Information for Faculty and Graduate Mentors

The Project Portal is currently closed for SURF 2024


The SURF program is designed to offer undergraduate students a hands-on research experience that sparks their interest in advanced education and research careers. The program is a 10-week long opportunity for top undergraduates to participate in research activities, attend professional development seminars, and complete assignments for approximately 40 hours a week. During the program, the professor lays out the student's research schedule and assigns a graduate student or post-doctoral mentor to work with the undergraduate. The program is aimed at helping SURF participants plan their future career, improve their writing skills, and learn how to communicate their work to a technical audience.

Overview of Important Dates

Priority Project Posting
November 1, 2023 - December 1, 2023

To ensure all the students (especially the early birds) see your project. This is the recommended timeframe for submitting the projects as it maximizes the number of applicants you will receive for your project(s).


Late Project Posting
December 2, 2023 - January 22, 2024

Projects can still be submitted in this timeframe. However, applicants have already started applying for SURF, and you might miss out on some good candidates. If you choose to submit in this timeframe, please do it ASAP to maximize the number of applicants you will receive for your project(s). Additionally, we recommend you look at students who have already applied and indicated interest in a sub-area applicable to your project.


Student Application Review Period
February 1, 2023 - March 31, 2024

Students applications will end by this time. A project can still be submitted but you will receive no student applications directly for your project. You can still choose the students from our database. However, other faculty might have already selected some of the best applicants.

Quick Links

Recruiting SURF Students

  • To participate in the SURF program, faculty members post their research projects on the program's website, and students can apply directly to the posted projects and can indicate their interest in certain subfields (if you post a project after the application is open to students, we recommend you look at the subfield interests of early bird applicants).
  • Faculty members are also encouraged to recommend students to apply for the program.
  • Once the applications are submitted, faculty members review them and identify qualified students for one of their projects. Faculty are welcome to interview students if they wish. Once a student is chosen, the Faculty member will "recommend" a student for a particular project.
  • The EURO office reviews all recommended applicants and finalizes the participant list for the program.

Funding SURF students

  • SURF participants receive a $6000 stipend
  • The SURF funding model splits the cost equally between the professor, the professor’s school/department, and the professor’s college. Each entity contributes $2000 towards one SURF student.
  • If a PI wishes to recruit more than one student or have more than one project, PI is responsible for 2/3 or the full stipend for additional students depending on the departmental agreements.
  • In addition to the stipend contribution, PIs recruiting external students are requested to contribute $1000 towards external student housing costs. This contribution will be waived for students the EURO office identifies as "high potential" or "high achieving." These students will be indicated with flags in the portal. 

Selecting Students via the SURF portal

You can download a step by step guide to request the SURF students from the SURF portal here. Please note that you must have a project posted (and approved by EURO staff) before you can make student selection.

Confidentiality of the Project

As part of the SURF program, students are required to present their research in a public forum, and the abstract of their work will be made public in an abstract booklet. It is essential to note that research projects that have confidentiality restrictions are not suitable for students in this program since their work will be presented to the public.

Mentoring a SURF Student

Your role as a mentor is crucial in encouraging undergraduate students to pursue a research career. Here are some tips for engaging undergraduate researchers:

  • Start by assessing your student's skills, knowledge, and interests. This will help you tailor your guidance to their unique needs.
  • Create a welcoming and open environment that encourages your students to ask questions. This will help them feel comfortable seeking your guidance and feedback.
  • Explain the overall goals of the research project and the role your student will play in achieving those goals. This will help your student understand the significance of their work.
  • Meet with your student on a regular basis. A fixed weekly meeting is highly recommended to ensure that progress is being made and any issues can be addressed in a timely manner.
  • Clearly define your expectations and outline your student's tasks and responsibilities. This will help your students understand what is expected of them and what they need to accomplish.
  • Develop a schedule with your student to complete various aspects of the project within the length of the program. This will help your student manage their time and stay on track.
  • Explain the role of other members of the team and the reporting structure. This will help your student understand how their work fits into the larger picture.
  • Provide guidelines and expectations regarding the lab notebook and data collection. This will help your student understand how to properly document their work.
  • Provide constructive feedback and employ active listening skills. This will help your student improve their skills and grow as a researcher.
  • Get to know your student on an informal basis. Talk to them about career options, research as a career, and graduate school options.
  • Review the schedule of SURF activities and encourage your students to actively participate in them. This will help your student develop a broader understanding of the research process and make valuable connections within the research community.

Additional Resource: Graduate Students Mentoring Undergraduate Students: Opportunities, Expectations, and Strategies (PDF); Presentation by Dr. Sean Brophy, Purdue University

Safety in the Laboratory

Every SURF student must become familiar with laboratory safety practices. SURF faculty and graduate student mentors are responsible for providing a safe environment and should:

SURF participants are not employees of the University and therefore are not covered under Workman’s Compensation. During the summer, each SURF student is covered with limited medical insurance through the Risk Management Office. This coverage is primary but does have limitations. Any unapproved and unpaid medical expenses will be the financial responsibility of the student.

If the student needs medical assistance, contact the SURF office as soon as possible.