National Science Foundation: Research Experience for Undergraduates

Program Synopsis

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. This solicitation features two mechanisms for support of student research:

(1) REU Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct projects that engage a number of students in research. REU Sites may be based in a single discipline or academic department, or on interdisciplinary or multi-department research opportunities with a coherent intellectual theme. Proposals with an international dimension are welcome. A partnership with the Department of Defense supports REU Sites in DoD-relevant research areas.

(2) REU Supplements may be requested for ongoing NSF-funded research projects or may be included as a component of proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or cooperative agreements.

Undergraduate student participants in either Sites or Supplements must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions.

Research experience is one of the most effective avenues for attracting talented undergraduates to, and retaining them in careers in, science and engineering, including careers in teaching and education research. The REU program, through both Sites and Supplements, aims to provide appropriate and valuable educational experiences for undergraduate students through participation in research. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. REU projects feature high-quality interaction of students with faculty and/or other research mentors and access to appropriate facilities and professional development opportunities.

REU opportunities are an excellent way to reach broadly into the student talent pool of our nation. NSF is particularly interested in increasing the numbers of women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities in research. REU projects are strongly encouraged to involve students who are members of these groups. (Underrepresented minorities are African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders.) Historically, the vast majority of REU participants have been junior- or senior-level undergraduates--students who have typically already committed to a major in science or engineering. So that the REU program can succeed in attracting students into science and engineering who might not otherwise consider those majors and careers, projects are also encouraged, when appropriate, to involve students at earlier stages in their college experience. For example, some REU projects effectively engage first-year and second-year undergraduates by developing partnerships with community colleges.

Also in the spirit of increasing the size and diversity of the nation's science and engineering workforce, the new Post-9/11 GI Bill presents an opportunity to recruit veterans who are returning from active duty into educational programs and careers in science and engineering. Some REU Sites may wish to consider this valuable pool of new undergraduates when designing recruitment plans.

REU Site and Supplement projects may be carried out during the summer months, during the academic year, or both. REU Sites may be proposed for durations of one to five years, with a three-year duration being typical in most NSF directorates. The term of REU Supplements may not exceed that of the underlying research project.



June 29, 2012 - Letter of Intent*

July 25, 2012 - Full Proposal** for external review

August 22, 2012 - Submission to NSF

*Letter of Intent should be emailed to Terry Shehata ( The letter should list the PI (and co-PI if applicable), disciplines, mentors, and a paragraph summary of the project. (One page limit)

**Full proposal means Project Summary, Project Description, Bios, Current and Pending, Budget and Budget Narrative, Facilities, Equipment, Other Resources, and Supplemental Documents (if applicable). Applications not submitted by the deadline for external review will not be approved for submission to NSF.


Information Session Presentation

Program Announcement

Tips & Tricks for Current/Future PIs of REU sites