Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) Awards

Page updated October 3, 2022



The Kentucky IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (KY INBRE) announces the opportunity to apply for developmental awards to increase course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). Target budgets will be up to $20K/year for 1-3 consecutive years. These awards can be used for faculty salary support for course development and/or supplies/equipment needed for the initial development. We strongly encourage publications resulting from the development and assessment of such courses. Further, we strongly encourage the development of NIH grant applications in support of longer-term expansion or transmission of KY INBRE-funded CUREs. Applications should be submitted to the KY INBRE administrative office for consideration and competitive review.

Background and Purpose

Science education research has continually shown that learning current research methods and skills increases student success and that inquiry-based laboratory exercises result in increased learning when compared to traditional, expository activities. CUREs, which integrate a research project into a course, are one way to expose students to the process of science while increasing their knowledge about biological concepts and better preparing them for research careers.

Despite the evidence supporting the use of inquiry-based labs to enhance student learning, several significant challenges including the increased cost associated with authentic research, the time required to guide students through the scientific process, and the inclusion of multiple instructors in a novel instructional method serve as obstacles to implementation.

In an effort to expand research experiences for more undergraduates yet acknowledging the limits of apprenticeship models to reach enough students at large institutions, we propose to support incorporation of research experiences into undergraduate courses.  This will also serve state and national needs to increase the number of citizens with undergraduate and graduate STEM degrees as well as a scientifically literate citizenry. Further, this opportunity will provide a novel approach to expanding faculty research opportunities by providing a mechanism to explore a new project and/or involve additional students while combining their teaching and research responsibilities. 

Application Information

The application for support must include plans for evaluation and dissemination, and contain a letter of support from an academic Department Chair or Dean indicating that the home institution will sustain the CURE, if found to be effective, to the same degree as other courses. Preference will also be given to courses that engage larger numbers of students, are offered more often, or represent novel CUREs (as opposed to adoption of an existing CURE at the applicant’s institution).

During the period of KY INBRE CURE funding, we strongly encourage faculty to apply for additional funding that will sustain or expand the proposed approach beyond the KY INBRE CURE grant period. For example, projects designed to ultimately target NIH R25 support will be given preference in funding decisions. In such cases, the target program should be cited in the KY INBRE application together with a timeline for NIH submission. Please be sure to explore NIH educational research opportunities described in the Division of Biomedical Research Workforce website for more information.

Deliverables are expected, and all written course materials should be submitted for curation by KY INBRE and made available to the KY INBRE network.

Applicants may want to contact faculty at WKU and NKU to gain a better sense of exemplary CUREs. These institutions have productively engaged students in classroom-based research with Bacteriophage and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) at each respective institution.

Budget and budget justification materials will be required for submission for a three-tier review process, including final approval by KY INBRE Administration, the KY INBRE External Advisory Committee and the National Institutes of Health. Funds (up to $3000 annually of the $20,000 max) may also be requested to partially cover the cost of faculty reassigned time during the academic year. Faculty can request support for summer salary as needed. Facilities and administrative (F&A) costs will be provided in addition to direct costs.

Proposal Assembly

Assemble your application in the order listed below using the NIH form 398 forms available by clicking here. Please do not use any other forms than the NIH form 398 for the proposal face page, summary, budget and biosketch. Proposals that utilize other forms will be returned without review.

  • Face page, Signed (NIH form 398, fp1)
  • Project Summary/Abstract, performance sites, key personnel form (NIH form 398, fp2)
  • Budget (NIH form 398, fp4)
  • Budget justification
  • Biosketch of key personnel (also in NIH format, form 398)
  • Specific Aims (1 page)
  • Research Plan (5 pages, maximum)
  • Literature cited
  • Plans for student training
  • Human subjects (if applicable). IRB approval, human subjects protection section, Human Subjects Education Certification (CITI), and Targeted/Planned Enrollment Table
  • Vertebrate animals (if applicable). IACUC approval, vertebrate animal
  • The proposal should include a letter from the Department Chair that specifically states that the CURE will be sustained to the same degree as other course, if found to be effective.

Other eligibility requirements

  • Faculty at the University of Kentucky an University of Louisville are not eligible for KY INBRE CURE Awards.
  • All other tenure-track and tenured faculty at Kentucky colleges and universities eligible for NIH R15/16 funding may apply (see R15: NIH Research Enhancement Award, R16: Support for Research Excellence).
  • All publications and conference abstracts/presentations must acknowledge support from NIGMS grant # P20GM103436
  • Awardees must submit an annual progress report (PHS 2590) to the KY INBRE office by this date. If the Awardee has not published during the funding period, then manuscripts submitted, or ready for submission, must be submitted along with the annual progress report form. Initial awards will be limited to a maximum of $20,000 per year in direct costs for up to three years ($60,000 total). The second and third years of funding are contingent upon satisfactory yearly research progress and continued NIH funding of the parent KY INBRE grant.
  • Plan for annual submission of student enrollment and student progress to the KY INBRE Administrative Office (1 page)