Summer Research

Students conduct an experiment in microgravity with NASA. They demonstrated and recorded human response to using an iPAD aboard the 'Weightless Wonder.' The results were used by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Summer is an ideal time for you to dive into research, either on campus, at another elite university, research institute, or company.

It provides an extended, concentrated amount of time to focus on a certain research topic without the obligations of a standard semester courseload. Following are some opportunities available to you.

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) are offered by different universities, institutions, and agencies nationwide. These experiences give you the opportunity to actively participate in research and work with faculty and researchers on ongoing research projects.


Through these experiences, you develop not just your research skills, but also your interpersonal skills. You are able to explore your fields of interest, do research, and build relationships with scholars in these fields. If you're interested in graduate school, this experience may open doors to that opportunity. These are also great ways to make new friends and to travel!

National Science Foundation REU

The National Science Foundation (NSF) REU provides indirect funding for undergraduate students to participate in research. The NSF REU program sites may be based in a single discipline or academic department or may offer interdisciplinary or multi-departmental research opportunities with a coherent intellectual theme.

An NSF REU site may be located in either the United States or different country. Students participating in REUs are generally provided a stipend, housing, and transportation to and from the site.

REUs at Illinois

International Research Opportunities

Engineering departments have partnerships with universities abroad and offer research opportunities for undergraduate students.

Illinois-Sweden Program for Educational and Research Exchange (INSPIRE)

X-FU(s)ION International Research Internship in Japan
The Illinois renewable energy PIRE project is currently accepting applications from outstanding undergraduate students to carry out 2 month paid undergraduate research internship in Kyushu University (KU), Japan. The goal of the x-FU(s)ION international research internship is to increase students' awareness, exposure and motivation about renewable energy research and provide students with a unique global workforce experience. All award recipients are required to present the results of their project (as a poster presentation) at the PIRE annual meeting.

Summer Research through the International Programs in Engineering (IPENG)
IPENG provides international engineering research abroad opportunities to engineering students within the College of Engineering at Urbana-Champaign. These opportunities are offered in the summer, fall, or spring semesters.
ALL Research is reviewed by the respective chief department advisors upon return to campus to determine if a student will receive technical credit.

Hong Kong – City University

Students will participate in a summer research internship where they participate in two workshop-based “courses” in science and engineering. CityU will direct students to the appropriate laboratory according to their background information provided in the application and CV. Possible research areas are:

  • Civil, Structural Geotechnical and Architectural Engineering
  • Coastal Pollution and Conservation
  • Software Engineering
  • Electronic packaging
  • Communication Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics and Computational Mathematics
  • Manufacturing and Quality Engineering
  • Mechatronics and Automation
  • Physics and Materials Science

In addition to research, students will participate in outside cultural activities and industrial visits to gain a brief understanding of industrial establishments in Hong Kong and a better understanding of Chinese culture.

CityU (Hong Kong) Summer Research Program

Germany – Technical University of Darmstadt

You can choose a research project in the IREP project database or suggest your own project for the summer, fall, or spring semester. Under the supervision of an international research group and your individual IREP supervisor, you will learn the newest research methods and how to apply these state-of-the-art research skills to real-life scientific problems while improving your ability to communicate and team-work. Your IREP supervisor will support and guide you throughout your research project. At the end of the research project, you are required to compile your results and solutions in a scientific paper and give a final presentation to fellow researchers.

To foster a better understanding of Germany and help you to navigate through everyday life, you will be introduced to German language and culture by means of the orientation program at the beginning of the program. An inter-cultural workshop, guided tours, and an excursion to Heidelberg will round up this exciting program.

If you participate in research in the fall or spring term, courses can be taken in social sciences, humanities and even in technical areas. School begins in October and runs through July with a two month break. Students usually arrive in Darmstadt around the first part of September to participate in an intensive language session.

Darmstadt (Germany) International Research Experience Program (IREP)

Singapore – National University of Singapore

Spend 8 weeks conducting research at one of the top universities in Asia and the world. NUS is internationally respected for its high-quality research in science, technology and the humanities — and, increasingly, at the interfaces between these areas.

NUS (Singapore) Summer Research Program

South Korea – Pohang University of Science and Technology

Students may choose to only do research during the summer study program at POSTECH, or they may do research and participate in the POSTECH English Only Dormitory Program (PENDP). The PENDP program is designed to boost Korean students’ confidence and communicative skills in English. Students who participate in the PENDP portion of the program are required to use English at all times while they are staying in their dorm and have to attend several activities led by group leaders. Students participating in the PENDP program may also receive a stipend for their participation.

Pohang (South Korea) Summer Research Program

Spain – University Pontificia Comillas, Madrid

Students will spend 4 or 8 weeks during May and/or June/July taking language and culture classes, and performing research in UPCo labs under the technical guidance and supervision of skilled professors with a good command of the English language.

University Pontificia Comillas (Madrid, Spain) Summer Research

Taiwan – National Taiwan University, Taipei

Laboratory Research starts on the second day of the program and is held six hours daily Monday thru Friday. Language and Culture classes are held 1 day per week for 2 hours, and there are some field trips during the program.

Summer Program for Laboratory Research and Culture (Taiwan)


Application Deadlines

  • Fall and Academic Year – February 15 (prior to academic year of program participation)
  • Spring – September 15
  • Summer – February 15

Global Research Scholars

Global Research Scholars (GRS) is a unique, research-intensive study abroad program designed for talented undergraduate students of all engineering majors. The program combines a study abroad experience with the opportunity to join a research team abroad at an IPENG partner school. GRS participants receive a scholarship and present their research findings in the fall at the International Research Symposium that is part of the Engineering Research Fair.

Application Deadline: November 15