Biological Undergraduate Research Skills & Training (BURST)

BURST Photo

BURST supports undergraduate students in gaining an entry-level research experience. Students who receive funding through this program work on biomedical/bioscience projects under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Preference for awards is given to sophomores and juniors.

BURST awards are given out in two cycles, one for the academic year, and one for the summer. Students are paid an hourly wage of $9.00. They may earn up to the amount of their award. Typically, these amounts are $2,000 - $2,500 for the academic year (10-12 hours per week), or $2,500 for the summer (30-40 hours per week). BURST does not provide an allowance for supplies, equipment, travel, or other research expenses.

  • Undergraduates currently enrolled in a degree-seeking (Bachelor's) program at the University of Colorado Boulder.
  • Students must take at least 12 credits per semester during academic year BURST awards and at least 12 credits in each of the semesters before and after summer BURST awards.
  • Students must have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA.
  • Students who will graduate before or plan to graduate during the term of the award are not eligible (This includes students graduating in May of the academic year for academic year BURST awards and students graduating in August for summer BURST awards).
  • Students are not expected to have prior experience in bioscience research.
  • Students must not have received a BURST or a UROP grant before (UROP Assistantships okay).
  • Students with or without work-study are eligible for this program.
  • Students may not receive independent study credit for the same research position during the term of the award

Step One: Download an application.

Step Two: Find a faculty mentor whose lab you will work in and who will oversee your research project. BURST funds will not be granted to students without a faculty mentor. Faculty mentors can be from any department on the CU Boulder Campus or CU Anschutz Medical campus, but BURST funds only biology-related projects that involve hands-on laboratory or field research.

Step Three: Complete an application with the assistance of your faculty mentor. Be sure that both the student and faculty mentor sign the final page. Submit your completed application by the deadline on the application. Incomplete applications and applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered for funding.

Students in the BURST program are required to attend the professional development workshops and activities sponsored by BSI, and these sessions are scheduled around the participants’ course schedules as much as possible. These workshops are designed to enhance student training and enrich the research experience for students who have little or no previous research experience.

Current Schedule*

  • Session 1 - Program information, lab orientation, maintaining a lab notebook, experimental design, reading journal articles, and safety
  • Session 2 - How to make presentations of your research
  • Session 3 - Brainstorming and strategies for writing scientific proposals; information about CU’s UROP program for students wishing to continue their research after BURST
  • Session 4 - Troubleshooting and finalizing scientific proposals
  • Session 5 – Student Presentations of their research

*Seminar topics subject to change.

Other optional informational sessions may be offered during the program as well.

This training, mandatory for all graduate students and post-docs who oversee the day-to-day training of undergraduates, is designed to create a meaningful mentor/mentee relationship and to foster a more productive working relationship. The Mentor Training is facilitated by faculty and the BSI staff.

Participants are provided information on designing meaningful research projects for undergraduates and on orienting their mentees to the lab. In addition, mentors will receive strategies for working with students; will receive tips for issue management and conflict resolution; and will receive information on campus resources.

We encourage faculty to attend.