NIST -- Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) - Gaithersburg

Funding Agency:
Department of Commerce

NIST is one of the nation's premiere research institutions for the physical and engineering sciences and, as the lead Federal agency for technology transfer, it provides a strong interface between government, industry and academia. NIST embodies a science culture, developed from a large and well-equipped research staff that enthusiastically blends programs that address the immediate needs of industry with longer-term research that anticipates future needs. This occurs in few other places and enables 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), to offer unique research and training opportunities for undergraduates, providing them with a research-rich environment and exposure to state-of-the-art equipment.

The NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program sponsors  a 11-week summer internship program for undergraduate students enrolled at U.S. 2-year and 4-year institutions majoring in chemistry, computer science, engineering, materials science, fire research, nanotechnology, information technology, mathematics, biology, manufacturing, statistics, or other STEM discipline. The program provides students with hands-on research experience under the mentorship of a NIST scientist or engineer in Boulder, CO or Gaithersburg, MD. Students can work on projects in any one of the seven NIST facilities:

  • Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology

  • Communications Technology Laboratory

  • Engineering Laboratory

  • Information Technology Laboratory

  • Material Measurement Laboratory

  • NIST Center for Neutron Research

  • Physical Measurement Laboratory

The student application form should indicate in which laboratory he/she is most interested. The applications will be considered by the student's first choice, then second choice and finally by all programs, with consideration of the student's preferences and research interests. Please circulate the information about this program to other appropriate academic departments and administrative staff at your institution.

SURFing is a partnership, supported by NIST, NSF, and the participating colleges/universities. We anticipate providing meaningful research opportunities for approximately 130 students in the Gaithersburg site-wide program. The NIST facilities are located just outside Washington, DC.


  • Duke Internal Deadline: Your application should be completed and sent to Anastasia Maddox in the Office of Research Support at by January 15, 2018. 
  • Sponsor Deadline: February 12, 2018

Please contact Anastasia Maddox to inform her of your intent to apply so that she may coordinate Duke's submission.


You will find a list of frequently asked questions here:

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

The program is open to United States citizens or U.S. permanent residents only. Students must have a G.P.A. of 3.0/4.0 or better (recommended), and are considering pursuing a graduate degree (M.S. or Ph.D.). Students with physics, material science, chemistry, applied mathematics, computer science, or engineering majors are always encouraged to apply. There may be research opportunities for students with other majors.


Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Engineering and Physical Sciences

Internal Deadline

January 15, 2018

External Deadline

February 12, 2018