U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Short-Term Research Experience for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP)

About the Program

The STEP-UP Program provides hands-on summer research experience for high school and undergraduate students interested in exploring research careers. The overall goal of STEP-UP is to build and sustain a biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social science research pipeline focused on NIDDK’s core mission areas of  diabetes, endocrinology and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases and nutrition; kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases.

The STEP-UP Program provides research education grants to seven institutions to coordinate three High School STEP-UP Programs and four Undergraduate STEP-UP Programs. STEP-UP is particularly interested in increasing the participation of students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research on a national basis, including individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and individuals with disabilities.

Program Highlights

  • 8 to 10-weeks of full-time research experience 
  • Students receive a summer research stipend
  • Students are assigned to a STEP-UP Coordinating Center to help coordinate and monitor their summer research experience
  • Students are paired with experienced research mentors at institutions throughout the nation
  • Students are encouraged to choose a research institution and/or mentor near their hometown or within commuting distance of their residence. Students are not required to relocate in order to conduct their summer research.
  • Students receive training in the responsible conduct of research
  • All-paid travel expenses to the Annual STEP-UP Research Symposium held on NIH’s main campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Students are given the opportunity to conduct a formal oral and poster presentation.

The STEP-UP Program is a federally funded program managed and supported by the Office of Minority Health Research Coordination (OMHRC) in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).​​​​​​


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Eligibility Requirements

​Check to see if you meet the eligibility criteria.
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Application Process & Deadlines

​Learn about the application process and deadlines prior to applying.
Apply to STEP-UP
Please read the STEP-UP Application Instructions (PDF, 802 KB) before applying.

 Key Dates


​Application Opens

Application Deadline

Notification of Award
Mid-March 2017

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