Published: March 2, 2021

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 first-year mental health during COVID-19

How is your herd’s mental health? We want 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. 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 we will send you a survey link to complete at your convenience.

Study investigating the Mindful Campus Program

The Crown Institute is seeking current CU undergraduates off all majors and backgrounds to participate in a research study investigating the Mindful Campus Program, an 8-week course designed to promote mindfulness, compassion and community engagement. 

You can earn up to $125 by participating in this study.

Participants will attend eight 90-minute Zoom sessions, complete surveys at three time points, and participate in focus groups to give feedback on the Mindful Campus Program. You must be 18 years old or older to participate. The IRB protocol number for this study is 21-0001. 

By participating in this research, you will not only have the opportunity to learn and practice in a community setting, but also you may contribute to the creation of programs and policies to support undergraduate wellness at CU Boulder. Please reach out if you’re interested in learning about sections of the Mindful Campus course specifically for BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ students. 

Please send an email to mindfulcampus@colorado.edu if you’re interested in learning more or complete the interest form.

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 campus-based programs may foster wellness. 

The study includes a few different parts: 

  • Everyone in the study will answer a set of electronic surveys and participate in two phone interviews over the course of one year.
  • Some qualifying participants will have the option to complete an in-person research visit, which includes an interview about life experiences, a set of computer games and a neuroimaging scan. 

The study takes place over the course of a year, and you will be compensated for your participation (maximum of $130 to $332 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 webscreen

Study of Black engineering students’ experiences

Black engineering students who are currently or were previously enrolled in engineering are invited to participate in a research study about Black engineering students’ experiences while studying engineering. This study aims to understand the practices, interactions and factors that influence Black engineering students’ decisions to persist/stay in their engineering major and the factors that influence their decisions to leave their engineering major.

The study includes two 1-2 hour interviews designed to understand how students’ perceptions of interactions with peers, staff and faculty within the college of engineering influence Black students’ decisions to stay or switch out of engineering and two follow-up review sessions (one after each interview). The study seeks to account for students’ decisions to stay in their major or switch out of engineering, by understanding how their experience of different kinds of interactions shape their decisions.

This study aims to learn about ways to improve the engineering environment to support the retention of Black engineering students.

Research participants who switched to a major outside of engineering will be compensated with a $20 gift card.

Thank you for considering my request for your participation. Please contact Tanya Ennis by emailing tanya.ennis@colorado.edu to participate.

Study on collaborative learning games

The Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Computing Lab at CU Boulder invites you to participate in a study of collaboration. You are eligible to participate if you are a CU Boulder student, at least 18 years of age, speak English, do not have significant and uncorrected vision impairments, and have not previously played Physics Playground or a similar game (e.g., Crayon Physics Deluxe, Magic Pen) for more than an hour.

The study will take place over Zoom and will last approximately two hours. You will be compensated with a $30 Amazon gift card.

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


For adults

Study on social anxiety

Researchers are seeking socially anxious individuals to participate in a study of factors that contribute to social anxiety, as well as the impact of expressive writing about social anxiety-provoking experiences. The study includes a 1½–2 hour initial visit (completed in person or online) and a 30-minute follow-up survey (completed online).

You will be paid up to $45 for your time, with payments made in Amazon or Visa gift cards. This opportunity is available to the public.

You may be eligible to participate if:

  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You are fluent in English
  • You are socially anxious

See if you qualify by completing a brief and anonymous screening survey, or email margaret.tobias@colorado.edu for more information.

This research study has been approved by the CU Boulder Institutional Review Board (Protocol #20-0370).

Daylight saving time sleep study

Looking for individuals, ages 18–65, to participate in the daylight saving time study with CU Boulder.

You will be able to continue your normal activities during the 18 days of at-home monitoring beginning on March 5. We only ask that you not stay up all night. If you wear the sleep watch for the 18 days and complete the daily sleep diary and weekly sleep questionnaire, you will be compensated up to $60.

Email sleep.study@colorado.edu for details. Ask about the “Daylight Saving Time” study.

Primary Investigator: Kenneth Wright Jr., PhD

Cardiovascular research study

The Integrative Physiology of Aging Laboratory is looking for volunteers (ages 60-plus) who are willing to undergo a three-month period taking MitoQ or placebo pills to study the potential healthy aging effects of MitoQ, an antioxidant that is attracted to the mitochondria of cells, supplementation on physiological function.  

Benefits include:

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

If interested, call 303-735-6410 or email mitoqstudy@colorado.edu.

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 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 1 will take place remotely in the form of a Zoom video call.
  • 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 also may be available.

For Aims 1–3: To qualify, you must be between the ages of 18 and 55 years old and have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

For Aim 4: To qualify, you must be between the ages of 18 and 25 years old.

Please fill out a brief survey to apply.

Have a question? Please email gruberpeplab@colorado.edu with the subject line “MASC Bipolar Study,” or give us a call at 512-956-7371. 

Video game study

The Emotive Computing Lab at CU Boulder is looking for participants for a study of an educational video game called Physics Playground.

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

  • Are 18–22 years old
  • Are fluent in English
  • Have access to the internet, a computer, a webcam and the Firefox browser

In this study you would first answer some questions about your pre-existing knowledge, then you would play the game Physics Playground for about an hour. After you are done playing the game, you would answer some more questions. 

In return for your participation, you would receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card

If you are interested in participating, please contact us at physicsplaygroundschoolstudy@gmail.com to schedule a time.

Study on perception for use in space flight

Do you want to participate in astronaut relevant research?

Are you healthy and between 30 and 55? We are looking for subjects like you! We are conducting research to investigate enhancing astronaut perception of sound, vision and touch.

The study will be scheduled for your availability. All subjects are compensated for their time. Email srstudy@colorado.edu for more information.

Study on team dynamics

CU Boulder is working with the University of California Irvine and the University of Notre Dame to understand what leads to effective, high-performing teams in the modern, digital age. 

Eligibility criteria

  • You are a member of a team or work group with size between 2 and 5 people (by team, we refer to a group of work colleagues with whom you closely interact on a specific project, or set of projects). Can be a work group at CU but is not required.
  • For teams or work groups with size of at least 3, the majority of your team (at least 3 members) must enroll.
  • You spend at least 10 hours/week with your team.
  • You have an iPhone running at least iOS 13 or an Android phone running at least v7.1.2.

What does participation entail?

  • No in-person visits, everything is done remotely.
  • Wear a fitness tracker (provided by us) as you go about your daily life that will measure your stress-related physiological responses.
  • Place one small Bluetooth beacon near your work space and run a background app on your phone, which will be used to track whether or not you are at your workspace (it will not track your exact position). Both the wearable and the beacon will be mailed to you.
  • Install a survey app and complete a 2–3 minute survey on the app each workday (Monday through Friday) for a 10-week period.
  • Complete a 20–30 minute survey at the beginning and at the end of the study.
  • Participate in a 15–30 minute interview during the study (conducted remotely) that will help us understand team success factors.

Earn $300 in total by completing the study (per person in the work group). Express your interest by completing this survey.

Study on blood pressure, cardiovascular health

The Integrative Physiology of Aging Laboratory is seeking paid research participants for a study investigating the potential healthy aging benefits of nicotinamide riboside on blood pressure and cardiovascular health.

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

  • Are at least 50 years of age
  • Are generally healthy and absent of clinical disease
  • Have above normal systolic blood pressure (>120 mmHg)
  • Are not taking blood-pressure medications
  • Are willing to take supplements (pills) for three months

What does my participation entail? The study requires multiple visits, over a period of 4-5 months, ranging from 30 to 120 minutes. Participants will receive a wide array of tests including a complete blood panel and blood pressure screening.

What are the next steps? If you are interested in participating, please contact us at nrstudy@colorado.edu. Participants will be compensated for their time.

Study of brain activity during game play

The SHINE Lab is seeking participants for a study of brain activity during game play.

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

  • Are able to visit our lab at CU Boulder
  • Are at least 18 years of age
  • Have no history of seizures
  • Are proficient with computers

What does my participation entail? The study requires one visit (2-3 hours) to the lab on East Campus (1777 Exposition Drive, Boulder, CO 80309).

You will play several games with others for money and complete a series of questionnaires. You will be paid $15/hour for participating and will have the opportunity to earn bonus money for your decisions. While playing the games, you will also wear a non-invasive brain measurement device called functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). fNIRS uses light to monitor blood flow in the brain. 

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 six people will be in the facility at a time (<50% occupancy).

How will I get paid? You will be paid in cash. 

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

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 studies

The Locomotion Lab of the Integrative Physiology Department at CU Boulder is recruiting participants for two research studies. 

Study on the effect of bicycle-rider geometry on cycling efficiency

These experiments are lab-based and involve a series of 5-minute cycling bouts on a level and inclined treadmill.

To be eligible for this study, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • In good health
  • Cycle (outdoors or indoors) at least 4 hours per week
  • BYO clip-in pedals and shoes

The study consists of two 2-hour sessions. This experiment is completely non-invasive.

Participants will receive one $25 Amazon gift card per session.

Study on the effect of bicycle saddle tilt on sprint, endurance cycling performance

The sprint testing will involve a series of 50-meter uphill sprints, which will take place outdoors. The endurance testing will involve a series of 5-minute bouts of cycling on a treadmill, which will take place in the CU Locomotion Laboratory in Clare Small Building 111c.

To be eligible for this study, you must:

  • Be between 18–49 years old
  • Be between 5'6"–6'2" tall
  • Be in good health (unexposed/free from coronavirus)
  • Cycle (outdoors or indoors) at least 4 hours per week
  • Have at least one year of road cycling experience
  • Have your own clip-in pedals and shoes

The study consists of two 2-hour sessions held on separate days (~4 hours total). This experiment is completely non-invasive. 

You will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card as compensation for completing each session.

If you are interested in participating in either of these studies, 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. 

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.

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

Eye tracking study

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

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

  • Are a student
  • Are at least 18 years of age
  • Are fluent in English
  • Have not previously taken part in a similar study with our lab (check if unsure)
  • 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 (2-3 hours) to the lab on East Campus (1777 Exposition Drive, Boulder, CO 80309), 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 2-3 hours and you will be paid $20 per hour. About a week later, you will complete a 30-minute online survey; upon completion you will receive an additional $10.

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, handwashing 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 six people will be in the facility at a time (less than 50% occupancy).

Payment will be via an Amazon gift card. If you are interested in participating, please contact us at eyemindlink@gmail.com.


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.

For kids

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