BLaST Undergraduate Research Experience
Academic Year 2021/2022 Undergraduate Research Experience
Applications close 5/30/21
*COVID-19 considerations: While we hope for COVID conditions to allow in-person URE experiences, we realize that the State and UA guidance on personal interactions may change before the summer 2021 semester begins. The University is planning on having the ability to support face to face projects in the Summer, but this can't be guaranteed. Therefore, BLaST will accept both well designed virtual projects and those that have face to face and/or Hyflex models. Please refer to the latest COVID-19 guidance for work on camps provided on the UAF COVID-19 website for information:
Every facet of the United States scientific research enterprise—from basic laboratory research to clinical and translational research to policy formation–requires superior intellect, creativity and a wide range of skill sets and viewpoints. NIH’s ability to help ensure that the nation remains a global leader in scientific discovery and innovation is dependent upon a pool of highly talented scientists from diverse backgrounds who will help to further NIH's mission.
Research shows that diverse teams working together and capitalizing on innovative ideas and distinct perspectives outperform homogenous teams. Scientists and trainees from diverse backgrounds and life experiences bring different perspectives, creativity, and individual enterprise to address complex scientific problems. There are many benefits that flow from a diverse NIH-supported scientific workforce, including: fostering scientific innovation, enhancing global competitiveness, contributing to robust learning environments, improving the quality of the researchers, advancing the likelihood that underserved or health disparity populations participate in, and benefit from health research, and enhancing public trust.
The Biomedical Learning and Student Training (BLaST) program invites proposals for mentored undergraduate research projects. The overarching goal of BLaST is to enhance hands-on undergraduate training and mentoring in biomedical research through increased diversity of students, increased integration of research and teaching, and enhanced integration of rural campuses into a cohesive biomedical community in Alaska and our partner campuses.
Current and prospective undergraduate students from Fort Lewis College, Salish Kootenai College, Dine College, Alaska Pacific University, Iḷisaġvik College, all UAS and UAF campuses, from all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, are invited to apply. To be eligible for a BLaST Undergraduate Research Experience, students must:
- have an interest in biomedical or One Health research;
- have a faculty mentor at their campus;
- have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher;
- be enrolled at Fort Lewis College, Salish Kootenai College, Dine College, Alaska Pacific University, Iḷisaġvik College, UAS or UAF.
BLaST is funded by the NIH, and the NIH encourages institutions to enhance the participation of individuals from groups identified as underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences, such as 1) individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis [Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders]; 2) individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; and 3) individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as (a) individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds periodically published at https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines and (b) individuals who come from an educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that has demonstrably and directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.
III. AWARD AMOUNT
The BLaST URE award is up to $5,000 during the 2021/2022 Academic Year. Awards can be budgeted for research supplies and services, travel, and student salary (hourly compensation for a maximum of 20h/week). To be eligible for salary (hourly compensation) or travel funding, the awardee must be a full-time student (enrolled for 12 credits at Fort Lewis College, Salish Kootenai College, Dine College, Alaska Pacific University, Iḷisaġvik College, UAS or UAF campuses during the 2021/2022 academic year), and be a US citizen or permanent resident.
IV. APPLICATION FORMAT AND SUBMISSION PROCEDURES
The following information is required on the application:
Your mentor completing a BLaST Mentor Confirmation form prior to application deadline. This form can be found at https://uafblast.wufoo.com/forms/blast-mentor-confirmation/
A description of the biomedical and One Health relevance of your project (200 words).
An essay describing your project which should include specific aims, the significance of the project, innovation, approach, and mentoring plan (500-800 words).
A budget with an itemized total projected expenses up to $5,000
Compose these sections in a separate document, proofread and revise as needed, and then enter them on the application.
A PDF version of the application is also available to help you prepare your proposal.
V. AWARD CONDITIONS
All safety training and any compliance committee approvals, such as Institutional Review Board or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, required of the undergraduate student or proposed project by your campus must be completed before any work can begin. Awardees must cooperate with BLaST staff to facilitate compliance with all the participant reporting and evaluation requirements of the NIH Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity grants.
As noted above, consideration must also include possible COVID based requirements for your campus that could be applicable in Fall 2021. Even if those conditions are not known at this time, a statement that the project will abide by the applicable regulations.