It’s December – time to apply for summer research!

Are you an undergraduate student, or do you know any undergraduate students? If the answer is yes, this blog post is for you! Believe it or not, many summer research programs have application deadlines in January or February, which means that winter break is the perfect time for undergrads to be thinking and planning for what they will do this coming summer.

Did you know that many summer research programs pay stipends and provide housing and travel? Did you know that many do not require any previous research experience? Students in any field can find summer opportunities relevant to their interests; in this post, we want to share a few great resources for students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Summer isn’t too far away! (image by Vicko Mozara)

Education research has found that participating in research as an undergraduate can be an important factor in whether students stick with STEM majors and careers, especially for those from underrepresented backgrounds.1-4 Promoting research opportunities for undergraduates from all backgrounds is very much in keeping with the goals of the National Science Foundation, which funds the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology and other Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCIs).

Five CCIs are offering summer research opportunities this summer, and you can find links to all of them at

  • Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment (CAICE)
  • Center for Selective C-H Functionalization (CCHF)
  • Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP)
  • Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (CSN)
  • Center for Chemical Evolution (CCE)

We CCIs are far from the only places to find exciting summer research opportunities. A couple of other great sources to start your search include:

If you just want some interesting reading about summer research from the perspective of a professor at a primarily undergraduate institution, I definitely recommend Small Pond Science.

What other resources or programs do you recommend? If you’re an undergrad, what questions do you have about summer research? Let us know in the comments or on social media!


  1. Adams, G. Staying in chemistry: factors that predict undergraduate retention and recruitment at a top‐ranked chemistry program and university. Dissertation: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2016.
  2. Eagan Jr, M. K. et al. Making a difference in science education: the impact of undergraduate research programs. American Educational Research Journal. 2013, 50 (4), 683-713. doi: 10.3102/0002831213482038
  3. Gilmore, J. et al. The Relationship between Undergraduate Research Participation and Subsequent Research Performance of Early Career STEM Graduate Students. The Journal of Higher Education. 2015, 86 (6), 834-863. doi: 10.1080/00221546.2015.11777386
  4. Espinosa, L. Pipelines and Pathways: Women of Color in Undergraduate STEM Majors and the College Experiences That Contribute to Persistence. Harvard Educational Review. 2011, 81 (2), 209-241. doi: 10.17763/haer.81.2.92315ww157656k3u