“Whether or not undergraduates who participate in research ultimately choose research careers, their participation improves their ability to understand how ... scientists conduct research and better prepares them to evaluate science and scientific claims in their day-to-day lives.” (AAAS, 2009)

Course Design Centered Around Research Experiences

A growing body of evidence shows that undergraduate science students, especially women and underrepresented minorities, benefit from research experiences (Auchincloss et al., 2014; Russell, Hancock, & McCullough, 2007; Linn, Palmer, Baranger, Gerard, & Stone, 2015). However, 1:1 mentored research opportunities are, by nature, limited by faculty availability and/or financial resources. One approach to increasing student access to research is through course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), which can accommodate more participants and mitigate barriers associated with traditional research mentorship models (Bangera, Brownell, & Hatfull, 2014). A CURE course is defined by five characteristics: use of disciplinary practices, the discovery of an unknown outcome, broad relevance, collaboration, and iteration (Auchincloss et al., 2014; Ballen et al., 2017). For more details on these elements of a CURE, and the benefits for student learning and faculty teaching, please see this Sheridan resource.

In collaboration with Brown's HHMI initiative, the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning is engaged in a number of initiatives to enhance Brown University students’ capacities for doing research. These initiatives are part of the Brown Learning Collaborative and include a CURE Faculty Institute and an undergraduate course “The Theory and Practice of Problem Solving and Research” (UNIV 1110), which focuses on helping Undergraduate TAs be effective peer teachers in STEM CUREs. The students in UNIV 1110 engage in a research project the second half of the term to gain a better understanding of what students in a CURE experience and reflect on their own learning, in order to become highly effective problem solvers and researchers themselves.

CURE Faculty Institute

The CURE Faculty Institute offers faculty evidence-based practices for creating course-based research experiences that focus on student inquiry and promote student learning. Faculty may apply to receive up to $32,000 to develop a course, or module within a course, that focuses on research. Support for course development includes professional training on course design based on emergent practices within the CURE model, individual consultation and feedback, a supportive cohort of peers, easily adaptable course materials, and standardized assessment of your course. Participants are encouraged to co-design their course with a fellow faculty member, postdoc, graduate student, and/or undergraduate teaching assistant(s). Participants will have the option of creating a community-engaged CURE, working in collaboration with the Swearer Center. STEM and quantitative social science courses are eligible to apply.


  • Participation in at least one of the following course development programs:
    • The CUREnet Institute, June 3-5, 2019, at Community College of Rhode Island
    • The Sheridan Course Design Institute, August 5-9, 2019
    • Prior participation in the CURE Design Institute (on January 9, 2019)
  • Participation in individual consultations with Sheridan staff
  • Development or redesign of a course that integrates research and teaching as a core pedagogy for CCC approval
  • Implementation of designed or redesigned course, or CURE module within a course in Fall 2019, Wintersession 2020, or Spring 2020
  • Participation in a student CURE poster session the semester your course is offered
  • Collection of feedback from students during the course
  • Willingness to assess course effectiveness


In addition to course design support, HHMI will provide up to $32,000 per course for the following

  • Up to $15,000 for graduate student or postdoc during for semester they are teaching the course
  • Up to $5,000 salary for technical support
  • Up to $5,000 per course for supplies
  • Up to $4,800 for 4 undergraduate teaching assistants/fellows
  • $2,200 for course development support

Application Deadline

Please submit applications by Monday, April 15, 2019, at 11:59pm. Participants will be selected from across the sciences, engineering, mathematical, and quantitative social science disciplines.

For more information, contact:

Stacey Lawrence, Ph.D.

Assistant Director for STEM Initiatives


[email protected]

Kristina L. Cohen, Ph.D.

HHMI Postdoctoral Research Associate


[email protected]

CURE Design Institute Awardees

2018-2019 Cohort

  • Neil Sarkar & Elizabeth Chen; BIOL 1555: Methods in Informatics and Data Science for Health (Spring 2019)
  • Daniel Harris; ENGN 1860: Advanced Fluid Mechanics (Spring 2019)
  • Ruth Colwill & Andrea Megela Simmons; Life Under Water in the Anthropocene (Fall 2019)
  • Tyler Kartzinel; BIOL 1515/2015: Conservation in the Genomics Age (Spring 2020)
  • Eric Victor; CHEM 0500: Inorganic Chemistry (Spring 2020)


AAAS. (2009). Vision and change in undergraduate biology education: A call to action. Washington, DC, AAAS.

Auchincloss, L. C., Laursen, S. L., Branchaw, J. L., Eagan, K., Graham, M., Hanauer, D. I., … Dolan, E. L. (2014). Assessment of course-based undergraduate research experiences: A meeting report. CBE Life Sciences Education, 13(1), 29-40. doi:10.1187/cbe.14-01-0004.

Ballen, C. J., Blum, J. E., Brownell, S., Hebert, S., Hewlett, J., Klein, J. R., … Cotner, S. (2017). A call to develop course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) for nonmajors courses. CBE Life Sciences Education, 16(2), mr2. doi:10.1187/cbe.16-12-0352.

Bangera, G., Brownell, S. E., & Hatfull, G. (2014). Course-based undergraduate research experiences can make scientific research more inclusive. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 13(4), 602-606. doi:10.1187/cbe.14-06-0099.

Brownell, S. E., Hekmat-Scafe, D. S., Singla, V., Chandler Seawell, P., Conklin Imam, J. F.,

Eddy, S. L., Stearns, T., Cyert, M. S. (2015). A high-enrollment course-based undergraduate research experience improves student conceptions of scientific thinking and ability to interpret data. CBE Life Sciences Education, 14(2), ar21. doi:10.1187/cbe.14-05-0092.

Linn, M. C., Palmer, E., Baranger, A., Gerard, E., & Stone, E. (2015). Undergraduate research experiences: Impacts and opportunities. Science, 347(6222).

Russell, S. H., Hancock, M. P., & McCullough, J. (2007). Benefits of undergraduate research experiences. Science, 316(5824), 548.