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2015 ASPB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships Application

The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) fund promising undergraduate students so they can conduct research in plant biology during the early part of their college careers. SURF recipients must present their research at ASPB’s annual Plant Biology meeting in the year following the fellowship award.

Eligibility - Application is open to all full-time undergraduate students in a degree-granting program. Students completing their second year are preferred, but well-prepared first- and third-year students who provide evidence of a strong interest in plant biology may apply also. Undergraduates needing more or less than the standard four years to earn a degree may still be eligible. International students or students following non-traditional academic calendars are welcome. In order to provide support to the maximum number of students, SURF awards are limited to those without other sources of stipend or salary for the proposed research. Supplemental funds for room and board are acceptable.

Faculty Mentors - Students must secure a mentor before submitting an application. The proposed research project must be pursued in the mentor’s laboratory. Mentors must be a member of ASPB, have an ongoing research program of high scientific merit, and demonstrate a commitment to undergraduate education and research. Mentors are expected to attend Plant Biology 2016 in Austin, TX with their SURF student.

Need a Mentor? Students may work with a mentor at their own institution or at
another institution. Additional guidance is available by contacting ASPB (see below).

Application - A complete application will include a research project statement and personal statement from the student, a research and mentoring statement from the mentor, a letter of recommendation from another faculty member (not the mentor or in the mentor’s lab), and official undergraduate transcripts.

Selection Criteria - Competitive student applicants should have high academic achievement, strong motivation and skills for conducting research, and career objectives showing interest in or relevancy to plant biology. Reviewers also will consider the contribution of the project to the mentor’s research program, institutional commitment to the proposed research, and the mentor’s commitment to undergraduate research.

Successful applicants receive a $4,000 summer stipend, a one year membership in ASPB, and $700 (paid to the mentor or institution) for materials and supplies. Each fellowship also provides student travel support to Plant Biology 2016, the ASPB annual meeting, to be held July 9-13, 2016, in Austin, TX. These travel funds are sent only to the 2015 SURF recipients who 1) register for the meeting, 2) submit proof of using social media or other outlets to communicate with the public or peers about the SURF project, and 3) author and submit an abstract about their SURF project to present as a poster at the meeting.

- A Successful SURF Applicant’s Sample Timeline -
Contact potential mentors:NOW
Discuss research topics:NOW
Request a reference letter:by January 2015 (from college/university faculty who is not the mentor)
Submit SURF Application:by the deadline, Feb. 11, 2015 (11:59 p.m. ET)
Look for Emailed Decisions:by mid-April 2015
Conduct Research:over 10 consecutive weeks when classes are not in session
Present Research:July 9-13 at Plant Biology 2016 in Austin, TX
Applications will be accepted December 1, 2014 - February 11, 2015 (11:59 p.m. ET).
Need additional help? Katie Engen, ASPB Education Coordinator (


There are four parts of the Application. Download the complete application (which includes forms and instructions) by clicking on the four links below. Save everything to your computer to complete and edit for uploading.


After you've uploaded your application, you'll be given an ID number which must be used to modify your application at any time until the deadline: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 (11:59 p.m. ET).

You can upload only one file for the Student Information and one for the Mentor Information.

  • You may insert additional pages to the individual files to include your research project, personal statement and any additional component items.
  • Be mindful of the page limits noted in the directions (see links above).
  • Embed any images or special fonts into your file.
  • We strongly prefer PDF (*.pdf) files, but will accept MS Word documents (*.doc, *.docx).
  • Include file extensions (i.e. .pdf) at the end of your file name. Only use alpha-numeric characters in your file name.

Letter of Recommendation files will be uploaded by ASPB.

Please see the above links for directions about your letter and transcripts submissions.

For Assistance, Please Contact:

Katie Engen
American Society of Plant Biologists
ASPB Education Coordinator
15501 Monona Drive
Rockville, MD 20855
Phone: 301-251-0560 x114
Fax: 301-279-2996

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15501 Monona Drive
Rockville, MD 20855-2768 USA
Phone: 301-251-0560
Fax: 301-279-2996