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Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
IDEA Incubator for Porous Materials: Integrating Discovery, Engineering and Art 

The IDEA Incubator is an exciting program that seeks to nurture innovations in porous materials by ‘Integrating Discovery, Engineering and Art’ (IDEA). We invite talented students from diverse backgrounds to participate in a 10-week immersive experience at the University of Kansas, conducting semi-independent research and team-based learning.

Program Description

Benefits to the Student

Eligibility Requirments

How to Apply

Research Areas


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

Program dates: May 24 – July 30, 2021        


Students will participate in scientific discussions, laboratory tours, boredom-busting ‘unseminars’, social mixers, team-building activities, and a research symposium.  Playful Friday workshops in a Design Studio will bridge engineering and art to cultivate innovation and a contextual sense of scale.  Storytelling practice, through print and digital media, will help students gain confidence and enhance their public speaking skills.  Our extensive partnerships with nine companies will also help students expand their network of contacts and learn about career opportunities.

  • $5,000 summer stipend
  • Travel costs to and from Lawrence, Kansas (to $800)
  • Summer housing on campus where public transportation is readily available
  • Meal plan


Selection will be based on a variety of factors including current academic standing, letter of recommendation from a faculty member, and a personal essay (1 to 2 pages). The essay is very important.  Use it to demonstrate how the program will benefit your education and future career.  Other admission requirements:

  • USA citizenship or permanent residence status
  • GPA of 2.6 or better
  • Completed freshman year of study with an anticipated graduation date of December 2020 or later
  • Majors:  Chemistry, chemical 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.


Complete the online application by January 25, 2021.

You will need the following documents 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? Why are you interested in participating in this program? What do you hope to learn or gain from this program? What do you aspire to achieve in the future? What are your career goals? Is there any additional information that the reviewers should be award 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. Unofficial College Transcripts as a PDF file (unofficial or "released to student" version is fine)
  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 Claudia Bode at bode@ku.edu2. This person  should write about your academic abilities, accomplishments, level of motivation, communication style, work habits, and potential as a researcher.

If you have questions or need to submit an application by mail, please contact Claudia Bode, bode@ku.edu, 785-864-1647.

Review of applications will begin on January 25, 2021, and continue until all spaces are filled.


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.

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. 

Research projects fall into two main categories, biomedical applications and catalysts.    


*Support for this program is from the National Science Foundation.  We will begin announcing selections in February, 2021.

Upcoming Events and Deadlines

2021 Virtual School of Engineering Recognition Ceremony Set for May 15--- KU Engineering will honor graduates from Summer 2020, Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 with a special video recognition ceremony that will go live on the School of Engineering YouTube channel on Saturday, May 15

Events honoring KU graduates will take place May 16 for the Class of 2021 and May 23 for the Class of 2020 - Learn more @ https://commencement.ku.edu/

Upcoming CPE Graduate Defenses

Link to Seminar Page

Engineering Career Accelerator Lecture Series

School of Engineering Events

KU Calendar