(613e) Successful Operation of a Multi-Institution NSF REU Site

Authors: 
Weimer, A. W., University of Colorado at Boulder
Medlin, J., University of Colorado

The Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, C2B2 (www.c2b2web.org) was founded in 2006 by the Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory, CERC (www.coloradocollaboratory.org).  Funds came from the State of Colorado to support energy research among the three premier universities in the State – University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; with the objective being that the institutions would partner in renewable energy research and education.   A multi-institution REU program was implemented on a trial basis during the summers of 2008 and 2009 (28 students served) using State of Colorado funds, and then later expanded with the addition of NSF award funding since 2010. The C2B2/NSF REU program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in meaningful research alongside faculty, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students at each of our four partnering institutions.  Along with research duties, all students participate in educational seminars, C2B2 institution site visits, industry site visits, planned social activities, and cultural experiences.  Students learn how researchers of varying disciplines at all four sites collaborate to solve biofuel and biorefining challenges. This program provides the students a rich and diverse ten week experience within the beautiful backdrop of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  On average, 15 to 18 students are served annually depending on the funds available from NSF, C2B2, and related PI research grants.   The program has been overwhelmingly successful and typically considers  > 300 applications/yr.  The C2B2/NSF REU Program is a favorite of faculty and NREL PIs for summer research.   This presentation will discuss how a multi-institutional REU program successfully operates and will provide a framework by which others might consider developing such a program.