RFP Application Information

Research Fellows Program (RFP)   


The Research Fellows Program (RFP) is for current BSP students who have  moderate levels of research experience (or more), who are interested in deepening their research experience in biology, or in a biology-related STEM-based lab. RFP applicants must: (a) currently be established in an on- or off- campus research lab, or (b) will independently secure a research position in an on- or off- campus laboratory.

Having a lab in place adds to your application and increases your chances of being selected for RFP, but does not exclude your eligibility. If you are still searching for lab placement at time of application submission, you must confirm lab placement prior to the beginning of the semester when funding starts if selected, or admittance may be revoked.In either case, RFP applicants are not early or first-time undergraduate researchers, rather, they are individuals who are “continuing” their research experience. The RFP provides research stipends to its fellows whose financial need would make such work difficult on an unpaid basis 

In addition to providing a research-stipend, the RFP facilitates community and fosters a personal and professional network among RFP peers through a variety of co-curricular activities.

RFP participants have the opportunity to:

  • Engage in a paid year-long, academic-year and summer research experience (pending PI and BSP review and approval at the end of each semester)

  • Continue receiving a mentored research experience

  • Attend a series of co-curricular research and professional development workshops and seminars

  • Expand one’s personal and professional community network among peer  undergraduate researchers

  • Present at the BSP Undergraduate Research Symposium

This RFP is intended to support undergraduates who demonstrate passion to continue conducting research. Top candidates are interested in sharing what they have learned about working in a research environment to fellow peers, are willing to deepen their understanding on how to effectively use the scientific method to investigate real-world research-related questions, and are curious to learn more about research careers.


Selection Process

Whether you are an undergraduate researcher who is established in a lab, or an undergraduate researcher who has or will begin a position in a lab, individuals who apply to the RFP are further along in their research journey, and have a moderate to greater level of undergraduate research experience.

  1. Students Apply to BSP’s RFP. (Deadline: Thursday, August 2, 2018 by 8 a.m.)

  2. Applications reviewed by program committee.

  3. BSP staff or program committee will set up interviews with selected candidates. (Approximate: early to mid August 2018)

  4. Decision notifications will be distributed. (Approximate: mid to late August 2018)

  5. RFP student orientation meeting. (Approximate: early September 2018)



Through generous funding from the Hellman Foundation, the BSP will support RFP participants with a research stipend in the Fall 2018 (10 hrs/wk), Spring 2019 (10 hrs/wk), and Summer 2019 (30-40 hrs/wk) semesters, pending PI and BSP review and approval at the end of each semester, to conduct research in a lab.

Students who are selected to participate in the program will be required to meet with a financial aid advisor to understand how, if at all, this funding may impact your financial aid package.


Fall 2018  

@ 10 hrs/wk

Spring 2018 

@ 10 hrs/wk

Summer 2018

@ 30-40 hrs/wk


RFP Stipend





Travel Stipend





Supplies Stipend











RFP Program Dates

The RFP is a one-year research program, and will span across Fall 2018-Summer 2019. Students are expected to work 10 hrs/week during the academic year, and full-time during summer months. The RFP dates are as follows (subject to change): 

  • Fall 2018: September 10, 2018 – December 7, 2018 (10 hours/wk)

  • Spring 2019: January 22, 2019 – May 10, 2019 (10 hours/wk)

  • Summer 2019: May 28, 2019 – August 16, 2019 (at least 30 hours/wk)


Student Eligibility

  1. Currently enrolled BSP student.

  2. Overall GPA of at least 2.7.

  3. You must not be receiving any other funding or payment for this research, unless the hours you are working as part of RFP are over and above the hours you will get paid to conduct this same research (will be verified).

  4. Ability to commit to a year-long program (Fall 2018, Spring 2019, and Summer 2019).

  5. Ability to work 10 hrs/wk in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019, and at least 30 hrs/wk in Summer 2019.

  6. Must not take Summer 2019 classes while participating in RFP. Participants are expected to commit full-time to the undergraduate research program in Summer 2019.

IMPORTANT: RFP is a one-year long program, encompassing the academic-year and the summer (Fall 2018, Spring 2019, and Summer 2019). However, good standing in the RFP program and continuous stipend award is dependent upon PI and BSP review and approval at the end of each semester.


What We Are Looking For

  • Students for whom financial support would significantly enhance their ability to participate in research.

  • Individuals who possess a commitment and willingness to share their research experience with the BSP community and others.

  • Those who clearly demonstrate why research is important to their overall development.

  • Researchers who convey their passion for discovery in their selected area of interest.


Eligible Laboratories

Students can work with any UC faculty member in the biological sciences or related STEM area (e.g., must have some biological component), or, with a PI/Research Advisor at other site locations, such as a laboratory at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, and others. If you are not sure if your lab is eligible, please contact Dr. Missy Soto at m.soto@berkeley.edu.


Expectations if Selected

Please read carefully before applying.

If selected, RFP participants will be expected to:

  • Attend designated workshops/seminars throughout the semester.

  • Meet with the Research Coordinator 2x/semester.

  • Complete program evaluations.

  • Present at the BSP Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium on Friday, August 9, 2019.

  • Work 10 hrs/wk during the academic year, and at least 30 hrs/wk in the summer.

  • Actively engage in scientific discovery, ask questions, and embrace your research and curiosity!


Apply Today!

Applications are due Thursday, August 2, 2018 by 8 a.m.


(Step 1): Complete the electronic application here by 8 am August 2, 2018. Follow all instructions. Be prepared to submit or upload in PDF format:

  • Resume (1 page maximum)

  • Unofficial Transcripts

  • List of planned or potential Fall 2018, Spring 2018, and Summer 2019 activities, if any (e.g., employment, internship, volunteer, program, etc)

  • One letter of recommendation from your current PI/Research Supervisor (1-2 pages maximum). See below for further instructions.

  • Statement of Purpose

  • Statement of Financial Need

  • Financial Aid Information

(Step 2):Awardees will be notified by or before the end of August 2018. Laboratory mentors of awardees will also be notified once the award is accepted.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.


Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation are due August 2, 2018 by 8 a.m. (no exceptions)

All RFP Applicants:

One, 1-2 page letter of recommendation is required to apply to  BSP’s Research Fellows Program. Letters MUST come from your current or near future PI/Research Supervisor (e.g., a letter written by your direct mentor (graduate student, postdoctoral researcher, research assistant, lab manager) that is co-signed by your lab's PI.

For Applicants Continuing in a Lab (e.g., applicant is currently established in a lab)

The letter should address your history and good standing in the research laboratory, project progress, and how you would benefit from participating in BSP’s RFP. Other items of interest include remarks about your research-related growth since starting in the lab, your capacity and motivation to conduct research, and your interest in a research related career or educational path. Letters should be addressed to the Biology Scholars Program, Research Fellows Program (BSP RFP) Selection Committee.

For Applicants Who Have Recently Secured/Are in Negotiations to Secure a Lab Position

Recommenders’ letters should address how they know you, confirm the offer to host a mentored research project experience with you, address why you are a good fit for the lab and the designated project. Additional information may include your capacity and motivation to conduct research, and your interest in a research related career or educational path. Letters should be addressed to the Biology Scholars Program, Research Fellows Program (BSP RFP) Selection Committee.


Suggestions for Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Contact your recommenders well in advance and ask them if they will write you a letter. Tell them about the program and why you are applying. Include information about the submission deadline, who to address the letter to, how/where to submit the letters, what the letter should address, program contact information for questions, and include this website for their reference. You may also want to email a copy of your resume and statement of purpose to give recommenders an idea of what you plan to submit as part of your application.


How to Submit Letters of Recommendation

There are two options:

  1. Recommenders can email letters directly from the letter writer's email to m.soto@berkeley.edu. The email subject line should read: Student First Name, Student Last Name_ RFP LOR (e.g., Jane Doe_RFP LOR).

  1. Alternatively, recommenders may provide the letter of recommendation to the student, and the student can upload it as part of their application. Letters will be verified.

In all cases: (A) letters are due by August 2, 2018 at 8 a.m., and (B) letters must be sent as a PDF attachment.



For further information, please see the FAQs or contact Dr. Missy Soto, BSP Deputy Director m.soto@berkeley.edu, 510-642-6227.