• Participating students will be paid a stipend at the conclusion of the program

  • Laptops will be provided for conducting lab work and participating in program activities

  • Guidance in writing a college application essay

  • Gain experience strengthening research, problem-solving and critical thinking skills

  • Network of peers and mentors

  • Opportunity to develop communication and presentation skills in a supportive environment

  • Exposure to cutting edge neuroscience research in academia and industry

  • Exposure to a variety of scientific career options

  • Opportunity to gain technical research skills

Participating students must be:

  • Rising juniors (summer after sophomore and before junior year) OR
  • Rising seniors (summer after junior year and before senior year) OR
  • Graduating seniors who have not yet applied to college


  • Be at least 15 years old by the program’s start date
  • Attend a high school in the research triangle area of North Carolina
  • Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend in-person programming on campus

There is no cost to attend the program.

On-campus housing will not be provided. Transportation to campus may be facilitated.

There is no application fee: applying to DUNE is completely free.

No, students cannot choose their lab. If accepted, you will be given a list of faculty who have offered to host students in their labs and their research topics which you will rank.  Please do not contact faculty on your own for the lab placement.

The first day there will be an orientation session which includes mandatory safety training. This will be followed by a meeting with your lab mentors. Throughout the summer, you will attend lectures three times a week. Most of the summer is reserved for full time lab work. You should expect to work around 30 hours a week during the program (Monday through Friday, normal business hours, no evening or weekend hours). With special lectures and workshops the total weekly commitment is no more than 40 hours per week. During the last week of the program, you will be busy preparing your poster for the poster session.

We plan to request proof of vaccination for all program participants.

The poster session is the highlight of your summer DUNE work! At the poster session, you will present the results of your work to your peers, parents, and the members of the Duke research community (faculty, students, and staff). The poster session will be held at the end of the program. You will be provided with extensive guidance on how to present your work throughout the program.

All day to day mentors are Duke graduate students or post-doctoral fellows. Mentors will work closely with each student to carry out a research project.

Yes, students are expected to participate in all 8 weeks of the program. Students are required to attend orientation on the first day, all safety sessions, professional development activities, faculty lectures and the poster session.

We have restricted the applicant pool to schools in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina only to focus on our talented local students. We hope that as the program grows in future years, we will be able to accept students from a broader area.