Covid-19 Info Center

April 17, 2020

Summer research opportunities: We need your help

Dear colleagues,

Many of you know that this year is UROP’s 50th anniversary, and as faculty mentors you contribute to the program’s enduring success and extraordinary impact. In this unprecedented moment, we need your help to ensure that our students have access to robust summer research experiences.

UROP’s direct funding application for summer opened Thursday, April 16 (deadline is Thursday, May 7), and we’re bracing for record student demand for UROPs given the cancellation of many summer opportunities (e.g., MISTI, industry internships) due to Covid-19. We’re working to respond to current conditions and projected demand by:

  • Providing meaningful summer opportunities to as many students as possible;
  • Maximizing earning opportunities for students with financial need; and
  • Thinking creatively about how to stretch our limited resources.

We can’t achieve these goals without you, and you can help in a number of ways.

We need faculty and DLCs to continue designing great research experiences for our students. While there’s been no official decision about summer campus access yet, projects will need to be remote-friendly for at least part and possibly all of the summer, and we’re developing new resources to help support virtualization as we speak. (On a related note, if you have a spring remote UROP experience—success story or lesson learned—that you’d like to share, please let us know.)

We’re asking departments and faculty to step up outreach or advertising for UROP—we really want to make it easy for students to find and approach you, even though we’re not all on campus together. Please promote opportunities widely—on the UROP website and through your DLC channels.

We’re hoping that you can help us increase the number of UROP positions with contributions from your departmental or discretionary funds. We know that budgets are constrained, but investing in UROP students yields an excellent return, both in terms of the educational benefit and our ability to financially support our students.

Finally, this summer we will offer UROPs for credit at no-cost to students. The credit option (and one-time-only tuition waiver) will allow us to preserve and prioritize funding for students with financial need, relieve some of the financial pressure on UROP funding (direct and departmental), and allow MIT to support substantially more students overall. Please let your students know that this is an option, and encourage them to consider it if it’s financially feasible for them.

If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for all that you do for our students.


Michael Bergren
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research