SURF Frequently Asked Questions

  • To gain valuable research experience
  • To prepare for a research career in the biomedical sciences
  • To learn about opportunities available at the end of your undergraduate education
  • To earn money over the summer

What type of training will I receive? 

  • Hands-on training in the use of state-of-the-art laboratory instrumentation 
  • Instruction in research issues and practices such as scientific ethics, safety, laboratory notebook keeping, scientific literature searching, presentation of research results, and scientific writing

Where does the program take place?

  • Students work in RI-INBRE faculty laboratories at the URI or Brown University (and its related affiliates).
  • Summer research opportunities are also available at Bryant University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, and Salve Regina University for students enrolled in these institutions. 

How long does the program last?
The program is 10-weeks long (generally from mid-May to the mid-August)

What do I need to apply? 
You will need the following items to apply, and we advise you to draft them in advance and save them as individual PDF files. Please ask letter writers for their letters of recommendation in advance. Required items:

  • One-page professional resume
  • Unofficial transcript to include the most current semester’s grades
  • Personal statement
  • One letter of recommendation

Can I work in another lab or have another job at the University of Rhode Island?
Yes, but the University of Rhode Island will only allow you to have two positions during the summer. 


  • A parking pass is not required for students in the summer at URI 
  • Parking is only allowed in designated student overnight and commuter lots and on Flagg Road

Is a meal-plan available?

  • URI does not offer a summer meal program. A summer dining hall schedule is posted online.
  • There are various restaurants on and around the URI campus
  • Meal plan availability varies at the other institutions

Can I apply if I previously graduated from a college, university, or higher education institution, or if I am earning another degree in a different area of study?

  • No, the program is for undergraduate students only
  • Applicants cannot have previously earned an undergraduate or professional degree in the U.S. or elsewhere

What are the eligibility requirements for the Research Fellowship at URI and Brown University?

  • Applicants must be enrolled in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) major (or a related major)
  • Applicants from the Community College of Rhode Island are strongly encouraged to apply
  • Students enrolled at Bryant University, Johnson and Wales University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, and Salve Regina University are strongly encouraged to apply

What are the eligibility requirements for the Research Fellowship at Bryant University, Johnson and Wales University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, and Salve Regina University?

  • Only matriculating students enrolled at these colleges may apply for the available fellowships at these institutions
  • Each institution may have its own eligibility requirements for research fellows at their respective institutions

Will this program help me get into the College of Pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island?

  • Although the RI-INBRE Program is housed in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island, participation in this program will have no effect, positive or negative, on your application to the College of Pharmacy
  • The RI-INBRE Program operates independently of the College of Pharmacy and as such, plays no role in the selection of candidates for admission to the college

How can I get an application and what is the deadline?
Visit our website for application and deadline information.

Can I request a specific mentor to work with? 
A student is matched with a mentor based on the type of research they are interested in. Requests for mentors can be made but not guaranteed due to the high number of applicants received. You can find more information on our SURF Mentors site.

What types of research projects are available?
The scientific themes for the research projects include, but are not limited to:

  • BIOTECHNOLOGY: biomaterials, biophysics, medical sciences, etc.
  • CANCER: cancer therapy, DNA damage and repair, etc.
  • BIOLOGY: computational biology, genomics, human genetic disease, immunoinformatics, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, structural biology, etc.
  • CHEMISTRY: chemistry, chemical biology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, etc.
  • PHARMACY: drug delivery, drug metabolism, natural product synthesis, pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacology, etc.
  • NEUROSCIENCE: neuroscience, neurogenetics, etc.
  • ENGINEERING & RELATED SCIENCES: imaging, machine learning, nanomedicine, nanotechnology, signal processing, etc.
  • HEALTH SCIENCES: communicative disorders, human development/family science, nutrition, clinical psychology, etc.

How much will I earn in the program?
Research fellows will work up to 35 hours per week. Hours are flexible, but will typically be between 8am – 5pm, Monday through Friday. A total of $5,400 for the 10-week program may be earned. Payroll taxes are deducted from this income.

Can I receive course credit (e.g. internship or independent study credit) during the program?
No, students who are paid to do research in the SURF program are ineligible for course credit.

Will I still be paid if I drop out of the program before it is completed?
If you drop out of the program, then you are no longer performing research and will not be paid or receive other benefits (such as housing, if applicable).

What do students that have participated in the program have to say about their experience?

  • “The most important aspect of the program was the friendliness of the faculty. I was surprised to find that all of the mentors in the program, not just my own, made an effort to get to know who I was and what I was researching, this made me feel like I was part of a program that was very different from other summer research programs that I had attended in the past.” – Fongman Wu, University of Rhode Island
  • “The RI-INBRE Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the University of Rhode Island gave me the opportunity to explore the realm of scientific research. The best part of the program is the fact that it is 99% hands-on. From day one, I began to learn various laboratory techniques that allowed me to successfully complete my summer project. The faculty mentors, as well as the RI-INBRE support staff, were truly outstanding, helping to ensure that my research experience was all I had hoped for. As a two-time participant, I highly recommend this program to anyone with an interest in science.” – Mike Hanley, University of Rhode Island
  • “My time last summer was incredible and, even though I was working over at the VA, I loved the programs, the faculty, and the independence I was given. It definitely convinced me that I wanted to participate in research for my career; as a result, I am going to start my PhD at Duke next year in Immunology!” – Deirdre Fuller, William & Mary College
  • “I was able to leave URI with a wealth of hands-on research experience that has helped me towards other research projects at school and other facilities!” – Daniel Contreras, Northeastern University
  • “I am just starting my internship at the University of California Berkley and I am off to a great start. The RI-INBRE summer program provided me with a wonderful opportunity to conduct research within a real lab. This experience was enriching and allowed me to have a glimpse of what graduate school may consist of. I learned some new laboratory techniques, such as an ELISA. I also learned how to network with my peers, maintain a laboratory notebook, and present my research. I had a wonderful experience not only in the lab but also in Rhode Island with the other students!” – Kristina Harris, Simmons College
  • “The following semester, I breezed through my lab experiments because of the skills I had learned during the program. My professor let me work as his assistant and I was able to help other students out a great deal. My professor was also very impressed with my laboratory notebook due to how I had learned to prepare one for my mentor. Overall the experience was absolutely wonderful and it only helped me to become better in the laboratory.” – Roylisha Jackson, Southern University and A&M College

How to I cite my fellowship on my CV?
Undergraduate Research Fellow, RI-INBRE Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program             
(Start date – end date) Month Year – Month Year
(Institution, City, State) University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
Mentor: Dr. (full first and last names) 
Project Title: (obtain this from your mentor)

Where can I find information on things to do, during my free time?
There are lots of sights, activities, and miles of local beaches within minutes of the URI campus

  • Discover Newport across the bay
  • Block Island Ferry, a 20 minute ride from URI 
  • Southern RI beaches are 15 minutes away
  • World renown theater and art in Providence and Newport
  • WaterFire in Providence 
  • For more ideas and information see “Visit Rhode Island” online
  • The URI Kingston campus is 35 minutes from Providence, Boston is approximately a 2-hour drive, and New York City is less than 4 hours away
  • Bus transportation is readily available from the URI campus for these and other activities. Train transportation is less than 10 minutes away