Through support for the U.S. Department of Energy, the Multi-University Center for the Chemical Upcycling of Waste Plastics (CUWP) is hosting a Research Experience for Undergraduates in the Chemical Upcycling of Waste Plastics. Student positions will be available at CUWP campuses at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Iowa State University.

Selected participants spend 10 weeks conducting research on one of two approaches to recycling plastic waste: (1) thermal depolymerization, in which the plastic is broken down into a liquid oil which can then be catalyzed to separate out plastic monomers, the main components in new virgin plastic and (2) solvent-targeted recovery and precipitation (STRAP) processing, a technique that can be used to process and recycle layered plastic films.

Header image by Ermanno Ferrarini from Pixabay

Summer 2024 Program Details

  • Dates: May 28 to August 3
  • Stipend: $6,000 plus housing and travel to and from Madison
  • Apply online by Feb. 15

Program Highlights

  • Weekly faculty-led seminars on various topics
  • A special seminar on applying to, surviving, and excelling in graduate school
  • An end-of-summer REU poster session in which students present their research results and conclusions
  • Social activities with students from other REU programs
  • A summer in Madison, Wisconsin or Ames, Iowa
  • Students receive a stipend of $6,000
  • Housing and travel to and from Madison, Amherst, or Ames provided


Eligible students are undergraduates majoring in mathematics, chemistry, physics, engineering, biotechnology-related areas, other physical sciences, science education, or public policy who have a strong desire to complete a Ph.D. and meet the following criteria:

  • Students who have completed their sophomore or junior years of college.
  • Students with an overall GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents enrolled in accredited colleges or universities.


Dr. Andrew Greenberg
CUWP Summer Program Director
1415 Engineering Drive
3035 Engineering Hall
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 890-1534