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The Office of Undergraduate Research

Bucks for Brains

This exciting program provides undergraduates at the University of Kentucky with hands-on experience in academic research, working alongside faculty. Students are placed in research settings ranging from plant biochemistry to computer science to American history. Participation in the program requires a minimum of eight weeks (actual dates will be determined by faculty placement). Students participating in this program receive a $3,500 stipend and are permitted to take one class concurrent with this experience. Those who elect to take an academic course must accept responsibility for paying all tuition and fees.

Bucks 4 Brains student, Manasi Malik published her research in the Journal of Neuroscience!  Read the full article.

Student application deadline is April 15th each year. 

  • Student Application currently not available
  • Faculty Registration currently not available

Sponsored by the Offices of the President and the Vice President for Research in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Office of Institutional Diversity


The Bucks for Brains Summer Research Program is designed to provide undergraduate students with opportunities to work one-on-one with leading faculty on research projects that are funded by the state's Research Challenge Trust fund (RCTF), commonly known as "Bucks for Brains." The goal of the program is to increase diversity of the student population in UK laboratories, thus strengthening the student research pipeline at UK.

The program requires a minimum of 6 hours per day for a period of 8 weeks, depending on individual faculty requirements. Generally, students should expect to work at the discretion of their faculty mentor, not to exceed 40 hours per week or 10 weeks. Students may take one summer school class concurrent with this experience, but those who elect to take academic courses must accept responsibility for paying all tuition and fees. Students will receive a $3,500 scholarship for the summer, and participating RCTF faculty will receive $1,000 for supplies and research needs.

Student participants are selected by an application review and selection committee that considers multiple characteristics contributing to the University of Kentucky's compelling interest in diversity. Students will be notified on or before April 25th.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be an undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky
  • Must have at least a 2.5 Cumulative GPA
  • Must be highly motivated, an independent thinker, responsible, and enthusiastic

Student Requirements

  • Interview with faculty mentor
  • Attend 2-3 seminars during the summer
  • Write an abstract and a brief report describing research experience

Faculty Requirements

  • Association with either the RCTF Enhanced Programs or the RCTF Endowed Match Program
  • Interview student candidate(s)
  • Complete Summer Research Plan with selected student(s)

For more information contact:
University of Kentucky
Bessie M. Guerrant, Director
211 Funkhouser
Lexington, KY 40506-0054
fax: 859-257-8734