NSF REU: Planetary Habitability Over Space and Time

The Earth is habitable through feedbacks between biological and geological processes. 

Descending into valley, NM

In this REU we will study questions like:

  • What controls the temperature of the Earth?
  • What controls nutrient concentrations in forests?
  • How does the composition of the deep Earth influence the composition of the atmosphere?
  • Why does the Earth have water on the surface?
  • How does plate tectonics influence long-term climate?

Our REU program is 10 weeks- May 22nd through July 28th, 2023

Students will be provided a summer stipend of $600 per week for 10 weeks, as well as a supplement for housing.

Applications are open NOW!!! Click HERE to apply.  The priority application deadline is February 15, 2023, though applications will be accepted through March 1, 2023.

Eligibility Information

Students in the fieldd

  • Be currently enrolled full-time in an accredited public or private college or university in the United States or its territories;
  • Be in good academic standing;
  • Have completed at least two semesters and have at least one semester remaining of their undergraduate education by the start of the summer program;
  • Be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or permanent resident;
  • No research experience is necessary!
  • Students from groups underrepresented in the sciences are particularly encouraged to apply, including Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students; women; first generation college students; and students with disabilities. Our program welcomes students of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions, and students from diverse life experiences and academic paths.

Program Details

In the Expert lab

  • Conduct independent research;
  • Participate in week-long field trip to the western U.S., designed to show you the breadth of Earth history and the evolution and continuity of life through time;
  • Introduce you to career and educational opportunities in the Earth Sciences, including a weekly seminar series;
  • Participate in one service learning activity designed to communicate the connections between the geosciences and local community needs;
  • As part of your research activities you will receive professional training in science communication and present a poster at a university symposium

You can view the research and activities from previous REU participants HERE.

Research experience in planetary habitability

graphic of project

Students will be introduced to complex, interconnected planet-scale systems by participating in research on how the Earth becomes habitable. Novel research projects will explore the relationships between dynamic planetary processes and life by answering questions of how the Earth influences life and how life, in turn, modulates Earth’s own evolution. Projects range from field and laboratory experiments that help us understand the composition of Earth’s deep interior, creating and modifying its surface, to modeling the evolving composition of its atmosphere.

EEPS scientists work together to understand the Earth as a whole system, providing a variety of research opportunities for undergrads to participate in these interdisciplinary activities.

Participants can choose among 8 areas of interdisciplinary research among three themes associated with planetary habitability.