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Some time ago, I found this list of REU programs held in 2009.

The main aspects that characterize such programs are: (a) a great deal of lectures on specific topics; and, admittedly more importantly, (b) the chance to gain some hands-on experience with research projects.

I think that these programs are extremely interesting and are precious opportunities for undergraduates to gain a deeper understanding of specific mathematical topics as well as of the "work of the mathematical researcher".

One should note, however, that most of these programs (if not all of them) are not open to European citizens (or, at least, in general non-American applicants do not receive funding).

Q: So, I would really like to hear if you know any similar programs. More specifically, I would like to know there are any such programs outside the U.S. (or any programs in the U.S. that accept also non-American applicants).

Remark 1: A similar question was asked on Mathematics Stack Exchange.

Remark 2: Both questions have been updated in 2015. It would be nice to receive some answers which are up-to-date.

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My suspicion is that the list for 2010 is not complete because some programs have not yet received approval from the NSF for this year. – Qiaochu Yuan Feb 2 '10 at 19:07
One think to note, even though the programs are not approved and thus not sure, many programs have received funding for a couple years in a row. Many of the programs in the 2009 list will carry over. If you are interested in a program, you should visit the program website from last year and hopefully you will find information on this summer. However, Qiaochu is correct, that more will be posted. In particular, the REU at my university is not on that list, but we were approved for funding last week(I am the Graduate Student Mentor for the program). – B. Bischof Feb 3 '10 at 2:04
Usually REUs are administered by a university (even when the source of funds is NSF), and you have to be a student of that university to participate. On the other hand, if the student is fully supported by his/her home institution, and if there is a willing REU mentor at another institution, then it may be possible to do an REU there. – Igor Belegradek Jan 8 '11 at 0:36
@Igor: This has not been the case in my experience. Most REU programs that I know of are open and provide funding to undergraduates from any institution. – Alison Miller Jan 8 '11 at 3:18
@Alison: thanks, I had a misconception there. – Igor Belegradek Jan 8 '11 at 17:49

10 Answers 10

In my experience, it depends on the specific funding of the program. Some programs funded by the NSF will require the applicants be Americans. But this is not always the case. Last year at my university, a student from Cambridge took part in the REU.

When applying for funding for these programs, the directors must include some explanation of who will be the participants. Additionally, many of these programs specifically encourage minorities to apply, sometimes including non-American applicants.

I encourage you to look at the specific programs to see if they allow foreign applicants, emailing them if it is not stated on the webpage.

Here is the webpage that I used when searching for an REU as an undergrad.

Additionally, just googling "NSF REU 2010" is helpful.

EDIT: Shameless plug:

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Caltech has the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, which is open to students from non-American universities.

I don't know what kind of Mathematics is being done at Caltech right now, but if you find some professor doing work that interests you, you can always send him an email with your CV explaining why you would like to work with him, and asking whether he will have SURF students in Summer 2011. Even if he will not, he might inform you of some colleague of his who will. The application deadline is around late February / early March 2011, I believe.The stipend is quite generous, in my opinion.

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I am not sure if the REU portrayal is accurate about "aimed at the given University's students". The REUs may have a preference for American students in general because they are often funded by the NSF, and can therefore only accommodate limited number of overseas applicants. – Willie Wong Nov 18 '10 at 23:29
I believe the perception you expressed in the first paragraph is quite wrong. In fact, the main reason REUs are listed on a web site is so students from other schools can apply to them! – S. Carnahan Nov 19 '10 at 3:01
Thanks for correcting me. I edited the post and removed the innacurate comment. Not having done my undergrad in the U.S., I should not have commented on what I have no direct experience of. Having said that, the point I was trying to make is that Caltech SURF is open to students at non-American universities, which seems to be what Sune was looking for. – Rod Carvalho Nov 19 '10 at 6:59
@Rod: I e-mailed the program committee on the kind of mathematics is done at the program. I received a response from Stefanie Garcia, who told me, amongst other things, the following: *..."When the time comes for you to apply, you must independently research various professors’ websites here at Caltech and contact those who are would be most interested in working with. Therefore, your SURF can be in whatever area of Mathematics your potential SURF mentor works in. ... " * The nice thing about SURF is that it's not only open to non-Americans, but also that you're given stipends ... – Max Muller Jan 8 '11 at 16:20
The international students I knew who SURF'ed at Caltech were mostly working for big projects such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), or the DARPA Grand Challenge robotic vehicle. These projects have generous funding. Moreover, students did mostly development (building things, modeling things, programming, testing), NOT theoretical research. I remember that there was a promising and very young math undergrad from Hong Kong working on Group Theory, but he was the exception. – Rod Carvalho Jan 8 '11 at 22:53

Here is a master list of NSF REU awards in the Mathematical Sciences: REU Sites: Mathematical Sciences. Sixty-six awards are listed.

Here is the analogous list in Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering: CISE REU sites. The CISE director tells me (7Jan11) that "The 2011 sites have not been awarded and we cannot release information until awards have been made." So the list is the current active sites that are continuing. Perhaps the same holds for the math list.

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Being interested in following such a program as well, I posted a similar question on Math SE. I recently found the program held at the university of Wisconsin [which is moving to Emory, but is still being run by Ken Ono]. It specializes in number theory. As it is funded by the NSF as well, foreigners have to pay for the program themselves, but it is open to non-Americans.

Good luck with finding a program!

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I've edited your answer to reflect the fact that this REU has recently moved to Emory (along with Ken Ono). – Alison Miller Jan 7 '11 at 1:31
@ Alison: thanks. – Max Muller Jan 7 '11 at 13:42

As another data point, this REU for next summer clearly states that application is open to all, but that non-US citizens or green card holders cannot be compensated in the same way, due to the terms of the grant. I suspect this is the case at most REU's, even if they don't make it as explicit.

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In the UK there is the EPSRC Vacation Bursary Scheme for undergraduates, which provides funding for students to undertake an individual research project under the supervision of a suitable advisor during the summer. I participated as an undergrad myself and found it to be a really good experience. As I understand it, the universities participating in the scheme deal with the organization, but there is some information available at the EPSRC website

A similar scheme exclusively for mathematics is funded by the LMS.

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Here are some summer research opportunities in the US (and one in Hong Kong) that fund non-US citizens.

Research in Industrial Projects for Students (RIPS) 2011 at UCLA (Also has a program in HongKong) (their website says they have funded non-US students in the past)

NIMBios 2011 Summer Program National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

DIMACS REU DIMACS/DIMATIA REU CCICADA REU Rutgers Math Department REU (foreign students enrolled at a U.S. university are eligible under the CCICADA program)

Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute MTBI Summer Research Program

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I thought I would also chime in for those students who consider the summer as the months between December and March and because at the University of Melbourne, we recently had to figure out if we could accept students for our Vacation Scholars Program (in the context of this question a REU) from other (Australian) schools. Thankfully our administrative staff told us there was not any red tape, provided the student could live and work in Australia, and so we are happy to take applications from outside the university. Also, at least for our department, a student showing the initiative to seek out a research environment went beyond what was immediately available at his/her university was viewed quite favourably.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute also runs a summer school every year:

Again, ASMI summer school is really an opportunity for Australian undergrads.

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The Fields institute in Toronto offers summer research for undergraduates

When I was there the topics were mostly linked to the thematic program at the time and there were at least a couple of students from abroad (from Hungary in that case).

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When I managed an REU in 2009, we weren't sure we had the funding until like May (or end of April?)... was frustrating but was the reality. Some more highly funded programs can avoid that trouble, but depends on the university.

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