Undergraduate Research Program

Scan Design Foundation Innovations in Pain Research Summer Program

Scan Design Foundation Innovations in Pain Research Summer Program is for UW undergraduates offered through the Undergraduate Research Program. Funded by The Scan|Design Foundation by Inger & Jens Bruun in partnership with UW Medicine Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine.

Scan Design Student in Nursing Outfit quoted:"Conducting research allows you to develop the way things COULD be. Being able to design protocols and improve techniques, and then witness the results, drives my passion to levels I never imagined."


Program description

Pain represents an immense clinical problem. Millions of people in the U.S. alone suffer from debilitating chronic pain.  In order to advance the field so that we can reduce this burden and offer hope to the many patients with chronic pain, we will need to better understand pain and treatment mechanisms, develop new therapies, and improve access to evidence-based pain care. In order to do this, we need to create opportunities and incentives for innovative research. The Scan|Design Foundation by Inger & Jens Bruun has partnered with UW Medicine Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine to create a research innovation award program that will support creative, early stage research projects with the potential to lead to breakthroughs in the treatment of pain.  As part of this investment, a Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity in Pain Research was developed to expose undergraduate students to interdisciplinary research in pain to stimulate interest in future careers in pain research.


Program eligibility

  • Current full-time UW undergraduate students (with potential major areas of study in biological sciences, psychology, nursing, social work, and/or engineering)
  • Rising juniors (based on credits), rising seniors, or non-graduating seniors (who are returning in the fall after summer participation to continue undergraduate studies) at time of 2021 summer program
  • Interest in exploring either basic science or clinical research in pain treatment
  • Interest in pursuing a PhD, MD or MD-PhD

2020 Important dates and deadlines

  • Application Opens: December 15, 2020
  • Application Deadline: February 2, 2021
  • Notifications: April 2021

Program requirements

The Scan Design Foundation Innovations in Pain Research Summer Program places selected students in participating faculty’s research environments for full-time, 9-week intensive research immersion experiences. Participating students will not be permitted to engage in other jobs, labs, or academic courses during the program term.

Awardees will also be required to:

  • Complete a full-time intensive research experience in one of the participating faculty laboratories ( June 21- August 20, 2021);
  • Attend weekly virtual research seminars focused on current topics in science and workshops that provide training in research skills and ethics;
  • Participate in summer undergraduate research evaluation activities that support your growth as a researcher and scholar.
  • Attend virtual student program orientation on Monday, June 21, 2021 from 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Students will join research groups after 1:30 p.m.;
  • Present research to faculty, peers, and the community at a concluding virtual Summer Research Symposium;
  • Students will also be required to present their research in the May 2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium if still enrolled at UW.

Award and activities

Financial support is a critical component of the Innovations in Pain Research Summer Program. Students will receive a $6,000 stipend to be disbursed in installments throughout the program term. Housing is not provided for participating students. There will be various optional social and recreational activities offered throughout the summer program.

Required application materials include:

  • Submitted Online Application (including .pdf versions of your resume/cv and unofficial transcript)
  • One Letter of Recommendation from a Faculty Member

The Faculty Recommender should be familiar with your coursework or prior research experience. After you submit your Faculty Recommender contact information in the online application, your recommender will receive an email message from the Undergraduate Research Program requesting the letter. We encourage you to discuss your request for a letter of recommendation with the faculty member as early as possible and prior to providing your recommender’s contact information in the online application system.