Our REU Program

The UAB National Science Foundation – Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) “Regional Initiative to Promote Undergraduate Participation in Experimental and Computational Materials Research”

The NSF REU program is a 10-week program that typically involves a hands-on research experience for undergraduate students, whereby participants work in the labs of some of UAB’s renown scientists. However, due to COVID-19, the Summer 2021  program will offer a 10-week flexible hybrid summer program during May 2021 – August 2021.

As of March 9, 2021, the University has approved on-site summer research programs such as ours. Our participants now have the option to participate on-site at our Birmingham campus with lab access or choose to participate in our hybrid model (remotely) as was the case prior to the UA system’s approval of on-site participation.

Strict guidelines set by the UA System, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Department of Physics as well as the Center for Nanoscale Materials and Biointergration must be adhered to by all persons on campus (including but not limited to masking, social distancing, hand washing and sanitization.  Additional info or requirements my be in place with regard COVID-19 testing and vaccination.

The program will pay $5,000 over the entire work period and will involve 400 hours of remote/hybrid research with a UAB faculty mentor. The research represents actual projects that will contribute, in some way, to the work already being conducted in the labs.

In the video, REU Program Director, Dr. Yogesh K. Vohra discusses the objective of the REU Program, followed by 2013 REU Robert Reeves (pictured), explaining his research project and how it fit into the overall scheme of existing work being conducted in the lab.

Approach to Undergraduate Training

CNMB basic philosophy is to have Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) students work on research projects, which are simple to comprehend and have some short-term achievable milestones, but simultaneously contribute to longer-term scientific goals and technological applications. These projects should not only be challenging but engaging to our REU participants so that they are motivated to learn more about the research area as well to seriously consider graduate studies. Our teaming arrangement with faculty and graduate students, giving poster and oral presentations, writing a research-style paper, and attending training seminars in scientific communications and ethics have helped past REU students see the “big picture” of what it takes to develop into a “research scientist” with the critical skills needed for analyzing, interpreting and presenting scientific data. Lastly, most of the research projects have been a strong interdisciplinary flavor, lying at the interfaces of physics, chemistry, materials science, and biomedical engineering

Faculty Mentors

One of the most often asked questions that we get is “how are mentors selected?”  We are proud to say that our REU participants play an active role in selecting their own project/mentor.  On the second day of the program, faculty mentors will make Power Point presentations about their available research projects.  We ask participants to select 3 projects for which they are most interested.  Participants then meet with the top 3 faculty of choice and from there, a mutual decision will be made as to which project you will be assigned.


    • The program is open only to United States Citizens and permanent residents of the United States that are
    • Currently enrolled in a U.S. institute of higher education and who will not be graduating prior to the Spring semester of the program year.  (In other words, applicants must be returning to an undergraduate program after participating in the program).
    • Must be available for the entire 10 weeks (May 2021 through August 2021)

The REU program will pay a $5,000 stipend for the ten-week period, plus additional support for travel, housing, and other expenses.  Housing is provided for participants whose primary resident is not in the Metro Birmingham area.

Our Commitment to Diversity

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) remains fully committed to equal employment opportunity, affirmative action, nondiscrimination and the prevention of unlawful harassment in employment, education and the participation in university programs. Therefore, we reaffirm our full support for diversity and equal education and opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, national origin, disability unrelated to job or program performance, veteran status, or genetic or family medical history. Discriminatory harassment, whether sexual or non-sexual, is strictly prohibited. (See the University’s full Affirmative Action:  Equal Employment Opportunity statement here).

Application Deadline: Extended to April 1, 2021
2019 PROGRAM DATES: May 2021- August  2021

This REU-Site is supported by a grant from the Division of Materials Research, National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA-Alabama Space Grant Consortium.

Dr. Yogesh K. Vohra
Director, REU Program
(205) 934-6662

Charita H. Cadenhead
Program Coordinator II
(205) 975-8076
(205) 975-8009 (Fax)

Department of Physics
University of Alabama at Birmingham