Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

REU IDEA Incubator

A 10-week (May 22 - July 28, 2023) immersive research program where students will conduct semi-independent research and participate in team-based learning.
Fifteen participants from the summer 2020 R.E.U. program standing on staircase in Slawson Hall Atrium

Application Links

Current KU students: follow the link below to submit application (Deadline March 20, 2023)

Non-KU students: applications are now open! Please follow the link below to submit your application! Extended application deadline: May 9th, 2023.
Application link will remain open until all spots are filled. It is not too late to apply!

Explore the Research:

Learn more about the research areas and review past REU projects titles and alumni.

About the Program

The IDEA Incubator is an exciting program that seeks to nurture innovations in porous materials by ‘Integrating Discovery, Engineering and Art’ (IDEA). Students will participate in 'unseminars' designed to improve scientific communication to a wide range of audiences through art. Workshops will bridge engineering and art through a variety of forms such as print screening, drawings, storyboards, and more. These sessions will build student confidence and enhance their public speaking skills. The education component of this REU utilizes art as a tool to help students contextualize their research projects with a sense of scale. The research projects will all relate to porous media. See "Why Porous Media?" below to learn more.

Research projects will focus on nurturing innovations in porous materials, which are of interest to scientists and industry because of their wide-variety of biomedical and chemical applications. For example, porous materials are used as adsorbents and membranes for separation, as catalysts for chemical reactions, and as scaffolds for tissue engineering. 

With a plethora of applications and wide-range of types, this arena is ideal for tinkering—and ripe for discovery and innovation. A host of variables can be altered and tested, from the composition of the pores and supporting matrix to the number, size, shape, and arrangement of the pores. REU participants will explore, learn and grow as researchers within this framework.

Projects will focus on a range of porous materials, including nanopores (pores <100 nm), micropores (<2 nm), mesopores (2-50 nm), and macropores (>50 nm).  Students will learn about how the distribution of pore size, shape and volume relates to the material’s function in targeted applications, while also learning about transferable concepts, such as mass transfer, thermodynamics and kinetics.

See REU Research Areas to learn more about potential projects in porous media.

The goal of this program is to expose diverse students to an empowering learning and research experience that will cultivate innovative thinking, enhance communication skills, foster a solid understanding of size and scale, and encourage graduate school pursuits and careers in science and engineering.

We aim for clearly defined projects with objectives and expectations that are achievable by undergraduates within 10-weeks. The projects are designed as an integrative system to ensure that students experience multiple aspects of design, synthesis, characterization and application. The collaborative nature of these projects will prepare students for doing research in both academic and professional settings in the future where collaboration is essential.  Students will work with faculty and graduate student mentors in an inclusive learning environment with state-of-the-art facilities at KU’s Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering.

Applications open: March 28 2023

Application Extended deadline: April 27th 2023 (Application link will remain open until all spots are filled. It is not too late to apply!)

Summer 2023 program dates: May 22 – July 28

Students will participate in scientific discussions, laboratory tours, boredom-busting ‘unseminars’, social mixers, team-building activities, and a research symposium. Storytelling practice, through print and digital media, will help students gain confidence and enhance their public speaking skills. Professional development workshops will help prepare students for both graduate school and industry. Our extensive partnerships with nine companies will also help students expand their network of contacts and learn about career opportunities.

  • $6,000 summer stipend
  • Travel costs to and from Lawrence, Kansas (up to $550)
  • Summer housing on campus where public transportation is readily available
  • Meal plan
  • State-of-the-art labs
  • Inclusive environment
  • Industry contacts
  • Safety training
  • Team research
  • Lab tours
  • Professional development

Online application open now! See application links section above.

The application consists of general background information, a few short answer questions about your interest in research and this program, a personal essay, and letter of recommendation.

Before you get started, consider the following documents you will need to complete your application:

  1. Personal Essay -- This essay should cover four areas: Background, Achievements, Motivations, and Aspirations. In other words, please address the following: What is your background? Have you had any special academic achievements? What do you aspire to achieve in the future? What are your career goals? Is there any additional information that the reviewers should be aware of? (Format: PDF file, 2 pages maximum, 12pt font, standard margins, single or double spacing will be accepted and is up to the applicant)
  2. Short Answer -- In 200 words or less answer the questions: What role might art play in engineering and innovation? What is it about this REU program that excites you?
  3. Letter of Recommendation -- you will need to ask a person who is familiar with you to email a letter of recommendation on your behalf to Prof. Felipe Anaya at This person should write about your academic abilities, accomplishments, level of motivation, communication style, work habits, and potential as a researcher.

Selection will be based on a variety of factors including current academic standing, letter of recommendation, short answer questions, and a personal essay. The essay and short answer questions are very important.  Use them to demonstrate how the program will benefit your education and future career.

Project matching will be based on both faculty and topic availability. We try to match students with the top research areas they express interest with on the application but cannot guarantee top pick.

KU students freshman through junior in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering are encouraged to apply! Please make sure you use the "KU Students" application form only. KU students are funded through the Kerm Campbell fellowship or through departmental scholarships. Kerm fellows receive a stipend, housing and meals while department scholarship recipients are eligible for a stipend but housing and meals are not included.

Other admission requirements:

  • USA citizenship or permanent residence status (For non-KU students)
  • GPA of 2.6 or better
  • Completed freshman year of study with an anticipated graduation date of December 2022 or later
  • Majors:  Chemistry, chemical engineering, petroleum engineering, biomedical engineering, bioengineering or a closely related field
  • No previous research experience is necessary

We strongly encourage students from minority serving institutions and community colleges to apply.  Women, minorities, and students with disabilities are also encouraged to apply. The University of Kansas is an equal opportunity institution, and our Academic Achievement and Access Center is dedicated to providing necessary services for individuals with special needs.


Questions about the program? Contact Felipe Anaya at

REU Summer Variety Show 2022