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National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (NREUP)

The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) supports the participation of mathematics undergraduates from underrepresented groups in focused and challenging research experiences to increase their interest in advanced degrees and careers in mathematics. Each year mathematical sciences faculty are invited to apply for a grant to host National Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program at their own campus over the summer. NREUP is structured both to increase undergraduate completion rates and encourage more students to pursue graduate study by exposing them to research experiences after they complete their sophomore year (at this point in their studies, students typically have a strong background in calculus and a course such as linear algebra or differential equations with some degree of exposure to the proof-based mathematics needed prior to undertaking a research project). NREUP is designed to reach minority students at a critical point in their career path - midway through their undergraduate programs. As course work becomes more abstract and students are required to work independently, many promising students are not able to adjust to the demands of a major in mathematics, but with a strong connection to a faculty mentor established through the NREUP, students are given the tools they need to succeed.

About the Program
About the Program
How to Apply
How to Apply
Previous Cohorts
Previous Cohorts
Contact Us
Contact Us

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Support for this Program

Support for this Mathematical Association of America (MAA) program is provided by the National Science Foundation, Award #DMS-1950644.

 


About this Program

A fundamental problem at the undergraduate level is that Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and American Indian/Alaska Native minority students complete college at lower rates than majority students and many of them change to non-quantitative majors along the way. These groups are even more underrepresented in the mathematical sciences.Many studies have established the need to attract minority students in the United States to careers in mathematics, science, and engineering and reinforced the notion that we will be unable to meet our nation’s needs unless we tap this population. We have a responsibility to members of minority groups, predicted to become the majority in America, to assist them in seizing opportunities in fields with high economic potential and a high degree of job satisfaction.

Since 2003, through the National REU Program (NREUP), the MAA has been helping faculty recruit and mentor undergraduate research students from traditionally underrepresented groups. The program began when the MAA conducted a pilot version of this project in summer 2003 using funds from the National Security Agency (NSA) that served eight students at three sites. Since then, NREUP has grown from the pilot program to a fully developed program, having received funding from the Moody Foundation, NSA and NSF.

Objectives

The NREUP aims to:

  • Create opportunities for deep and meaningful undergraduate research.
  • Build faculty capacity and develop a workforce that can support and mentor all students.
  • Create a sense of belonging and community.

Nature of the Grant

The MAA invites mathematical sciences faculty to apply for grants to host an MAA Student Research Program on their own campuses for at least seven weeks during summer. The faculty member should construct a program that will provide an appropriate and supportive research environment for undergraduate students, who are usually in their first research experience. In their proposal, the faculty member should discuss how they will build student ability and interest in persisting and thriving in the mathematical sciences, by making sure they can include details of both the mathematical research content and problems and the mentoring environment. A full list of proposal requirements can be found here

These grants will support stipends for one faculty researcher and a minimum of four local minority undergraduates, as well as costs for student room and board.

The budget:

  • can include up to $5,500 for a faculty stipend,
  • can include at least $3,500 stipend per student and up to $2,000 per student for room and board. At least four students must be supported at each site.
  • Direct costs for each grant will not exceed $27,500.
  • Indirect or F&A costs must be included in the budget in addition to direct costs.

How To Apply

To apply for an MAA NREUP Grant, you must submit an application through Amplifund, our online application portal. You will need to create a free account within the Amplifund system. If awarded, this account will be used to administer your award, so please be sure to enter all of your contact information correctly.

Currently, we are not accepting applications for NREUP. We expect the application portal to open for the 2021-22 cycle on or about November 2, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Create an Amplifund Account

On the "Application Details" page, click "Apply". On the next screen, click "Register". Enter the information as requested, and read and accept the terms and conditions. You may now complete your application.

Who May Apply

Applications are accepted from faculty at colleges and universities. Students may not apply; however, they can discuss this opportunity with their mathematics faculty to see if they would be interested in leading an NREUP.

The NREUP is designed to engage underrepresented students in mathematics, specifically ethnic minorities (African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders). However, there is no set of descriptors that can be entirely defining as a minority, and faculty advisors should make a case in their proposal if student eligibility is in question. Ethnic/racial identity is self-reporting, and for NREUP’s purposes, should follow the categories of the U.S. Bureau of the Census. White and Asian students are not considered “underrepresented groups” in mathematics. For the purposes of NREUP, the students must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. or U.S. territories.   

Please note that PIs and institutions that have REU sites supported by National Science Foundation's Division of Mathematical Sciences REU sites are ineligible to receive funding from the MAA NREUP grant. 

Proposal Requirements

The MAA will select the best from competing proposals with advice from an external review panel. The project description of each proposal must include details on the research focus and two sample research problems. It will be strongly stressed to the student participants that they are expected to complete original research and write up their results individually or jointly in a format appropriate for publication, present the results in extramural venues, and submit the results to appropriate professional journals for publication. The project should provide them with training to be able to do this. The project description should describe how this encouragement and training will be provided.

The NREUP approach to undergraduate research training has been refined over the past 15 years. To advance the project goals, the MAA stipulates the following program structure at each NREUP site, which is now well-tested and effective:

  • Orientation and ramp up
    • Each student will generally begin the program by spending about the first two-three weeks in an intensive introduction to a research topic that is not a standard part of the undergraduate curriculum but that is accessible to students who have had some exposure to proof-based mathematics beyond calculus. The MAA already publishes a number of books that can be used as texts and resources for these topics, such as Robert McLeod’s, The Generalized Riemann Integral and David Barnett’s, Map Coloring, Polyhedra, and the Four-Color Problem.
  • Individual and collaborative research program
    • For the rest of the program, each student will work on an open-ended individual research project. Each project will be stated generally enough for the student to choose from a number of different directions of exploration. The students will be encouraged to share ideas and brainstorm together, but each will be held responsible for deriving the main results of the project on their own.
  • Mentoring
    • Students will work on their research projects under the close supervision of the faculty researcher. Each researcher on the project will supervise one or more students working in similar areas, providing guidance and encouragement as needed.
  • Research and career seminars
    • Where funds permit, a visiting mathematician will give a seminar talk on a subject accessible to the students and discuss options for careers in mathematics with them. A high proportion of these visitors will be minority mathematicians, with additional researchers sought who have demonstrated interest and success in working with underrepresented minority students.
  • Presenting results
    • Where funds permit, program students will attend one professional conference during the regular academic year at which they will present the results of their research. It may be possible for some of the individual researchers to budget funds for conference presentations and still meet the other budget constraints. A number of other such opportunities exist with the National Association of Mathematicians, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. The MAA has student paper and poster sessions at both national and regional conferences and an extensive portion of its MathFest conference each summer is devoted to student presentations and activities.

In addition to a project description that follows the above program structure, proposals will need to include:

  • A schedule for each week of activities
  • The names, email addresses, ethnicity, and home institutions of the minority undergraduates
  • Student pre-requisites and any other information that will explain the level and nature of work that will be expected of the students
  • Your expected outcomes and how you will assess the effectiveness of the project

Proposals should not exceed 3 pages, and should be uploaded to the application portal as a PDF file

Additionally, applicants should be prepared to upload the following as PDF files:

  • CV of Project Director (should not exceed two pages, PDF file format)
  • CVs of any Co-Directors (EACH CV should not exceed two pages, all co-director CVs should be uploaded as one merged PDF file)
  • A letter of support from your department chair and/or other appropriate institutional administrators (PDF file format)

Proposal Budget

During the course of the online application, you will be asked to submit a proposed budget for your project. There will be a fillable budget template for you to complete. Each line item in your budget will have a section for you to include comments to explain the cost of the item and why it is necessary for the project's activities. Direct costs for each grant will not exceed $27,500. Indirect or F&A costs must be included in the budget in addition to direct costs.

For Renewals

In addition to the above requirements, renewal proposals must list all papers submitted for publication resulting from prior NREUP-funded projects, along with their status, as well as all extramural presentations and the venues. Renewal proposals must also show evidence of its previous participants going on to attend other undergraduate research experience programs. You should be prepared to upload this information in a PDF file.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you will need to create a free Amplifund account in order to apply.

The exception to this would be if your institution already has an Amplifund account. Amplifund is the grants management system for many organizations, not just MAA, so it is possible that your institution’s grants office, or sponsored programs office, has an account for your institution already. If that is the case, please contact that office directly.

On the Opportunity Details page, you will see a button that says “Apply” in the upper right of the screen. Click on “Apply” and then click “Register” on the next screen. You will be asked to enter some information about yourself and your organization (note: for academic institutions please select “Other” as organization type), and then you will be asked to accept the terms and conditions. Once this is complete, you may begin your application.

When setting up your Amplifund account you will be asked for your organization name and type. This organization will be the fiscal agent for the grant you are applying for (usually a college/university). For organization type, most academic institutions should select “Other” unless they are applying as a Foundation or Corporation. If you’re unsure, please contact your grants or sponsored programs office.

No, each institution/college/university should only create one account that everyone should use to apply. We suggest that you contact your grants or sponsored programs office directly to coordinate this.

This should be the title of your NREUP. For examples of previous projects, click here.

Yes! At any point while you’re filling out the application form you can download the application in its entirety. Additionally, before submitting, on the final screen there will be a button that says “Review” with a download arrow. Click on this button to download your completed application before submitting.

Amplifund has a built-in safety feature to prevent applicants from missing sections. Each page/section of the application needs to be “Marked as Complete” in order for the system to register that it is in fact complete. There is a button at the bottom of each page/section called “Mark as Complete”. Make sure you have clicked this on each page (when clicked, the button becomes “Mark as In Progress”).

You will receive a confirmation email at the email address you used to create your Amplifund account.

Applications are accepted from universities / faculty. You can discuss this opportunity with your mathematics faculty and see if they would be interested in submitting a proposal and leading this research project.

Usually, students for summer research programs are selected before the application is submitted. However, by the time funding decisions are made in late March – early April, some students might have made other summer commitments. NREUP sites will have a chance to replace students whose summer plans have changed on the award negotiation stage. Such a change should be explained by the project director and approved by the MAA.

There is no set of descriptors that can be entirely defining as a minority, and if the faculty advisor believes that students in question should qualify, but the students do not fit neatly into the “usual” categories, then they should make a case in their proposal. Ethnic/racial identity is self-reporting, and for NREUP’s purposes, should follow the categories of the U.S. Bureau of the Census. White and Asian students are not considered “underrepresented groups” in mathematics.

For the purposes of NREUP, the students must be citizens or permanent residents of U.S. or territories.

No. Although women and/or students with disabilities are underrepresented in mathematics, the challenges they face are very different from those that ethnic minority students face. NREUP is structured in such a way as to help ethnic minority students to continue the study of mathematics, and we were very explicit about this focus in our proposal to NSF. For this reason, NREUP does not consider other underrepresented groups for the purpose of this grant.

Students do not have to attend the host university. This is to the discretion of the participating professor. If a student wishes to participate in an NREUP, he/she should consult any faculty member in the department who may be interested in designing and operating a research program to apply and host through that institution. If no faculty member applies or is awarded a program, the student may contact the director of another university’s program that is local or closest to him/her asking to participate. NREUP will not cover long-distance travel for students to join a program.

This is meant to allow directors to accept students with less experience than might be required at a "typical" REU site. It is not a requirement.

Any student with sufficient background in mathematics is welcome to participate in the program. These students should be expected to *do* and not simply *use* mathematics during the program.

Yes, please include your institution's indirect cost on top of the maximum direct cost budget of $27,500 when applying to be considered.


PREVIOUS PROJECTS

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2014
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2016
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2018
2019
2019

CONTACT

For further information about the program, please contact MAA Programs.

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