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About the SCI REU Summer Program

Program Objectives 

The NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program managed by the Smalley-Curl Institute (SCI) brings students to Rice University for an eight to ten week interdisciplinary research program. The focus is on providing highly promising undergraduate students, frequently from schools with limited research experiences and resources, with a jump start into many aspects of research that cannot be learned within the typical undergraduate classroom experience.

Each student works directly within the research group of a faculty mentor from one of the science and engineering departments within SCI. Each project is designed to be part of the longer term research program of the faculty mentor, but individual to the student and manageable within ten weeks.

For most REU participants, this involves an accelerated learning period where they become familiar with a new field and depend on the undergrads, grads, postdocs and faculty advisor to show them the relevant literature, lab expertise, fabrication, instrumentation and computer skills.

This leads into the major period of research where they are given the responsibility for bringing the project to a successful completion. The students are collectively exposed to a range of disciplines through interactions with a variety of research groups in other labs, weekly seminars by graduate students and frequent scientific and social interactions (and joint housing) with the other REU students. REU participants are usually highly motivated, and their motivation typically increases when they learn of each other's progress. On the last day, students present their work at the SCI Summer Research Colloquium.


This REU site, the first such site at Rice University, has been in continuous operation since 1996 and is currently funded through 2015. A renewal proposal has been submitted to the NSF to continue the program. 


Supported by: The National Science Foundation (NSF) REU Program