Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)

Sanford Research offers the SPUR program, which provides opportunities for undergraduate students interested in science careers to participate in laboratory research. This dynamic summer program allows 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.

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

Summer Program Details

  • The program schedule is 10 weeks from June 4 – August 10, 2018. 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. Research opportunities are also available at Augustana University.
  • 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 $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 program. 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.

How to Apply

Please click on the link below to complete the application. In addition to your completed application, all applicants must request an official transcript (one from each college attended) and two letters of recommendation to complete your application packet. Only sealed or electronic transcripts from the school will be accepted. You must arrange for transcripts from all institutions you have taken college level courses. 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. Late applications will not be considered and all information is due by Thursday, February 1. 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

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.

2019 Application will be available late fall

Program Mentors

For more information, please contact Undergraduate Research.