Published: Oct. 21, 2019

Several labs on campus offer opportunities for community members—from children to adults—to participate in paid CU Boulder research. See if you qualify for any of the studies below.

This month’s featured studies

Paid research opportunities are also posted on the Buff Bulletin Board as they become available.

Students only

Study on ethics of recommendation algorithms

Do you use Netflix, Yelp, Amazon or some other online service that relies on algorithms to make choices for you? 

Take part in an anonymous study about the ethics of recommender systems and get a free $10 Amazon gift card in return. Learn more and sign up for a time slot.

For more information, email nasim.sonboli@colorado.edu.

Study on CU college experience, mental health

Did you know one out of three college students experience significant emotional difficulties? The Gruber PEP Lab wants to understand your experience as a first-year student at CU. Earn $20 by completing an online survey sharing your own experiences, thoughts and feelings.

This research is being conducted by researchers in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience (IRB#18-0483) as part of a partnership with the Office of Undergraduate Education, the University Exploration and Advising Center, the Center for STEM Learning and the Office of Data Analytics. 

To qualify, you must be a freshman at CU, ages 18–25, and fluent in English.

Please contact gruberpeplab@colorado.edu with the subject line “EMERGE Study,” and we will send you a survey link to complete at your convenience.


For adults

Multiple sclerosis treatment study

Researchers from the Neurophysiology of Movement Laboratory are conducting a study to investigate if electrical stimulation can improve walking and dexterity in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS).

You may be eligible to participate if you are:

  • Healthy with no history of neurological disorders
  • Match the age (30–64 years) and sex of a person with MS who has completed the study

The study involves two evaluation visits and nine treatment sessions (three times per week for three weeks):

  • Evaluation sessions (approximately 1.5 hours each)
    • Familiarization 
    • Tests of mobility and muscle function
    • Answering questionnaire
  • Treatments (approximately 90 minutes each)
    • TENS applied to sensory fibers in arm and leg muscles

Participants can earn up to $200 for completing the study.

If interested, contact mohammed.alenazy@colorado.edu or 303-492-4975 to learn more about the study.

Study for those with chronic kidney disease

The Integrative Physiology of Aging Lab is seeking volunteers to participate in a clinical research study for women and men, ages 30–80, with mild to moderate chronic kidney disease. The study requires participants to be willing to consume one dose (approximately one-third cup) of beetroot juice every day for three months.

Benefits for volunteers include:

  • Cardiovascular health assessment 
  • VO2max test
  • Body composition 
  • Blood chemistry tests 
  • Compensation for time

For more information, please email beetrootstudy@colorado.edu, or call 303-735-6410.

Study for those who fear spiders

The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is looking for adults aged 18–40 to participate in a study about attitudes toward spiders, which requires looking at various spider stimuli. 

This is a paid research study that consists of one approximately four-hour session. You will earn $60 for the completion of this study.

Eligibility criteria:

  • 18–40 years of age
  • Physically healthy
  • Experience significant fear of spiders
  • Qualify based on a short online survey

Email alex.kirk@colorado.edu if you are interested in participating.

Study on bipolar disorder

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder? Interested in your moods and brain? Want a picture of your brain? Participate in a paid study to understand your own emotions and the emotions of others here on campus in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience (IRB#17-0358).

Study includes some or all of the following parts:

  • Visit(s) 1 and 1.5 – Behavioral lab tasks: Interview about thoughts and feelings, physiological monitoring (heart rate), computer tasks, questionnaires (two to three hours each at $20 per hour)
  • Visit 2 – fMRI scan: View videos and pictures and think about emotions while in a brain imaging scanner, computer tasks, questionnaires (two hours at $25 per hour and picture of your brain)
  • Opportunities to participate in paid follow-up surveys also may be available.

To qualify, you must be between the ages of 18 and 55 years old. Please fill out a brief survey to apply. 

Have a question? Email gruberpeplab@colorado.edu with the subject line “MASC Bipolar Study,” or give them a call at 303-735-7547. 

Study on sleep loss

CU Boulder is seeking participants for a research study investigating how sleep loss affects decision-making and your body’s ability to digest and process the foods you eat. 

Participants must be healthy adults, ages 18–35, who normally sleep less than 6.5 hours per night during the school/workweek. Participants will complete six laboratory visits at the CU Boulder Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory and six weeks of at-home sleep monitoring. Four of the visits will last between 0.5-2.5 hours and two of the visits will last about one day.

Compensation up to $750. Get study details.

For questions email the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at sleep.study@colorado.edu and ask about the RADS study.

Sleep study study on light exposure, the body clock

Are you ages 18–45 and healthy?

This study is about how artificial indoor lighting influences the timing of the human body clock compared to an indoor simulation of a natural sunset. This work will have important implications for determining how new lighting technology can be used to promote sleep.

Looking for participation in a study lasting 15 days consisting of wearing an activity tracking watch at home and two laboratory visits of about seven hours each at the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory. Compensation up to $200.

For study details, email sleep.study@colorado.edu and ask about the Simulated Sunset study.

Study on sleep, performance and gut health

The purpose of this this Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory study is to evaluate how sleep loss affects your ability to think and how it changes the helpful bacteria living in your gut. They are also testing how a prebiotic diet alters how you and the bacteria living in your gut respond to sleep loss and being awake at night. This research will help to create treatments and strategies for people working long hours under stressful conditions at night.

You may be eligible for this study if you are a healthy male or female ages 18–35.

Study visits include:

  • Consent appointment at the Sleep Laboratory
  • Medical screening appointment at Boulder’s CTRC
  • An actiwatch appointment at the Sleep Laboratory
  • Two application appointments of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) sensors
  • Two out-patient food pickups in Aurora
  • Two laboratory visits spanning 3.7 days each (17 days in between visits)

Main procedures involved:

  • Consumption of prebiotic and placebo supplement
  • Sleep loss
  • Blood draws
  • Computer testing
  • Biological specimen sampling

Compensation is up to $2,451. For study details, questions or concerns, email sleep.study@colorado.edu and ask about the Navy study.


For kids

Study on cognition, emotions, resilience; ages 15–19

The Research on Affective Disorders and Development (RADD) Laboratory is interested in understanding how certain cognitive abilities, such as being able to pay attention or learn actions that help you achieve goals, may help teenagers to cope with stress and stay healthy.

This is a two-year study. Over the course of the study, you will have two study visits at their laboratory in Boulder, each lasting about five hours. During these visits you will be interviewed about your life experiences; you will complete some computer games that involve paying attention and learning; you will have a neuroimaging scan while you either rest quietly or play computer games; and you will answer a set of surveys on a computer.

Also as part of the study, you will complete a set of online surveys and a brief telephone interview once every six months (five times total during the two-year study participation). At the end of the study, you will have a final telephone interview, lasting about two hours.

You can earn up to $750 for your time and effort completing the study.

To learn more, you or your parent/legal guardian (if you are age 17 or younger) can contact the lab directly at 303-735-8306 or email raddlab@colorado.edu. You can also take the quick and easy online eligibility screen to see if you/your child is eligible to participate in this study.

Study on hearing; ages 5–10

Volunteers are needed for a paid study in the Children's Auditory Perception Lab. Children would be required to wear headphones to listen for a target word in various types of background noise.

They are currently recruiting children ages 5–10. We're looking for individuals who speak English at home, have no history of hearing complications, no more than three ear infections and no concerns about development.

Participants are compensated $10 per hour for one and a half hours of testing.

Interested? Email Heather Hurlbut at childhear@colorado.edu or call 303-735-6252 for more information or to see if your child qualifies.

Sign your child up to participate in research

The Child Research Participant Registry connects families and researchers, so that together they can advance understanding of human communication and methods to diagnose and treat children who have communication-related challenges. They invite families of children with or without communication challenges to join the registry.

To learn more, or to sign up your child, please visit this webpage. The research registry is affiliated with the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences.

Study on self-control, language, cognitive strategies; ages 0–12

The Cognitive Development Center in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is looking for children ages birth to 12 years old who are interested in playing games that will help teach them about self-control, language and cognitive strategies. 

A visit, scheduled at your convenience, lasts about 60 minutes. Babysitting is available for siblings. Parents are compensated for travel, and kids receive a fun prize.

To sign up, please do one of the following:

For more information, check out their Facebook page and website.