Skip to content Skip to navigation

Summer Program

Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Summer Research Program

Summer 2018

Application Deadline: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 11:59 p.m.

Undergraduates from other schools (outside of Stanford) should see the research opportunities provided by the Office of Science Outreach.

The Chemical Engineering Summer Research Program is a 10-week program for current Stanford University undergraduate students.  The purpose of the program is to provide students who have identified a specific research project the opportunity to work one-on-one within a research group.

Students will receive a $7,000 stipend that can be used to pay for the cost of housing, meals, supplies and transportation. This is a 10-week, 40-hour per week program held June 18 – August 24, 2018 (exceptions may be arranged with research advisor).

Students interested in applying must write a proposal of up to 1,500 words (not counting references or figure captions) addressing three key points:

  1. Who is the faculty member you plan to work with over the summer, and who will serve as your immediate supervisor (e.g., will you work directly with a graduate student or postdoc)? Have you contacted this faculty, and have you identified a specific research project?**
  2. Describe the precise goal of the project. What specific question will be answered, or what hypothesis will be tested? What themes do you want to explore? What is the potential broad impact of the project?
  3. How will this project benefit your future career goals?

Please also provide an unofficial transcript. We also ask that you have one (1) letter of reference (preferably from your host faculty) for this application.

Please send the proposal electronically to John Whitney at, by  11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, with the subject line “VPUE application – your last name.”

Please have your reference letter writer submit their letter directly to John Whitney at, by  11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, with the subject line “VPUE reference last-name."

Please send an unofficial transcript electronically to John Whitney at, by  11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27, 2018. 

Announcement of awards will be made by Friday, March 23, 2018.

Students who do not have a research project formed have the opportunity to apply to one of the faculty research projects listed below. Application link is at the bottom of the page.

In addition to the online application, students applying for a faculty project should also send an unofficial transcript to John Whitney at and have their reference letter writer submit a letter directly to him as well. 

Cheme-VPUE Summer Research Faculty Projects 2018

Cargnello lab project A: Fundamental understanding of the role of promoters on palladium-based catalysts for methane activation. The student will prepare model catalysts composed of a high-surface area polymer support, monodisperse metallic nanocrystals and a promoter in the form of an additional metal. These systems will be systematically characterized and investigated for the methane activation reaction, and structure-activity relationships will be obtained to establish a correlation between metal-promoter structure and catalytic activity. The results of this project can profoundly improve our knowledge of how to prepare better catalytic materials for converting methane, an abundant resource, into liquid fuels and chemicals.

Cargnello lab project B: Fundamental understanding of photocatalytic hydrogen production using transition metal-doped titania materials. The student will prepare nanoscale titania and metallic nanocrystals. The materials will be incorporated into films and tested for photocatalytic hydrogen production. Structure-activity relationships will be obtained to establish a correlation between nature of the dopant and composition and photocatalytic activity. The results of this project can profoundly improve our knowledge of how to prepare catalytic materials for the production of hydrogen, one of the most important chemicals in industry, using sunlight at low temperature and pressure.

Bao lab project: Development of biodegradable, elastic conductors for transient electronics. The student will synthesize and screen various biodegradable elastomers as the majority matrix, and characterize the chemical and mechanical properties of the resulting materials. Condensation-based polymer synthesis and click chemistry will be employed. Accelerated degradation studies with temperature, enzymes, and acid will be performed. The student will explore the introduction of biocompatible conducting fillers to the optimized biodegradable matrix and analyze its electrical performance upon multiple stretch cycles. This project will introduce students to polymer synthesis, nanomaterials processing, and various electrical and mechanical characterization methods.

Spakowitz lab project: Copolymer Assisted Protein Folding. In this project, the student will perform molecular simulations of a protein in the presence of copolymers.  The goal is to assess the physical interactions between the protein and the polymer chains as the protein undergoes the folding transition.  Protein folding is complicated by metastable intermediates that are kinetically trapped and cannot be eliminated without some outside perturbation.  Our goal is to design a copolymer system that acts as an artificial chaperone for the folding process to mitigate metastable intermediates.

Apply to one of these projects

Application Deadline: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 by 11:59pm.