Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Solve Compelling Research Challenges Over the Summer

Supported by the National Science Foudnation (NSF), Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs at WPI enable you to spend 8-10 weeks contributing to cutting-edge STEM research projects that have the potential to change the world.

In one of WPI’s REU programs, you will participate in a distinctive experience in which you will build research skills while gaining professional development training, establishing a professional network, and performing work that matters.


Current WPI REUs

Bioengineering Research, Career Development, and Outreach

The WPI Bioengineering Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) is a collaboration with the National Science Foundation to bring bioengineering, research, education, and outreach experiences to 10 undergraduate students (U.S. citizens and permanent residents) from traditionally disadvantaged groups: racial and ethnic minorities, women, and students from low socioeconomic status communities. The program will run from May 30 to August 4, 2023.

The WPI REU Site in Bioengineering research offers students an opportunity to join one of many interdisciplinary research teams for a summer research project. Examples of the types of research projects REU participants will pursue include tissue engineering, disease modeling, wound healing, and low-cost medical devices.

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Data Science Research for Healthy Communities in the Digital Age

The WPI Data Science program has successfully operated this REU site since 2016, offering students from geographically diverse institutions around the country access to vibrant scientific research projects and undergraduate mentorship. The students, working with WPI faculty and other students, learn about state-of-the-art data science techniques and technologies including machine learning, artificial intelligence, visualization, and big data technologies.  They apply this information to research focused on solving societal challenges with high societal impact in our communities. Research topics include digital health, sustainability, and mobility, all of which are interlinked concerns of critical national importance. Students present the results of their research at an open poster session during the final week of the program, and, where appropriate, at scholarly venues and conferences. Students also take field trips to tech companies.

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Developing a Clean Energy Future

Clean Energy Science and Technology offers chemistry, physics and engineering students an opportunity to join one of the many interdisciplinary research teams in the WPI Energy Research Group for a summer research project. In addition to carrying out cutting​-edge research, REU participants will attend weekly professional development seminars and workshops. They will learn about careers in renewable energy, nonprofits, the government sector, academic research, and STEM education. The REU program will conclude with the final poster presentation.

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Industrial Mathematics and Statistics

What is the role of a mathematician in business and industry? What is it like to work with technical experts on a problem that requires significant mathematics, but also must satisfy real-world constraints? Students work in teams on real problems that come directly from business and industry and they work closely with a company representative to define the problem and develop solutions of immediate value to the company. They are guided by a faculty advisor in the Mathematical Sciences Department to maintain a clear focus on the mathematical issues at the core of the project.

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Learning Sciences and Technology- Leveraging The Learning Sciences & Technologies to Enhance Education and Learning in Secondary Schools

Hosted by Dr. Neil Heffernan, This Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute will provide a ten-week summer undergraduate research experience in learning sciences and technologies, with a focus on understanding achievement gaps among secondary school students. The increased use of educational technology has increased the amount of educational data available to researchers. These data contain knowledge that could be analyzed to enhance understanding of how students best learn and how best to teach them. This REU will enable young researchers to analyze this data and contribute to understanding high-impact teaching practices, how to group learners for instruction, and what type of feedback or remediation is most applicable to a learner. These research activities will provide new information about the effectiveness of both technological and traditional educational interventions for a variety of learners in secondary school classrooms. Undergraduates will analyze data using educational data mining techniques, such as student modeling to better estimate intervention impacts and clustering to determine which students are most similar. Participating students will enjoy in person, larger group activities with the REU site hosted by Dr. Rundensteiner in Data Science.

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Materials Science and Manufacturing Engineering

This REU project sponsored by NSF and WPI’s Materials Science and Manufacturing Engineering Department will study the savings in greenhouse gas emissions when specific automotive parts are reclaimed and reused for vehicle repairs, compared to using a newly manufactured part for the same purpose. 

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Membrane Biochemistry and Bioinspired Synthesis

WPI’s Chemistry REU offers a comprehensive experience in research project work, while also presenting opportunities to participate in a weekly seminar series. Students study topics including career development and scientific ethics. Students also participate in a summer research conference with other WPI REU sites and two students have the opportunity to present at an ACS National Meeting. Students will start to form a research network of their own as they get to know other REU participants through social activities such as cookouts, a whitewater rafting trip, hiking excursions, a trip to Boston, a classical concert at Tanglewood, and opportunities to attend sporting events.

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