Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) 2021


The Singh Center REU experience includes an invitation to the larger NNCI REU Convocation (photo from 2019 NNCI REU Convocation at Cornell University. (Image credit Cornell University Photography)

Note that the below program description is based on being able to hold a meaningful in-person experience for students participating in the 2021 program. As the program dates approach, modifications will be made if determined necessary following Penn’s COVID-19 policies, which follow expert guidelines including those from the CDC and local public health officials. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

The Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania seeks undergraduate applicants for its Research for Undergraduate Experience (REU) Program for summer 2021.

This 10-week program is designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to work with scientists on the cutting-edge of nanoscale research. The Singh Center is centered around four major research facilities, all featuring state-of-the-art equipment for nanoscale characterization, measurement, and fabrication: the Quattrone Nanofabrication Facility, the Nanoscale Characterization Facility, the Scanning and Local Probe Facility, and the Material Property Measurement Facility.

Summer projects will include the traditional REU-model project, ones in which students work on a research project within a Penn faculty member’s lab, as well as unique project opportunities to work on research originating from the Singh Center research facilities themselves. Students will be matched to projects based on their background, interests and the projects’ needs and requirements. All projects will provide the opportunity to learn next-generation nanotechnology approaches and to develop experience working in at least one of the research facilities using state-of-the-art equipment. Students will gain experience with substantial aspects of doing science: experimental design, data collection and communication of results. Students will also participate in activities that complement the lab research and help to develop broader scientific and career skills: seminars, paper discussions, career sessions and skills workshops.

Student participants will earn a $5500 stipend (before taxes, paid in installments), and will be housed within walking distance of the university with housing provided by the program. In addition, up to $500 in travel costs to Philadelphia may be eligible for reimbursement. Philadelphia is an exciting place to live for the summer, with many social and recreational activities.

Program at-a-glance

Focus: Nanoscale research opportunities across a wide range of disciplines from materials science, mechanical engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, bioengineering, physiology, chemical engineering and electrical engineering.

Dates: June 1 – August 6, 2021

Location: University of Pennsylvania, Singh Center for Nanotechnology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Eligibility: You must be an enrolled undergraduate student, who will not graduate before the summer program ends. Students enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania are NOT eligible to apply (Penn students looking for summer research opportunities are encouraged to look at the other NNCI site REUs and Pathways to Science.)

You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to participate in this program.

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students from diverse backgrounds. We strongly encourage students from underrepresented groups in STEM, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply.

Stipend: $5500 (before taxes, 9 AM – 5 PM full-time participation for the duration of the program is expected)

Application Components: a) online application form, b) personal statement (1-page), c) two letters of recommendation, d) transcript from your current school and from all colleges you have attended and e) resume (1-page). These components are described in the application form below.

Letters of recommendation should be from faculty members or advisors who can address your academic and/or research abilities and potential. You should have at least one letter writer from your current institution. For the second letter, letter writers can be from other institutions and/or hold positions outside of academia. For example, if you did an internship at a company or summer research at another school that would be relevant to your REU application, you can include your supervisor as one of your letter writers. Unless you are a Freshman, a high school teacher should not submit your second letter.

For files with page limits (e.g., statement, resume), please respect the requested length limitations. Files longer than the limit will not be reviewed.

Application Deadline: February 17, 2021 (applicants will be notified of the status of their application by April 30, 2021).  Please disregard any references to the February 1, 2021 deadline. 

Please note that once you start the application, it cannot be saved and completed later. You will need to complete it in one setting (you have a 24-h window to do this). You can review the application questions here [REUapplication_deadline-2-17-21].

Application Portal: Access the application here.