Illinois logo MCB The Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology

School of MCB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships

Each Summer, MCB is able to award a number of Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURFS) ranging from $2500 to $5000 thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends. Continuing undergraduate students interested in applying for a SURF through the School of MCB, Departments of Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology and Microbiology, should apply using the common application form, which will open on January 13, 2020. The deadline for submission is 5:00 PM on Friday, February 14, 2020. No late submissions will be accepted. Students may be eligible for multiple fellowships, but each student may accept only one per summer. Basic eligibility requirements can be found below, but some donor sponsored fellowships may have additional requirements, including minimum GPA, gender specificity or departmental lab specificity. Applicants will be reviewed for all fellowships for which they are eligible.

MCB is dedicated to increasing the participation of underrepresented populations in research and actively encourages applications from these groups. Students currently receiving financial aid or other scholarships should be sure to check with a financial aid officer to understand how accepting a fellowship might affect other awards.

The application must be completed in its entirety and submitted prior to the deadline of 5:00 PM on February 14 for full consideration. Requirements to complete this application are listed below. All documents (excluding the P.I. nomination letter) should be saved as one single PDF before uploading. Students are responsible for ensuring that the submitted proposal conforms to all of the formatting requirements and instructions. The online submission system will NOT notify you if your application fails to conform to the formatting guidelines. As such, students are strongly encouraged to review their proposals before submitting. Applications that fail to conform to the formatting requirements and instructions will not be considered.

Please be sure to click SUBMIT to complete your application. If you simply SAVE AND FINISH LATER, we will NOT get your submission and you will NOT be eligible for any of the fellowships. You should receive an email confirmation, which includes your responses after clicking submit (check spam folders). Please save this email for your records. If you do not receive an email confirmation, then your submission did not go through and you should try again. Problems ensued after a 2nd attempt should be reported to Tina Knox at tmknox@illinois.edu

SURF proposals will be evaluated using a rubric that incorporates the strength of the proposal, the letter of recommendation from the advisor, the student’s GPA, and the number of semesters that the applicant has been conducting research in their current laboratory. Applications that fail to follow the formatting guidelines or are incomplete, including the advisor’s letter of recommendation, after the submission deadline will not be considered. While transdisciplinary projects are encouraged, the proposed summer research project must include the study of biological problems at a molecular and cellular level.

Students selected for a fellowship will be notified on or after March 13, 2020, but no later than March 27, 2020. Students cannot accept more than one School of MCB research fellowship per summer.

Requirements for Common Application
  1. One-page proposal (excluding any necessary references) of research to be conducted. The proposal should be typed using 11-point Arial font (or equivalent), single-spaced with 0.5-inch margins on all sides and include a title/topic of research project. It should describe the overall goals and objective of the project along with the specific research that will be undertaken by the student. This document should be an original and professional document prepared by the student with input from the principal investigator (P.I.) of the laboratory.
  2. Current CV/Resume for applicant.
  3. Unofficial undergraduate transcript available from Enterprise Student Self-Service (Registration and Records/Student Records and Transcripts/View Academic History).
  4. Nomination letter from Principal Investigator (PI) supporting the applicant's research, uploaded as a PDF at the following site, by the 5:00 PM, February 14 deadline.

Basic Eligibility Requirements for MCB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships:

  • Must be an officially declared Biology, MCB or Biochemistry major for the semester immediately preceding the fellowship.
  • Must be continuing as an MCB or Biochemistry major in the fall semester following receipt of the fellowship. Students graduating in May are not eligible.
  • Must be conducting MCB 290 or BIOC 290 research in an approved lab during the preceding spring semester or have written approval of the faculty research advisor to participate in a summer research fellowship in their lab.
  • Student must agree to continue their research project for course credit during the following fall and, if applicable, spring semester and submit a senior thesis prior to graduation.
  • The recipient cannot accept more than one School of MCB research fellowship per summer.