go to graduate school in the sciences, research experience is a must. Students pursuing other paths or who might have limited time may want to consider course-based research opportunities, which are less time-intensive.

BSI Scholars funds students working as research assistants in labs, and runs professional development trainings to complement the research skills students gain. 


Students will need to find a STEM lab to sponsor their application, preferably working on a biology-related research project. BSI funds will not be granted to students without a project/mentor already identified. Projects are typically designed by your mentor, especially for students just joining a research lab, on an existing project. Mentors assist with the application process and write a component of the application.

BSI provides funding in two cycles: one for the academic year, and one for the summer. Students are paid an hourly wage and may earn up to the maximum award of $2,500. BSI does not provide an allowance for supplies, equipment, or other research expenses. Students needing this type of funding should apply to UROP.

  • Undergraduates must be currently enrolled full time (12 credits) in a degree-seeking (Bachelor's) program at CU Boulder when applying (course enrollment not required during the summer)
  • Undergraduates pursuing a science (STEM) degree receive priority
  • Undergraduates cannot graduate before the end of the award term
  • Undergraduates are not expected to have prior research experience (unless applying for an award at the CU Anschutz campus)
  • Undergraduates must be available during the program dates (see BSI Scholars "Important Dates" box) and are expected to participate in professional development seminars and activities throughout the program. Attendance at the orientation is particularly important, and is required. 

The program includes professional development seminars and activities throughout the award term that are designed to both inform and enrich the undergraduate research experience. In addition to attending these seminars, students are required to give an oral presentation of their work and complete a written scientific proposal at the end of the award term.

  • Funding - Due to the limited availability of research funding for undergraduates on campus, students may not receive a BSI Scholars award in addition to another source of funding, such as a UROP or departmental grant, for their research at the same time.
  • Program Components - The program will include professional development seminars and activities throughout the award term that are designed to both inform and enrich the undergraduate research experience. In addition to attending these seminars, students are required to give an oral presentation of their work and complete a written scientific proposal at the end of the award term.
  • Background Check - The University of Colorado at Boulder is committed to providing a safe and productive learning and living community. To achieve that goal, we conduct background investigations for all final applicants being considered for employment. Background investigations include reference checks, a criminal history record check, and when appropriate, a financial and/or motor vehicle history. Students will not be accepted into the program until BSI receives an approved criminal background check from Human Resources.

Please review the other sections of this site to assist you in finding a project/mentor; mentor eligibility; the application process and more. Contact the BSI office with any questions.