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Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN) Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) Fellowships

NCN URE is proud to partner with Purdue University's SURF program, which ran May 21–August 3 in 2018. 

Group photo of 2017 NCN SURF undergraduate students

The NCN-URE + SURF program provides an 11-week paid research experience for rising juniors and seniors currently enrolled in U.S. universities who are interested in computational nanotechnology, which encompasses a wide range of cutting-edge topics across many engineering and science disciplines.  Participants work with leading nanotechnology research groups at Purdue University to develop simulation tools for physical processes, systems, and devices. These tools are then published on

Projects are interdisciplinary, and may be suitable for students with majors in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Materials Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, or other science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields.  See the Summer 2018 Research page for more details on some of the research areas. Examples of work done by previous NCN-SURF students are listed at the Past Undergraduate Research page.

The program is on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, IN, and the 2018 stipend for full participation (M-F, 9-5) is $4,500 plus a housing allowance and paid travel for visiting students.

In addition to working with a research group in an "undergraduate student - graduate student mentor - faculty adviser" team, NCN-SURF students participate in professional development activities, attend research seminars, present their research at the SURF Symposium at the end of the fellowship, publish a simulation tool on nanoHUB, and publish a research paper in Purdue ePubs, the Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research, or a discipline-appropriate research journal.

Note: NCN SURF projects involve a lot of computer coding, and while very rewarding, are not a traditional experimental lab experience.

A successful SURF applicant will have the following qualities:

Good Communication Skills

  • With team members, supervisor
  • With peers from other engineering disciplines

Programming Experience

  • Ability to code in at least one language such as C or Python
  • Willingness to learn a new programming language

Strong work ethic

  • Ability to plan work and meet deadlines
  • Experience working on projects and working in teams

Want to know more about the experience you'll have as an NCN-SURF participant?

Check out the November 2014 nanoHUB Newsletter, which features an interview with Anubha Mathur, an NCN-SURF 2014 participant who is continuing her research in Professor Peter Bermel's group.