The SURF Program is designed to inspire undergraduate students to pursue careers in STEM through a unique research experience that supports the National Institute of Standards and Technology mission. Since 1993, SURF students from across the country have had the opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience, working with cutting edge technology in one of the world's leading research organizations and home to three Nobel Prize winners. Over the course of 11 weeks, SURF students contribute to the ongoing research of one of the seven NIST facilities which are the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST), Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL), Engineering Laboratory (EL), Information Technology Laboratory (ITL), Material Measurement Laboratory (MML), NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), and Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML). The SURF Program is administered at the Boulder, Colorado, and Gaithersburg, Maryland locations. plications for participation in the SURF Program.
- Open to all United States citizens or permanent residents.
- Applicants must be enrolled as undergraduates in U.S. colleges or universities as of the application deadline date.
- Students must have a GPA of 3.0/4.0 or better (recommended), and are considering pursuing a graduate degree (MS or PhD).
- Students with physics, material science, chemistry, applied mathematics, computer science, or engineering majors are always encouraged to apply.
Students who are interested in applying to the MML/NCNR SURF should contact Karen Dunn in the Office of Research and Technology Management. (Contact info is below.) Application packages must be submitted by the student’s academic institution.
When applying, students should indicate their first- and second-choice programs from among the six possible choices. Applications may be considered by any of the programs, with preference given to the student’s indicated choices.
Applications consist of two parts:
- Students must provide student cover sheet, student application information form, copies of their transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a letter of intent or personal statement. The letter should contain information that helps the review committee make an informed decision about the student, such as why the student wants to participate in the SURF program in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and what areas of NIST research interest the student.
- The student's university must submit a grant proposal that provides details about its academic program and must nominate one or more students. Additionally, the university submits the student and university application materials via grants.gov.
The application package includes the following documents:
- Institution application component
- Instructions for filling out the federal Forms
- Combination of all federal forms (NOTE: The copies of forms are for information only and can not be submitted with your application package. You must download the application package using the grants.gov compatible software.)
- Sample proposal
- Student application components
- Cover sheet
- Student application information form
- Two letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency
The application package is available here.
Value of the Award
SURF students receive stipends and housing and travel allotments (as needed). Students who complete the full 11-week program will receive a $5,500 stipend. Students that can not make the full 11-week program will be paid at $500 per week.
Office of Research Administration
615 Nord Hall
NIST SURF Managing Program Director