Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) and NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

National Science Foundation

Sanford Research offers the SPUR and National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site programs, which provide opportunities for undergraduate students 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 workshops geared toward career preparation, such as ethics in research, science career opportunities, and applying to graduate school.  Students may also opt to participate in a weekly GRE preparation workshop offered as part of the program.  To facilitate development of presentation and scientific communication skills, students present a short oral presentation on their proposed project at the beginning of the program, as well as share their research results at a poster symposium at the end of the summer.  Students benefit from a 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.

In addition to summer programs, research opportunities are also available during the academic year.  Please contact to inquire.

Summer Program Details

  • The program schedule is 10 weeks from June 6 – August 12, 2016.  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 participating Sanford Research mentor and interact with a research team that may include graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.  Research opportunities are also available at Augustana University.
  • At the end of the second week, participants prepare and present a short proposal describing their project hypotheses and aims, which they will develop through discussions with their research mentors.
  • Participants present a poster outlining their research results in a symposium at the conclusion of the program.
  • Participants attend weekly career development workshops and regular research seminars.
  • Social activities are organized to enable casual interaction with other participants.
  • A salary of $5000 is provided to each student.
  • Participants live free-of-charge in a common dormitory on the Augustana University campus. 

Student Eligibility

Any college student majoring in the biological or chemical 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/or students who are underrepresented in the biological sciences (including underrepresented minorities, first-generation college students, individuals from lower income backgrounds, and Veterans or members of the Armed Services) are encouraged to apply. NSF REU participants must be United States citizens. 

How to Apply

There is a common application for the SPUR and NSF REU summer programs. Please complete and submit the application below and provide a copy of your official transcripts and two letters of recommendation. An application will not be considered complete until the application form, letters of reference, and transcript(s) have been received. Late applications will not be considered. Letters of recommendation should be sent by the referees to Transcripts must be provided from each college you have attended, and only official transcripts will be accepted. Schools can email the official electronic transcript to or mail to:

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

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

Program Application: 2016 Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) application

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Faculty Research Interests

Summer research opportunities are also available at Augustana University:

Contact us regarding SPUR/REU: 

Telephone: 605-312-6590