STEP-UP What to Expect If Accepted

If Accepted, You Will …

  1. Be Connected with a Program Contact

    You will be assigned to a coordinating center and will need to provide them with your proof of health insurance and government-issued photo ID. The coordinating center will be your primary contact for any administrative or programmatic needs and will oversee all student activities.

  2. Choose a Location and Mentor

    Permitted Location Types:

    • Colleges
    • Universities
    • Hospitals
    • Departments of Public Health
    • Private Research Institutions

    You do not need to conduct your research at the coordinating center. Instead, you can work with your center to identify and secure a research institution and research mentor closer to home or in your desired location.

    We highly recommend that you select a research location within commuting distance of your home. Housing or funding for housing is not provided by STEP-UP. Undergraduate students who are interested in conducting research at an institution not in proximity to their home must make their own housing and transportation arrangements.

  3. Complete Orientation

    You must attend orientation and training activities prior to starting your summer research. Information and links for the training will be provided by your coordinating center.

  4. Do the Research

    High School

    Start Date: No later than the first full week of June
    Duration: 8 weeks minimum, 40 hours per week


    Start Date: Determined by coordinating center and mentor
    Duration: 10 weeks minimum (option to extend through academic year, discussed later), 40 hours per week

    The start dates for both the high school and undergraduate program are determined by the coordinating center and research mentor; however, high school students must begin the program no later than the first full week of June.

    All students are expected to have a minimum of eight weeks of research experience during their STEP-UP experience. Please be aware that your assigned research may not necessarily match your research interests; however, we will do our best to match you with a great research experience. If there is a research mentor and/or institution that you are interested in, we strongly recommend that you speak with staff at your assigned center as soon as you receive notification of acceptance.

    We encourage, but do not require, that students pursue research within the NIDDK mission areas of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases and nutrition; or kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases. Staff at coordinating centers will match students with research mentors within NIDDK core mission areas before matching students with research mentors outside of the mission areas.

  5. Present your Work

    All STEP-UP participants are required to attend the annual research symposium to present their research project. The symposium will be held virtually in early August with the exact dates confirmed at the start of the summer.


Logistics and Financial Support

Students are assigned to a coordinating center after they are accepted into the program. A coordinating center serves as the STEP-UP student’s primary contact for any administrative or programmatic needs during the summer research experience. The coordinating center will provide direct oversight for all student activities.

Yes. Students do not have to live near one of the seven coordinating centers. Students can and are encouraged to conduct research at institutions near their homes or wherever they will be residing during the summer. Students DO NOT have to conduct their research at the coordinating center.

Still have a question? Contact the STEP-UP team

Last Reviewed April 2024