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Summer Research

The MRSEC offers Summer research opportunities that extend its impact beyond the UMN, providing high school teachers, college faculty, and undergraduates with research opportunities that augment their traditional curriculum and increase their understanding of materials science and engineering (MS&E). UMN MRSEC summer research opportunities include Four-year College Faculty-Student Team Fellowships, American Indian Undergraduate Fellowships, Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) programs. Participants perform research in a UMN MRSEC research group from the three UMN MRSEC Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs): Electrostatic Control of Materials, Sustainable Nanocrystal Materials, Hierarchical Multifunctional Macromolecular Materials, or one of the various MRSEC Seed groups.

summer research participants

2017 Summer Programs

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU):
Program dates: June 5 - August 11
Program Description | Application (deadline February 15)
Previous Participants

Research Experiences for Teachers (RET):
Program dates: July 5 - August 11
Program Description | Application (open until filled)
Previous Participants | Publications

American Indian Undergraduate Fellowships:
Program dates: June 5 - August 11
Program Description | Application (deadline February 15)

Faculty/Student Research Teams:
Program dates: June 5 - August 11
Program Description
Faculty Application (deadline February 15)
Student Application (deadline February 15)

Summer Undergraduate Research Expo (SURE)

Thursday, August 10, 2017
4:00 - 6:00 PM
Memorial Hall, McNamara Alumni Center

The Summer Undergraduate Research Expo is an exposition of the research accomplishments of undergraduate from all over the country who come to the University of Minnesota each summer to perform research in the labs of MRSEC and College of Science and Engineering faculty members. Since its inception in 2003, the Summer Undergraduate Research Expo has expanded in scope and size to an annual participation of 100 posters presented by undergraduates from up to 15 different departments/research programs at UMN as well as from several other colleges in the twin cities and surrounding areas.

The goals of the Expo are to increase the cohesion of the summer undergraduate research programs in science and engineering and enhance their exposure to the University and local industrial communities through interaction with UMN faculty and industrial partners.

Poster Registration
Submission deadline: July 30, 2017

Poster Registration Form (closed) | Information for Presenters
Guest Registration Form*
* industry guests, non-UMN faculty, advisors, etc.

Event Programs
Directions and Parking

K-12 Outreach

The MRSEC actively engages in outreach efforts with the K-12 community. In addition to sponsorship of the Physics Force and Energy and U, and ongoing collaborations with ECEPS and the Science Museum of Minnesota, MRSEC researchers frequently host visits by local schools and events for local and national student groups.

Physics Force:
This internationally recognized team of local high school physics teachers led by UMN's Dan Dahlberg has presented educational and entertaining performances to K-12 groups for over 20 years. The MRSEC helps sponsor the annual "Physics Circus" performances each January on the UMN campus, which bring in over 20,000 K-12 students and parents from the greater Twin Cities. The MRSEC also sponsors smaller scale shows throughout the year, e.g., at K-12 schools and Tribal Colleges, and is supporting efforts to train faculty and staff for Physics Force: the Next Generation.

more info

kids on stage

Hands-on activities on stage at Physics Force

Energy and U:
Energy and U is a live, chemical demonstration show developed in 2009 by Marc Hillmyer, David Blank, and Frank Bates. Through a choreographed set of demonstrations, the Energy and U show integrates physical and chemical principles, energy conversion demonstrations, explosions, audience participation, music, gummy bear handouts, and humor. The show gets students to think about energy, define it, understand its conversion from one form to another, and recognize it can’t be made or destroyed; the students come away with some exposure to the first law of thermodynamics! Energy and U performs for close to 10,000 K-12 students each year.

more info

Hillmyer and student at Energy and U

Energy and U
photo by ChemistryUMN

Materials Week:
Materials Week programming offers demonstrations and Hands-on lab activities for K-12 students interested in STEM. MRSEC IRG and Seed faculty have developed a series of 1-2.5 hour Materials Science activities designed to introduce engineering concepts and build interest in STEM. Materials Week activities are currently offered in collaboration with the College of Science and Engineering as part of of the Discover STEM summer camp and through the MRSEC sponsored American Indian Materials Week program.

students working on circuits

Students perform experiments under the guidance of University of Minnesota mentors

Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM)

The Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) program aims to enhance diversity in materials research and education. The MRSEC PREM partnership builds and supports education and research collaborations between the University of Minnesota MRSEC and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, with the goal of strengthening representation of miniority students in materials science.

more info

MN Science Museum

MRSEC faculty and graduate students take advantage of proximity to the Science Museum of Minnesota and regularly help develop exhibits, deliver lectures, and present demonstrations. This collaboration with the SMM extends to the NSF-sponsored Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Network) of multiple science museums and research institutions, whose goal is to work with groups such as the UMN MRSEC to develop and distribute innovative approaches to engaging Americans in nanoscale science and engineering education, research, and technology.

The University is funded through the National Science Foundation MRSEC Program, Award DMR-1420013

Contact Information


435 Amundson Hall, 421 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455

P: 612-626-0713 | F: 612-626-7805