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Education / MCAT Review Course / Special Programs / SURF / Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the program?

The intent of this program is for you to experience first-hand what a career in biomedical research is like. You will work in a medical research lab on a funded research project, under the supervision of an experienced principal investigator (PI).

What kinds of research opportunities are available? 

UC COM and Cincinnati Children's Hospital offer a wide range of world class research expertise from which to choose. You can see the kind of research the faculty in each department and program are doing by visiting Graduate Program webpages or clicking on the "department" link on the very top banner of this site. 

As highly ranked research institutions, UC College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children's are equipped to place you in almost any area of biomedical research that interests you.

How many students do you accept each summer?

All told, each summer we bring in about 150 undergrads from all over the U.S.

Who is eligible to apply?

Undergraduate students (attending any college or university) who are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents of the U.S. are eligible to apply. You must be enrolled full or part time in a degree program leading to a baccalaureate or associate's degree. While Sophomores and Juniors are typically preferred, Freshmen and Seniors are also eligible.

Seniors are only eligible if after their SURF experience, they a) will not graduate for at least one more semester b) plan to do at least one semester of post-baccalaureate study prior to entering graduate or medical school, or c) intend to take a year off afterward graduation to prepare for graduate or medical school. 

Please be sure to explain these plans in your application. High school students who have not yet enrolled in college and students who have received their bachelor's degrees and are no longer enrolled as undergraduates or post-baccalaureates are not eligible.

What qualifications are needed?

Sophomores and Juniors who are majoring in the sciences (e.g.: Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, Physics, etc.) are preferred for summer fellowships in the College of Medicine. Previous research experience is beneficial because it makes you more competitive for a spot in a lab and it helps us know where to place you. 

In order to be competitive, students should have completed a year each in Biology and Chemistry. Completion of upper level science courses (e.g., Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Microbiology) is very helpful.

How do I apply?

Please fill out the online application by the deadline. As part of the application, you will be asked to provide contact information for two references.  If you have done any research (laboratory or clinical), the best person to provide a recommendation is any professor or investigator who oversaw your research experience. Also, be sure to describe your research experience in your application.  

When completing the essays, please be as specific as possible regarding your area of research interest and how you plan to use research in your future career. You do not need to send official transcripts, but you must upload your resume and a current grade report from your college.  

You may also upload any other documentation you feel would support your application, such as scientific papers, research papers, or other publications you have written.

Is there a specific form for the advisor/professor recommendation?

Not exactly. When you begin applying online, you will automatically receive an email with directions on how to review and revise your application prior to final submission. This email also will direct you to click on a link that will send a “reference request” email to the people you listed on your application. Your recommender will be able to submit a letter of recommendation via an online form, a .doc or .pdf file attached to an email, or snail mail.

Is there an application deadline?

Yes! Applications for summer research programs will be accepted until February 1 at 5:00 pm (EST). Please see the application instructions for information regarding submission of required documents. Due to the number and quality of applications we receive each year for a limited number of fellowship awards, we strongly encourage you to apply before the deadline for greatest consideration; many programs will begin filling positions as applications arrive.

How much is the stipend?

Summer stipends vary by program and by method of payment.  If paid as a stipend, the full amount is usually paid at week 5.  If paid as a salary, it is usually paid biweekly and payroll deductions apply.  For more information about stipend and payroll, please contact your program coordinator.  

  • GE, NEURO and ASPET SURF students will receive $4,000 (or $400 per week) for participating in the 10-week Summer 2014 program.
  • MSTP SURF students will receive $4000 stipend.
  • CCHMC SURF st

UC Cancer Center Grant Policy

There are a number of grants available through the UC Cancer Center. Find out more about the individual grant mechanisms, cycles and what each application entails by reviewing the UCCC Grant Policy.

UC Cancer Center Progress Report

Help provide the UC Cancer Center information about progress made in implementing research studies. This information will be used when considering extension requests and evaluating the submission of future proposals. Please send the completed report to the UC Cancer Center Grants Administrator Inbox at UCCIGrants@uc.edu.

UCCC Progress Report Form

Funding Opportunities

UC Cancer Center Survivorship Program Pilot Grant

Preliminary Grant Application (PGA) deadline has passed. Invited Applications ONLY will be due January 13, 2020

The Cancer Survivorship Program will offer two, two-year pilot grants of $50,000 each to facilitate research in adult and pediatric cancer survivorship. All UC, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and Cincinnati Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital Medical Center researchers with at least a 50 percent faculty appointment are eligible to apply for funding as the principal investigator (PI).Clinical and postdoctoral research fellows, instructors and research associates are also eligible to apply as the PI but will require their faculty adviser designated as the mentor. Investigators from other institutions may participate as co-investigators, and in such instances, the UC, Cincinnati Children's or VA faculty member should be the PI.

The research focus can span the observational, clinical/transnational research continuum including health services and health policy research. The application must address the assessment, prevention, management and/or intervention of issues that occur following the completion of active treatment of cancer (surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation). Topics may include risk assessment, early detection, prevention and management of treatment related effects, prognostic biomarkers, epidemiologic studies, delivery of survivorship care (care plans, models of delivery), health disparities relevant to survivorship, quality of life, organizational integration of survivorship care, and patient or health care provider education.

The research focus can span the observational, clinical/transnational research continuum including health services and health policy research. The application must address the assessment, prevention, management and/or intervention of issues that occur following the completion of active treatment of cancer (surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation). Topics may include risk assessment, early detection, prevention and management of treatment related effects, prognostic biomarkers, epidemiologic studies, delivery of survivorship care (care plans, models of delivery), health disparities relevant to survivorship, quality of life, organizational integration of survivorship care, and patient or health care provider education.

Congratulations to our 2018 Recipients:

  • Meghan McGrady, PhD
  • Lisa Privette-Vinnedge, PhD

For more information, contact Pat Woellert at patricia.woellert@uc.edu.

Marlene Harris-Ride Cincinnati Breast Cancer Pilot Grant Program

Application deadline is December 2, 2019.

The Marlene Harris – Ride Cincinnati supports innovative and novel pilot research projects in basic, translational, clinical and population-based research in all cancers. This pilot grant will award a total of $200,000. Applicants may request up to a maximum of $40,000. Grants will be awarded for the period of one (1) year. All UC and CCHMC faculty and medical professionals are eligible to apply for funding. Projects should have a strong scientific basis for development into peer-reviewed extramural support.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Increase collaborative interaction to foster innovative cancer research
  • Facilitate novel approaches in cancer research
  • Encourage entry of new investigators into cancer research
  • Facilitate the translation of laboratory findings into clinical interventions
  • All grants should have a strong scientific basis for potential development into peer-reviewed extramural funding.

For more information, contact UCCIGrants@uc.edu.

GIVE HOPE Pancreatic Cancer Research Pilot Grant

Applications are currently closed for this grant.
Congratulations to our 2019 Recipients:

  • Jordan Kharofa, MD
  • Nilinikanth Kotagiri, PhD

The purpose of this grant is to support basic lab-based research and clinical research and to increase community awareness about the importance of prevention and early detection. The GIVE HOPE Pancreatic Cancer Research and Awareness Fund is soliciting proposals for pancreatic cancer-related research pilot projects in basic, translational or clinical research. This pilot grant will offer two (2) grants of $50,000 each and will be awarded for the period of one (1) year. All full-time basic scientist affiliated with the University of Cincinnati are eligible to apply. Projects should have a strong scientific basis for development into peer-reviewed extramural support. A letter of Intent (LOI) is required and only selected LOIs will be invited to submit full applications.

For more information, contact UCCIGrants@uc.edu.

Steven Goldman Memorial Pancreatic Cancer Research Grant

Applications are currently closed for this grant.
Congratulations to our 2019 Recipients:

  • Vladimir Bogdanov, PhD

The purpose of the grant is to encourage research in the molecular genetics of cancer, tumor immunology, growth promoting factors of cancer, tumor virology that appears to have relevance to human cancers and other areas of basic cancer research. Research into therapeutic modalities, which help to elucidate, prove or disprove explanations or theories in the area of basic cancer research, may be supported. The grant may also be used to support work in techniques and methods, which may be helpful to investigators in basic cancer research. This pilot grant will offer one (1) grant of $54,000 and will be awarded for the period of one (1) year. All full-time basic scientist affiliated with the University of Cincinnati are eligible to apply. Projects should have a strong scientific basis for development into peer-reviewed extramural support.

The goals of the Steven Goldman Memorial Pancreatic Cancer Research Grant are to encourage:

  • Basic research in the area of cancer;
  • Projects seeking to determine the cause of cancer;
  • Projects that study the mechanisms by which cells undergo malignant transformation;
  • Study of the failure of the host to stop the spread and progression of the cancer.

For more information, contact UCCIGrants@uc.edu.

Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Research Pilot Grant

Applications are currently closed for this grant.
Congratulations to our 2019 Recipients:

  • Trisha Wise-Draper, MD, PhD

The Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Research Pilot Grant will support an innovative and novel pilot research project in basic, translational, clinical and population-based research in head & neck cancer.  It serves to facilitate research in head & neck cancer through interaction and collaboration of investigators and also to encourage the entry of new investigators into the field of head & neck cancer research. All types of basic or clinical research involving head and neck cancers will be considered. Priority will be given to those projects with the potential to lead to new clinical trials or to extramural funding, particularly those investigating “poorly differentiated” squamous cell carcinomas (SCC).

The goals of the Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Research Pilot Grant are to:

  • Increase collaborative interaction to foster innovative head & neck cancer research
  • Facilitate novel approaches in head & neck cancer research
  • Encourage entry of new investigators into head & neck cancer research
  • Facilitate the translation of laboratory findings into clinical interventions for head & neck cancer patients
  • Possess a strong scientific basis for potential development into peer-reviewed extramural funding

The Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Research Pilot Grant will offer one grant up to $25,000.  The grant will be awarded for a period of one (1) year with the possibility of renewal contingent upon adequate progress and availability of funds. All UC faculty and medical professionals are eligible to apply for funding. Clinical and postdoctoral research fellows, instructors and research associates are eligible to apply as co-investigators with their UC faculty advisor or mentor as the principal investigator (PI).

For more information, contact UCCIGrants@uc.edu.

Schaeper Cancer Research Fund’s Uterine Cancer Pilot Grant

Applications are currently closed for this grant.
Congratulations to our 2017 Recipients:

  • Xiaoting Zhang, PhD

The Schaeper Cancer Research Fund’s Pilot Grant will support an innovative and novel pilot research project in basic, translational, clinical and population-based research in uterine cancer.  Administered through the UC Cancer Center, it serves to facilitate research in uterine cancer through interaction and collaboration of investigators and also to encourage the entry of new investigators into the field of uterine cancer research. This $47,500 grant will be awarded for a period of one year.

The goals of the grant are to:

  • Increase collaborative interaction to foster innovative uterine cancer research
  • Facilitate novel approaches in uterine cancer research
  • Encourage entry of new investigators into uterine cancer research
  • Facilitate the translation of laboratory findings into clinical interventions for uterine cancer patients

Possess a strong scientific basis for potential development into peer-reviewed extramural funding

All UC faculty members and medical professionals are eligible to apply for funding. Clinical and postdoctoral research fellows, instructors and research associates are eligible to apply as co-investigators with their UC faculty advisor or mentor as the principal investigator (PI).

For more information, contact UCCIGrants@uc.edu.

Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Greater Cincinnati Pilot Grant

Applications are currently closed for this grant.
Congratulations to our 2017 Recipients:

  • Chunying Du, PhD

The Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Greater Cincinnati Pilot Grant supports innovative and novel pilot research projects in basic, translational, clinical and population-based research in ovarian cancer. Administered through UC Cancer Center, it serves to facilitate research in ovarian cancer through interaction and collaboration of investigators and also to encourage the entry of new investigators into the field of ovarian cancer research. This pilot grant will offer one (1) grant of $47,000 and will be awarded for the period of one (1) year. All UC faculty and medical professionals are eligible to apply for funding. Clinical and postdoctoral research fellows, instructors and research associates are eligible to apply as co-investigators with their UC faculty advisor or mentor as the principal investigator (PI). Projects should have a strong scientific basis for development into peer-reviewed extramural support. A letter of Intent (LOI) is required and only selected LOIs will be invited to submit full applications.

Goals of the Grant:

  • Increase collaborative interaction to foster innovative ovarian cancer research
  • Facilitate novel approaches in ovarian cancer research
  • Encourage entry of new investigators into ovarian cancer research
  • Facilitate the translation of laboratory findings into clinical interventions for ovarian cancer patients
  • Possess a strong scientific basis for potential development into peer-reviewed extramural funding

For more information, contact UCCIGrants@uc.edu.

Cancer Care Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR)/Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) Pilot Grant

Applications are currently closed for this grant.

Congratulations to our 2016 Recipients:

  • Rekha Chaudhary, MD

The purpose of the PCOR grant is to address the needs of patients, caregivers, clinicians and other health care stakeholders with research aimed at evaluating and comparing the implications and outcomes of two or more health care strategies to address cancer care. The UC Cancer Center will award one grant in the amount of $25,000 for a period of one year, with the possibility of a one year renewal, to a researcher with this project focus.

For more information, contact UCCIGrants@uc.edu.

Students will receive $350 per week for participating in the 9 or 10-week Summer 2014 program.

When do I start my internship?

Each SURF internship has an individual start date, so please consult the application form or, if necessary, contact your program of interest to make special arrangements. You will be expected to participate in laboratory work (or other program related activities) about eight hours a day, five days a week during your summer program session. 

Is housing available for SURF students?

UC Housing has extended special pricing for all SURF students (GE, NEURO, CCHMC, MSTP and ASPET) who wish to live in UC Housing. This year housing will be available at University Park Apartments. For assistance with reserving a space near other SURF students, please contact the SURF Program Coordinator at resgraed@uc.edu or 513-558-5626.

Apartments close to campus in the Clifton neighborhood usually run about $300-400/month for a one bedroom. Students who are residents of the Cincinnati area are not required to stay in the dorms.

What if I am not accepted? 

If you are not accepted into a fellowship program, you may still be able to secure a research opportunity at UC COM or CCHMC. We encourage you to contact any department or individual faculty member independently to inquire about available student work/study positions or a volunteer position in the lab for the summer.  

If you are here independently of the SURF Program this summer, please let us know so that we can arrange for you to participate in some of our SURF activities.

Is there a list of past participating Mentors, and should I apply to a specific one, or just state my interests in the application?

Mentor availability changes each summer, so there is no list. To be matched with a mentor whose work interests you, please describe your research interests and list at least one faculty member at UC COM/Cincinnati Children's with whom you would like to work.  

Different SURF programs have different ways of placing students, so your program coordinator can explain what will be expected of you when you are accepted. Contacting a potential mentor in advance is a good way to establish your interest and lead to your placement in that lab. 

Is it possible to apply to more than one program?

Yes. There are many Summer Undergraduate Research Programs at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. You may apply to more than one of these programs, but you must indicate your top choice in your application.

Contact Us

University of Cincinnati
College of Medicine

CARE/Crawley Building
Suite E-870
3230 Eden Avenue
PO Box 670555
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0555

Mail Location: 0555
Phone: 513-558-7333
Fax: 513-558-3512
Email: College of Medicine