Summer Research Support on Campus in Biology

Summer support on campus comes in three forms:

  1. From a faculty member's grant to support research on a specific project.

  2. From funds given to the College (by foundations, individuals, or groups) in order to provide students with research experiences. These opportunities are sometimes open to almost anyone and sometimes are directed, according to the wishes of the donor, to support a specific type or location of research.

  3. From grants to one or a group of faculty members to support research training in a particular field (for example, Howard Hughes Fellowships, Beckman Fellowships, or ALSAM Fellowships). Most fellowships offer $2,500 – $4,000, sometimes with free housing in a dorm.

The Charles Center has several kinds of summer fellowships applicable to students interested in biology. All require that the student be returning in the fall semester, and all have deadlines around late February. You can apply for more than one fellowship to carry out your summer research, but may be limited to accepting only one such fellowship.

Proposals are generally written by the student with extensive guidance (often including the choice of topic) from the faculty mentor. Students must make sure they have a professor who can and will supervise the project. It is not necessary (but is appropriate and a good idea) to have a professor read and comment on draft proposals and help with revisions. The proposal submitted should be the student’s own written work.

The Biology Department usually can offer additional sources of support.  Sometimes there is money available through specific programs (e.g., funded by companies such as Merck or Beckman) providing support for students doing summer research. The application deadlines for these kinds of support are generally between February and April, and announcements are usually posted and/or emailed to Biology majors.

In some summers the Llanso-Sherman Award ($2,000) is available to support biomedical research in biology. This award is specifically for fields related to medicine, and the fellowship rotates through several science departments, so it is not available in biology every year. Interested students should check with faculty and determine who might be available as a supervisor. The application process begins with a letter of nomination from a professor.