Teach the Earth > Undergraduate Research > Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Research Experiences for Undergrads

Dave Mogk, Montana State University; Jeff Ryan, University of South Florida

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): The REU Program is the primary NSF-wide funding opportunity for obtaining support for undergraduate research activities. Funding is available at two scales:

  • REU Supplements to active NSF research grant awards. These requests typically seek stipend and related support for 1-2 undergraduates to participate in an ongoing funded project.
  • REU Sites: These are full proposals to conduct a summertime undergraduate-driven research enterprise with a cohort of undergraduate students (usually 10 or more). In the Geosciences two models for these projects are common:
    • A "center" model where individual students work with different faculty or researchers in a Department or research laboratory on a range of different projects, with cohort-based professional development activities;
    • A "project" model where the student cohort works as a research team under the supervision of a group of faculty on a single over-arching project.

In both cases, the expectation for an REU project is that they will provide a complete research experience for students (from project identification/research design to presentation/publication), and that students will be part of a cohort and thereby begin to establish a network of professional connections among their REU peers and faculty mentors. Students must also be supported financially while participating in research, at the level of a weekly stipend amount defined in the REU Program solicitation or higher.

The REU Program solicitation provides detailed instructions on the construction and submission of Supplement and Site proposals. Supplements can be requested at any time during the award duration of the active NSF research grant, while Sites have Foundation-wide annual submission dates based on the Directorate or Office to which they are targeted. One can see a list of currently funded REU Site projects HERE. As well, please see the page on Geoscience REU Program projects in this collection.

GEO REU Workshop 2011: Developing an REU Community and Best Practices Through Networking


Search for an Active REU Site Project

Visit this listing of REU Site Projects in the Geosciences, including EAR, OCE, and ATM, to get a sense of what types of projects have been successfully funded.

  • how to write a good proposal; how to advertise, plan logistics, build a curriculum, get results, build a curriculum
  • explicit discussion of best practices.
  • Numerous case studies showing "how to"
  • Other contributors: Brannon Andersen, Jeff Ryan, many others
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