Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) and NSF REU Site in Cellular and Molecular Biology

Sanford Research offers the SPUR program and the NSF REU Site in Cellular and Molecular Biology, which provide opportunities for undergraduate students interested in research careers to participate in laboratory research. These dynamic summer programs allow students to apply their classroom knowledge by working in a laboratory under the supervision of a principal investigator and interacting with research teams that include graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. In addition to obtaining research experience in state-of-the-art facilities, participants attend weekly career and professional development workshops, as well as build their presentation and communication skills through scientific presentations. Students benefit from the collegial and interactive research environment and enjoy the social community in Sioux Falls, a small city with an abundance of dining, shopping, sporting events, and entertainment.

Summer Program Details

  • The program schedule is 10 weeks from June 3 – August 9, 2019. Participants must commit to working the entire ten weeks, with the exception of the July 4th holiday, and participate in all program workshops.
  • Participants work under the direct supervision of a Sanford Research mentor as part of the mentor’s research team.
  • Participants prepare and present a short project proposal at the beginning of the program and a poster describing their research results in a symposium at the conclusion of the program.
  • Participants attend weekly workshops geared toward career preparation and professional development, including topics such as ethics in research, science career opportunities, and applying to graduate school.
  • Students have the opportunity to attend regular research seminars and participate in a weekly GRE preparation course.
  • Students engage in outreach activities to bring science to the local community.
  • Social activities are organized to enable casual interaction with other participants and mentors.
  • A stipend of $5,750 is provided to each student.
  • Participants live free-of-charge on the Augustana University campus in Sioux Falls.

Student Eligibility

Any college student majoring in the life sciences is eligible to apply for the SPUR and NSF REU programs. Applicants should be in their freshman, sophomore, or junior year at the time of application and should be interested in exploring careers in research and graduate school opportunities.

Students who attend institutions that do not have substantial research opportunities and students who are underrepresented in the biological sciences (including underrepresented minorities, first-generation college students, individuals from lower income backgrounds, students with disabilities, and Veterans or members of the Armed Services) are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply

Please click on the link below to complete the common application for the SPUR and REU programs. In addition to the online application, all applicants must request the following to complete their application:

  • An official transcript from each college the applicant has attended or taken college-level courses. Only official transcripts that are sealed or sent electronically directly from the school will be accepted.
  • Two letters of recommendation, at least one of which must be from a college professor. If letters of recommendation are sent via email, they must be sent from the author's email.

An application will not be considered complete until the application, letters of recommendation, and transcript(s) have been received. Transcripts and letters of recommendation can be emailed to or mailed to:

Sanford Research
Attn: Tamara Ledeboer, Route 5031
2301 East 60th Street North
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

The application deadline is Friday, February 1. All materials must be received by the deadline, and late applications will not be considered.

Program Application

Program Mentors

Contact Information

For questions about the program or the application process, or for inquiries about research opportunities during the academic year, please contact Undergraduate Research. or 605-312-6590.