Commonwealth Undergraduate Research Experience Fellowship Launches at UK

Mark Cornelison | UK Photo
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 3, 2022) — A new undergraduate opportunity — the Commonwealth Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) Fellowship — provides a path for the University of Kentucky to advocate for and ensure the inclusion of a diverse population of students pursuing mentored research in designated Research Priority Areas (RPAs).

Mentored undergraduate research, and the associated longterm benefits of this activity like improved critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and communication skills, is a strong draw for prospective college students. UK has extensive opportunities for undergraduates at all levels to conduct research and scholarship with leading scientists, clinicians and scholars.

The new CURE fellowships, sponsored by UK Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) and the Office of the Vice President for Research, will empower undergraduates to become leaders for their respective communities by providing opportunities to develop new knowledge and skills through research within UK’s seven Research Priority Areas: cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity, diversity and inclusion, energy, neuroscience, and substance use disorder.

“We chose these areas based on local relevance, existing funding strength, sustainability and disciplinary scholarly diversity,” said Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis. “It makes perfect sense that including undergraduates in a meaningful way through this new fellowship program will provide high-impact training opportunities that will broaden their experience here at UK and bring immediate value to these cross-disciplinary research teams.”

“We are particularly excited by the launch of the CURE Fellowship,” said Chad Risko, faculty director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. “As we aim to grow undergraduate participation in research and creative work, we want to ensure that students that may not necessarily see themselves as practitioners in these endeavors are afforded opportunities. Further, being able to partner with the RPAs ensures that the experience will have direct impact for the Commonwealth.”    

Students selected as CURE fellows will receive a $3,000 stipend to support their research endeavors during the summer 2022 term. Fellows will engage in a research project under the guidance of a mentor associated with one of the participating RPAs. Students will interact with the other fellows in their cohort during the summer research period and present their research at the Summer Research Symposium in August 2022.

The CURE fellowship welcomes applications from all undergraduate students with research interests covered by the RPAs with preference given to those who identify with one or more of the backgrounds that have been recognized as being underrepresented groups as defined by the National Science Foundation or other federally protected groups. CURE fellowship applicants will have a declared major or pertinent background in a field of relevance as identified by the RPA.

The application deadline is March 1, 2022. Selections will be made by April 1, 2022. Application requirements, eligibility status and more can be found at

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.