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SURF Application

The SURF 2024 application closed on Jan 31, 2024.

Please apply next year if you are eligible.

Application Tips 

  • Use the SURF Gaithersburg application to apply for fellowships in Gaithersburg, Maryland​​​.
  • Use the SURF Boulder application to apply for fellowships in Boulder, Colorado​​​.
  • Use the SURF Hawaii application to apply for fellowships in Waimanalo, Hawaii​​​.
  • To be considered for multiple locations, apply to the programs (Gaithersburg and Boulder and Hawaii) separately. However, applicants may upload the same documents for each application.
  • Freshmen and graduating seniors (defined as seniors participating in the Winter or Spring Commencement) are encouraged to apply to the program.
  • Additionally, we encourage applications from groups underrepresented in STEM, including those who self-identify as a woman, African American, Black, Hispanic, Latinx, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, a person with a disability, and/or LGBTQI+.
  • We also consider the impact participating in SURF will have on an applicant's future career in research.
  • All projects depend upon the availability of funds.
  • NIST extends offers via email from March 1 -  April 15. Due to a waiting list process, successful applicants must accept promptly after receiving an offer.
  • Visit our FAQ page for more information.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, complete the online application and submit the documents specified in the Required Documents section of the announcement no later than the announcement closing date.

  1. To begin, log in to your USAJOBS account or create a new account at Click Apply Online to access the online application. Follow the prompts. This vacancy does not accept resumes or uploaded documents from USAJOBS. As expected, USAJOBS will notify you that this announcement does not accept USAJOBS resumes or documents. Prompts will direct you to upload documents directly into the application system.  All documents are required and must be submitted for fellowship consideration. PDF is the preferred format for all documents.
  2. Complete the online application, verify the required documentation, and submit the application.
  3. Upon clicking submit at the end of the application process, you will receive an on-screen notification that you have successfully submitted your application. Select Return to USAJOBS to verify your updated status in the USAJOBS Applications section.
  4. Alternatively, to verify the status of your application, log in to your USAJOBS account,, and select Track this application. The Application Status page will display the status of your application, the documentation received and processed, and your responses submitted to the online application. Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process. 
  5. In the status information, you can also see the status of your letters of recommendation. For example, if one letter has been received you will see “1 of 2 references received”. References have up to 3 days after the announcement closing date to submit their letters. If you notice a letter missing and it is close to the deadline, you may want to give your reference a friendly reminder. The system will also send an automated reminder 2 days before the final due date.
  6. To return to your saved application while the announcement is open, log in to your USAJOBS account at and click Applications. Click on the position title, then select Edit my application. You may update your application at any time before the closing of the announcement.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit the online application and supporting documents well before the announcement closing date. 

Problems Completing Your Application

If you have problems completing your online application, including problems submitting your supporting documents, please email surf [at] (surf[at]nist[dot]gov). In your email, specify your application location(s).

You must complete this application and submit all required documents by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on the announcement closing date. Paper applications will not be accepted. 


Created May 27, 2010, Updated February 5, 2024