The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is pleased to continue its support of the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), an initiative that pairs undergraduate students with an interest in autism science with SFARI Investigators at leading universities across the country for the summer.
Since the program launched in 2014, SFARI has committed nearly $1 million in over 60 projects involving more than 100 students. These students attended major universities across the United States, including Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, the California Institute of Technology, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. SFARI works closely with these institutions to ensure that students are matched with SFARI Investigators who can provide research opportunities and mentorship that will help students develop valuable professional skills and encourage continued engagement with autism science.
SURP especially encourages participation of students from underrepresented communities. Together with other initiatives that SFARI has recently launched, the program is aiming to increase diversity and inclusion in the next generation of autism research scientists.
“We are proud to continue working with SFARI Investigators and their institution’s undergraduate research programs across the country to provide outstanding students from all backgrounds with an opportunity to develop their research interests and to establish lasting relationships with leading figures in the field of autism science,” said John Spiro, SFARI interim director.
SURP students benefit from their participation in the program by getting hands-on lab experience, learning new experimental techniques and methodologies, and acquiring relevant research and transferrable skills such as giving presentations, preparing conference posters and participating in scientific publications. For some students, these undergraduate programs have been a springboard to research training that continued during the rest of the year, as well as postgraduate research opportunities.
“Working with students who are just beginning to explore biological research is a core part of our program, and participating in SURP is always a pleasure,” added Jessica Cardin, an associate professor and SFARI Investigator who has served as a mentor at Yale University. I enjoy the creativity and diverse backgrounds the students bring to their work in the lab and the opportunity to help them build their skills and begin their careers.”
At this time, SFARI provides funding to undergraduate summer programs at select institutions with a high concentration of SFARI-supported Investigators*.
*Institutions currently supported by SFARI through SURP include:
- California Institute of Technology
- Columbia University
- Harvard University
- Johns Hopkins University
- New York University
- Oregon Health & Science University
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
- University of Pennsylvania
- Yale University