About the REU Program

Polymer materials improve the daily lives of nearly every person in the United States. At the end of the 20th century, many mass-produced items like car bumpers started to be made with polymers due to combining good mechanical properties with being lightweight and cost effective.  Technological innovation in the 21st century will also leverage polymer materials in the areas of fuel cells, solar materials, and coatings. Despite recent economic problems, the plastic and polymer industry remains the 3rd largest manufacturing industry in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing U.S. manufacturing sectors. In 2010, the U.S. plastic and polymer industry shipped $327 billion worth of goods, employed 910,000 workers in over 17,000 facilities, and maintained a presence in every state. These statistics demonstrate the importance of educating up-and-coming scientists and engineers in polymer science and engineering.

Overview of Program 

In the REU program, participants will….


•  Produce an original research project with one or multiple faculty members in either     chemistry or chemical and biological engineering;

•  Participate in a mentored exchange program to experience a broad range of polymer     research;

•  Participate in a series of technical workshops providing a broad introduction to polymer     science and engineering;

•  Participate in a complimentary set of workshops on developing as a professional scientist     or engineer;

•  Tour the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to learn how government labs fill a role     of bringing basic research to applied research;

•  Visit Children’s Hospital of Colorado to discover how polymer research is being applied in     a clinical environment;

•  Enjoy organized social events with other REU students, graduate students, and faculty in     the beautiful Rocky Mountain region of Colorado.


Research projects will focus the application of polymers to hot topics such as fuel cells, photovolatics, batteries, optoelectronics, nanomedicines, tissue engineering and membranes. For more information on potential research projects visit the research projects page.

This NSF sponsored REU program in advancing polymer materials will offer a unique interdisciplinary research experience which will combine polymer science (with an emphasis on chemistry) and polymer engineering (with an emphasis on physical and mechanical property optimization). Research experiences such as this will help drive the plastic and polymer industry toward more sophisticated technology, innovative products, and efficient processes by introducing undergraduate students to cutting edge polymer research and technology.

Participant Benefits 

Participants of the REU program will receive…


•  A total stipend of $5,000

•  On-campus housing at Mines

•  Full access to computing, library, and recreation     services on campus

•  A travel allowance to help with costs for traveling to     and from Golden


To be eligible, students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must be enrolled in an undergraduate program at a college or university through Fall 2016 (sorry, graduating seniors cannot be accepted).