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SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) Program

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program is an 11 week paid internship program which provides students with hands-on research experience under the mentorship of a NIST researcher.  At the end of the 11 weeks, each student is expected to present their work to an audience of other SURF participants, project leaders and their colleagues. The MML/NCNR Material Science SURF program, offered jointly by the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) and the Material Measurement Laboratory (MML), is focused in the areas of Materials Science (Polymers, Ceramics, Metallurgy, etc.) Condensed Matter Science, Bio Materials, Chemical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Computational Science and related fields.  For examples of previous research projects see the presentations on our SURF materials page.  For further information, please  also visit the MML SURF website and the NIST SURF website.

The next program will run from May 26-August 7, 2020 .  

Application are now open and will close on February 3, 2020 OR as soon as 1000 Applications have been received.   

To assure consideration, interested applicants should submit your applications as soon as possible.  While we encourage students to submit a complete application as soon as they can do so with the appropriate level of quality, we note that they will be able to edit their applications for a short while after their initial submission (until, at least, the number of applicants reaches the 1000 applicant cap).  In addition, students should be able to upload completely missing documents or send them to the SURF Coordinator (Brandi Toliver) at a later date if necessary.  The students will  definitely not be able to edit or make additions to their application after Feb 3rd, though it is highly likely that editing access will be closed prior to that date.

Please be aware that requests for letters of recommendations are sent to your references ONLY upon submission of the SURF application.  Early submission also gives your references as much time as possible to upload their confidential letters.  The deadline of Feb 4th for letters of recommendation will be strictly enforced.

Applicants must be U. S. citizens or permanent residents seeking STEM degrees in accredited colleges and universities.  Letters of recommendation must be uploaded with the remainder of the required documents in USAJobs.

For more information or questions regarding the MML/NCNR Material Science SURF program, please contact the SURF Directors.



Support for SURF students at the NCNR is provided by CHRNS  (Center for High Resolution Neutron Scattering), which is a national user facility that is jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and the NCNR


CHRNS logo

Maximizing access for the scientific community to transformative neutron scattering instrumentation

SURF Items of Interest:

27 August 2018

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Research Grants are available from Sigma Xi (application deadline October 1st 2018)


NCNR SURF Accomplishments:


(Click here for complete list)

  1. Mechanical control of crystal symmetry and superconductivity in Weyl semimetal MoTe22, Heikes, C., Liu, I.-L., Metz, T., Eckberg, C., Neves, P., Wu, Y., Hung, L., Piccoli, P., Cao, H., Leao, J., Paglione, J., Yildirim, T., Butch, N.P., and Ratcliff II, W., Arxiv:1804.09093 [cond-mat] (2018)
  2. Structure-property relationships at Nafion thin-film interfaces: Thickness effects on hydration and anisotropic ion transport, DeCaluwe, S.C., Baker, A.M., Bhargava, P., Fischer, J.E., and Dura, J.A., Nano Energy 46, 91–100 (2018)
  3. Relaxation dynamics of saturated and unsaturated oriented lipid bilayers, Nanda, H., García Sakai, V., Khodadadi, S., Tyagi, M.S., Schwalbach, E.J., and Curtis, J.E., Soft Matter 14, 6119–6127 (2018)
2018 Paul Neves Goldwater award
  Daevin Hugh Clifford Beck Award for Academic Excellence in Physics and Engineering
  Daevin Hugh UMD Department of Mechanical Engineering Chairman's Award for Excellence in Academics, Outstanding Service, or Leadership;


(Site under construction.  For corrections, comments, or if you would like your NCNR SURF accomplishment to be added to the site, please email joseph.dura [at] (Joe Dura)) 

MML/NCNR SURF program directors:
Center for Neutron Research
joseph.dura [at] (Dr. Joseph Dura)
100 Bureau Dr, STOP 6102
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-6102
Phone: (301) 975-6251
Email: Joseph.Dura [at]

julie.borchers [at] (Dr. Julie Borchers)
100 Bureau Dr, STOP 6102
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-6102
Phone: (301) 975-6597
Email: Julie.Borchers [at]

Material Measurement Laboratory

Amanda.Forster [at] (Dr. Amanda Forster)
100 Bureau Dr, STOP 8315
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8315
Phone: (301) 975-4912
Email: Amanda.Forster [at]



Created August 24, 2018, Updated December 4, 2019