The Integrated Research Experience for Undergraduates programs in Chemistry and Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemistry of Materials for Renewable Energy, Materials, and Chemical Upcycling of Waste Plastics provide students interested in chemical-related sciences and engineering the opportunity to pursue summer research in four, themed summer programs. Together, participants in all four programs form a larger community of researchers.
Students participating in this program explore phenomena in the fields of chemistry and chemical and biological engineering through hands-on research projects in the laboratories of faculty in the Department of Chemistry or Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Students participating in this program conduct research in an area of materials science, engineering, physics, chemistry, science education or public policy in one of the laboratories of the Wisconsin Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).
Students participating in this program conduct research on the development of new materials for renewable energy, including projects on bioenergy. Projects are housed in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Through support for the U.S. Department of Energy, the Multi-University Center for the Chemical Upcycling of Waste Plastics (CUWP) is hosting a Research Experience for Undergraduates in the Chemical Upcycling of Waste Plastics. Student positions will be available at CUWP campuses at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Iowa State University. Selected participants will cconduct research on one of two approaches to recycling plastic waste: (1) thermal depolymerization, in which the plastic is broken down into a liquid oil which can then be catalyzed to separate out plastic monomers, the main components in new virgin plastic and (2) solvent-targeted recovery and precipitation (STRAP) processing, a technique that can be used to process and recycle layered plastic films.
Eligible students are undergraduates majoring in mathematics, chemistry, physics, engineering, biotechnology-related areas, other physical sciences, science education, or public policy who have a strong desire to complete a Ph.D. and meet the following criteria:
- Students who have completed their sophomore or junior year of college
- Students with an overall GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
- Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents enrolled in accredited colleges or universities
- 10-week research experience in the lab of a UW-Madison* faculty member
- Multiple, faculty-led seminars each week on various topics
- A special seminar on applying to, surviving, and excelling in graduate school
- An end-of-summer REU poster session in which students present their research results and conclusions
- Social activities with students from other REU programs
*The CUWP program also offers opportunities at additional participating universities.