University of Pittsburgh

Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovations

Undergraduate Programs

National Science Foundation
Sustainability Research: Research Experience for Undergraduates

*Open to all undergraduate Engineering/ Science students at any University*

Check Back in January 2011 to apply for Summer 2011

The purpose of the University of Pittsburgh’s REU program is to create an innovative research experience in sustainable design for a select group of undergraduate engineering students who have high potential to pursue graduate education.  

The hallmark of U.S. engineering has always been the innovative design of new products and processes that are optimized to reflect performance and price requirements. Although engineering designers have focused on these two criteria for over a century, there is a growing recognition that the world’s resources are finite, but its population continues to increase.  This has led to new criteria being added to the equation.  Most prominent among these are the societal concerns of sustainability and, with it, stewardship over the environment.  Our focus strives toward sustainability through the design of next-generation products and processes.  To do this, we must appropriately educate the next generation of engineers and engineering leaders.

Our overall aims are to:

1. Teach undergraduate engineers to routinely incorporate sustainability as a design constraint;

2. Teach engineering undergraduates to work in research teams that progress from initial reliance on faculty and graduate student advisors to reliance on team members over the course of the program; and

3. Demonstrate to engineering undergraduates how their research impacts people and the planet.

To be eligible, a student must be :

  • Pursuing a BS in any engineering or science department, and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher;
  • Interested in pursuing a graduate degree;
  • Interested in sustainable design; and
  • Interested in an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural experience.

Program Highlights

Students will participate in a 12-week summer internship.  Participants will be expected to work approximately 40 hours per week on their research projects. In addition, students will be required to participate in informal group meetings, brown bag sessions, and the research symposium which will be held during the last week of the program.

You will work in a team of 3-4 students.

Recommendations from University of Pittsburgh faculty are encouraged. Faculty can email recommendations to

All participants will receive a monthly stipend. Participants will receive their stipends in three installments.

For additional information please contact: Melissa Bilec at

View List of Past Participants of MCSI Undergraduate Summer Research>

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