Published: Sept. 14, 2020

Several labs on campus offer opportunities for community members to participate in paid university research studies, many of which can be done online. See if you qualify for any of the studies. 

Featured studies

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

Students only

Study on mental health in first-years

The Gruber PEP Lab wants to understand your experience as a first-year student at CU during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the First Year Experience initiative.

You can complete an online survey sharing your own experiences, thoughts and feelings. We want to understand your experience as a first-year student at CU during the COVID-19 pandemic. Complete 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). You will have the opportunity to win one of ten $100 Amazon gift cards. Additional opportunities to participate in paid research may be available. To qualify, you must be a first-year student at CU, between the ages of 18–25 and fluent in English.

Please contact gruberpeplab@colorado.edu with the subject line “EMERGE 2020 COVID-19 Study,” and they will send you a survey link to complete at your convenience.

Study on wellness, stress coping

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 includes 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 raddlab@colorado.edu, 303-735-8306, or complete our web screen.


For adults

Study on sleep, performance, gut health

This study is about 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 (e.g., emergency workers and military personnel).

We are looking for healthy men and women, aged 18-35, to participate in two laboratory visits of approximately 3.7 days each at the CU Boulder Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory.

Participants will be compensated up to $2,451. For study details, email sleep.study@colorado.edu and ask about the Navy study.

Study on anxiety, inflammation, stress

The CUChange lab in the Institute for Cognitive Science and Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is looking for participants for a paid study on anxiety (OASIS). 

They are looking for participants for a research study on the use of cannabis in people who experience anxiety (IRB #16-0767). You can make up to $335 for only three appointments! Must be 21 years or older. Open to the public.

Email oasis.custudy@gmail.com for more details or fill in the online, confidential screening form.

Study on low-back pain, cannabis

The CUChange lab in the Institute for Cognitive Science and Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is looking for participants for a paid study on low-back pain (PRISM). 

We are looking for participants for a study on people with low-back pain who are interested in using edibles (IRB #17-0268). You can make up to $220 for only two appointments! Must be 21 years or older. Open to the public.

Contact prism.custudy@gmail.com or fill in the online, confidential survey.

Biomechanics cycling study

The Locomotion Lab of the Integrative Physiology Department at CU Boulder is studying the effect of bicycle lean on maximal power output in cycling. This experiment will involve a series of 5-second cycling sprints on a stationary bike. 

To be eligible for this study, you must:

  • Be between 18–49 years old
  • Be in good health (unexposed/free from coronavirus)
  • Cycle (outdoors or indoors) at least 4 hours per week
  • Have your own clip-in pedals and shoes

The study consists of one, 2-hour session at CU Boulder. This experiment is completely non-invasive.

You will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card as compensation for taking part in the study.

If you are interested in participating, please contact culocomotionlab@gmail.com.

Study on fear of spiders

The CU Boulder Psychology Department is looking for adults aged 18-40 to participate in a study about attitudes towards spiders, which requires looking at various spider stimuli. This is a paid research study that consists of one 4-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

If you're interested, please email alex.kirk@colorado.edu for more information. 

Neurophysiology research

The Neurophysiology of Movement Laboratory, located on the CU Boulder Main Campus, is conducting a study to evaluate the influence of light electric al stimulation on walking capabilities. 

Subject requirements:

  • 40–65 years of age
  • Free from neurological impairments
  • No recent lower body injuries
  • Able to walk for 6 minutes unaided

The study will involve two visits (~1.5 hours each). We will apply mild electrical stimulation (TENS device) to your legs and assess your walking capabilities. Participants will be paid $50 at the end of the second session. 

If interested, please contact Joey Carzoli and joseph.carzoli@colorado.edu or 303-492-4975. 

Study on chronic kidney disease

The Integrative Physiology of Aging Lab at the CU Boulder campus is seeking volunteers to participate in a clinical research study. We are looking for women and men with mild to moderate chronic kidney disease, ages 30–80, who are willing to consume one dose (approximately one-third cup) of beetroot juice every day for approximately three months. Benefits for volunteers include: cardiovascular health assessment, VO2max test, body composition, blood chemistry tests and compensation for time.

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

Night shift, health research

We are seeking participants for a study of how shift work impacts your physical health. We will examine the amount of energy you expend and changes in blood sugar and insulin.

Am I eligible? You are eligible to participate in this research study if you: 

  • Are a healthy adult between the ages of 18 and 45
  • Working at least four night shifts per month and working full time (equal to or greater than 35 hours per week)
  • No illicit drug use
  • Not pregnant or nursing
  • No children in the home under 1 year old
  • Free of neurological or medical condition, like Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease

What does my participation entail? This two-week study requires two visits to our Clinical Translational Research Center (CTRC) on the Main Campus at Ramaley Biology Building, Boulder, CO 80309. The study will involve a physical health assessment (including blood draws), questionnaires, repeated urine sample collection, wearable sensors, a daily log and use of a mobile app.

We follow all recommended CDC, state, and university safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Will I get paid? You will be compensated $200 for your participation.

What are the next steps? Please fill out a brief survey to see if you qualify! Have a question? Please contact us at pathways-study@colorado.edu.

Want to see what your brain looks like?

The Intermountain Neuorimaging Consortium (INC) is a brain imaging research facility in the Institute of Cognitive Science at CU Boulder. They use MRI scans to study how the brain works and how the brain changes across the lifespan. They currently have six to seven studies that are looking for participants from a range of ages across the Denver metro area. 

Learn More & Enroll

Study on moods and the brain

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 (two to three hours each at $20 per hour). Visit 1 will take place remotely via Zoom video call.
  • Visit 2 – fMRI Scan: View videos and pictures, and think about emotions while in a brain imaging scanner; complete computer tasks and questionnaires (two hours at $25 per hour and picture of your brain).
  • Opportunities to participate in paid follow-up surveys may also 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? Please email gruberpeplab@colorado.edu with the subject line “MASC Emotion Study,” or give us a call at 512-956-7371. 

Eye tracking study

We are seeking participants for a study of eye movements and brain activity during learning.

Am I eligible? You are eligible to participant in this research study if you: 

  • Currently reside in the Boulder area
  • Are at least 18 years of age
  • Are fluent in English
  • Have not previously taken part in the Online Learning study with our lab 
  • Are in good health
  • Have no history of seizures
  • Have normal or corrected-to-normal vision
  • Are proficient with computers

What does my participation entail? The study requires one visit of approximately two hours to the lab on East Campus (1777 Exposition Drive, Boulder, CO 80309—see COVID-19 safety procedures below), plus one 30-minute follow-up questionnaire to be completed online.

The first visit will involve having your eye movements, physiological responses (e.g., heart rate), video of your face/upper body, and brain activity non-invasively recorded while you complete a computer-based reading task and answer several questionnaires. It will take approximately two hours and you will be paid $20 per hour, for a total of $40. About a week later, you will complete a 30-minute online survey; upon completion you will receive an additional $10. 

What are the COVID-related safety procedures? We will take utmost care to ensure your safety for the duration of the visit, with stringent procedures approved by CU administration. 

  • We provide masks, hand-washing stations and temperature checks on arrival
  • All occupants of the building are required to wear a mask at all times
  • All equipment is sterilized between uses with medical-grade disinfectant
  • You will be alone in the testing room for most of the study (a researcher will run the session from an adjacent room, instructing you via video conference)
  • Only three people will be in the facility at a time (<25% occupancy)

How will I get paid? Payment will be via an Amazon gift card. 

What are the next steps? If you are interested in participating, please contact us at eyemindlink@gmail.com.

Online mock employment interview study

A team of researchers at CU and Purdue University are studying automated video interviews. Automated video interviews are increasingly being adopted by organizations and use computers to automatically screen job applicants. They seek to collect data to determine whether such technology can reliably, accurately and fairly assess job applicants.

They are recruiting undergraduates to participate in a mock video interview (approved Purdue University IRB protocol # IRB-2019-56; University of Colorado IRB protocol # 19-0562). The study consists of common selection tests (i.e., personality and cognitive ability tests) and an asynchronous mock interview. 

The study takes about 45 minutes to complete, on average. Full participation requires that you have a webcam (recording both video and audio) and laptop or desktop computer. By participating, you will gain experience on selection tests and automated interviews. For completing all components of the study, you will be compensated with a $10 Amazon gift card.

If you wish to participate, please follow the study link or copy and paste the address into your browser (we suggest you use Chrome or Firefox): https://purdue.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eE4OvqflOB7Z9MV

If you have any questions or concerns, feel welcome to contact Louis Hickman, PhD candidate, at lchickma@purdue.edu.

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 of collaboration

The Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Computing Lab at CU Boulder is looking for participants for a study of collaboration. 

You are eligible to participant in this research study if you:

  • Are a CU Boulder student at least 18 years of age
  • Speak English
  • Do not have significant and uncorrected vision impairments
  • Have not previously played Physics Playground or a similar game (e.g., Crayon Physics Deluxe, Magic Pen) for more than an hour

The study contains will take place online via Zoom and will last approximately 90 minutes. You will be compensated with a $25 Amazon gift card.

If you are interested in participating, please contact us at emotivecomputing.cps2@gmail.com for more information.

Study on cognition, emotions, resilience in teens

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, contact our lab directly at 303-735-8306 or email us at raddlab@colorado.edu

Study on female menstrual cycle

Andrew M. Novick and his team at CU are investigating ratings of digital images (pleasant, unpleasant, neutral and erotic) across the female menstrual cycle.

Study participation consists of two study sessions (done online) over the course of two months. These visits will consist of: questionnaires about your mood and some stressful life events, and rating of digital images (how pleasant/unpleasant and arousing/non-arousing you find these images).

Participation is not limited to members of CU. You may be eligible if you are:

  • Between 18–35 years old
  • Not taking hormonal birth control
  • Have regular periods
  • Not pregnant and not planning to become pregnant within the next two months

Participation in the study is voluntary. Eligible participants will receive compensation via e-gift cards for completing study activities.

If you are interested in learning more or to see if you qualify, please fill out this short eligibility survey.

Study on male sex hormones

Andrew M. Novick’s team at the University of Colorado is looking for men to participate in a study of how biological sex and sex hormones, like testosterone or estrogen, may influence stress, mood, social relationships and perceptions during these unusual times. The survey is online and includes questions about your health, mood, relationships and history. The study takes about 30 minutes to complete and can be done at any time.

Upon completing the study, you will have the option of entering a lottery with a 1/15 chance of winning $50 via your choice of an Amazon or Target e-gift card.

You may be eligible to participate if:

  • You are a man
  • You are 18-40 years old
  • You do not have children
  • You are generally healthy

Learn more or see if you qualify, or email anna.belyavskaya@cuanschutz.edu if you have any questions.

This research study has been approved by the Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board (COMIRB #20-1583). 

Study on motivation, attention, memory

We are currently recruiting women and men ages 18–25 years for a research study investigating relationships between motivation, attention and memory in the brain using fMRI neuroimaging and TMS neurostimulation. Your involvement in the study will involve a brief screening (online or by telephone) to ensure eligibility.

You will receive between $15–25 per hour for your participation with the potential of winning additional bonus money. Get more information or complete an initial screening.