Published: Jan. 27, 2020

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 wellness, coping with stress

The Research on Affective Disorders and Development Lab is conducting research on wellness and stress coping in CU students. We want to understand what makes CU students resilient or vulnerable to stress, and explore how peer-based programs may foster wellness.

The study includes a few different parts:

  • Everyone in the study will be sent a series of electronic surveys three times over the course of the year.
  • Some qualifying participants will also complete two in-person research visits, which include an interview about life experiences, a set of computer games, and a neuroimaging scan.
  • Participants who are using Peer Wellness Coaching services at CU may choose to share information about their coaching experience with our research team (but you do not have to be using Peer Wellness Coaching to participate in the study). 

The study takes place over the course of a full year, and you will be compensated for your participation (maximum of $504 to $608 for completing all parts of the study).

If you’re interested in learning more, contact the RADD Lab at, 303-735-8306, or complete our web screen at

Study on CU college experience, mental health

Did you know one out of three college students experience significant emotional difficulties?

We want 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 CU Department of Psychology and Neuroscience (IRB#18-0483) and is conducted 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. Additional opportunities to participate in paid research may be available.

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

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

For adults

For couples: Study on relationship and sexual satisfaction

Couples needed: Participate with your partner in a research study investigating relationship and sexual satisfaction, mood and sexual intimacy. Participation requires one study visit with your partner lasting 1 hour. 

Each partner will earn $10 for participating ($20 per couple).

Eligible participants include those who meet the following criteria:

  • 18–35 years-old
  • Currently in a monogamous opposite sex and/or cohabiting relationship 
  • Relationship duration of at least nine months
  • Sexually active
  • English speaking
  • Willing to be video recorded
  • Not currently pregnant

If interested, please contact or leave a message at 303-735-7259. A researcher will contact you to schedule a five-minute phone call to verify eligibility. 

Cognitive science study

Researchers at the Institute of Cognitive Science are seeking men and women volunteers to participate in a research study investigating how technology can either facilitate or hinder teams performing tasks.

The experiment will take approximately 1.5 hours. Participants will be compensated $50. Participants will also earn money through performance in the task.

If you are interested in participating or for more information, please contact Lucca Eloy at

Study on cannabis, chronic low back pain

In the Pain Research: Innovative Strategies with Marijuana (PRISM) study, we want to understand how edible cannabinoids (e.g., THC and CBD) impact health and symptoms of chronic low back pain. To better understand how varying levels of cannabinoids in the body are related to your health, we ask you to provide blood samples.

You will be compensated up to $220 for your participation.

You may be eligible to participate in this study if you:

  • Are 21–70 years old
  • Have used cannabis at least once in your life
  • Experience chronic low back pain
  • Have not used cannabis to treat your pain but are interested in trying edibles to manage your pain

This study involves:

  • 1 appointment scheduled at our lab facility in Boulder
  • 1 appointment scheduled in our mobile lab facility (comes to your street)
  • 4 small blood samples
  • Brief and confidential cognitive tasks and questionnaires

Fill out our survey here. If you are interested or have any other questions, please contact the CU Change research lab at 303-492-0288 or

Cardiovascular research study

The Integrative Physiology of Aging Laboratory is looking for volunteers to study the potential health aging effects of nicotinamide riboside supplementation on blood pressure and physiological function.


  • Age 50–79 years
  • Higher than normal blood pressure
  • Willing to undergo a three-month period taking nicotinamide riboside or placebo pills

Benefits include:

  • Blood pressure screening
  • Detailed blood panel (cholesterol, glucose, etc.)
  • Monetary compensation for time

Monetary compensation for time. If interested, call 303-492-2485 or email

Study on bipolar disorder

Have a history of bipolar disorder or depression? 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 CU 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 (2-3 hours each; $20/hour)
  • Visit 2 – fMRI Scan: View videos and pictures, and think about emotions while in a brain imaging scanner, computer tasks, questionnaires (2 hours; $25/hour and picture of your brain)
  • Opportunities to participate in paid follow-up surveys may be available.

To qualify, you must be between the ages of 18 and 55 years old.

Please fill out a following brief survey to apply.

Have a question? Please email with the subject line “MASC Emotion Study” or give us 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/work week. 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 study on light exposure, the body clock

This study is about how typical artificial indoor lighting versus a simulation of a natural sunset influences the timing of the human body clock. The body clock controls 24-hour patterns of physiology such as sleep and hormone release. This work will have important implications for determining how implementation of new lighting technology can be used to promote sleep.

We are looking for healthy men and women, ages 18–45, to participate in a study lasting approximately 15 days, consisting of wearing an activity tracking watch at home and two laboratory visits of about seven hours each at the CU Boulder Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory.

Compensation up to $200. For study details, email and ask about the Simulated Sunset study.

Study on sleep, performance and gut health

The purpose of this study is to evaluate how sleep loss affects your ability to think and changes the helpful bacteria living in your gut. We 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 us 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 outpatient food pickups in Aurora
  • Two laboratory visits spanning 3.7 days each, with 17 days in between visits at the CU Boulder Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory

Main procedures involved:

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

Compensation is up to $2,451. Get study details and complete the screening. For questions email the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at and ask about the Navy study.

For kids

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

Do you want to participate in a study about cognition, emotions and resilience? Are you a teen ages 15–19? Or do you know a teen who may be interested?

At the Research on Affective Disorders and Development (RADD) Laboratory, we are 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 our 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 visit our website at, contact our lab directly at 303-735-8306 or email us at

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.