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Solar University-National Lab Ultra-Effective Program

Solar University-National lab Ultra-effective Program (SUN UP) was created to facilitate existing and new interactions between universities and NREL.

Each year, NREL hosts dozens of students from universities across the country. Most exchanges of students, faculty, and NREL scientists arise out of long-standing collaborations. SUN UP was created to facilitate these interactions, but more importantly, to facilitate connection with faculty members who have not previously interacted with NREL.

Some students may wish to apply for a DOE-NREL Graduate Student Research Internships.

Photo of a young man working in a laboratory setting with equipment.

The goal of SUN UP is to increase the effectiveness of PV research by leveraging synergies between university and NREL research.

A series of webinars will introduce opportunities for students to spend 3–18 months at NREL. Presentations of research topics are planned for October 6, October 18, and November 3 at 14:00 Mountain Time. Agendas and call in information will be posted on this website closer to the time.

The webinar materials will be posted.

SUN UP also provides a single point of contact to identify other opportunities. Faculty members may send an email to indicating the nature of the collaboration that is desired.

Past Meetings

Presentations from the previous meetings are available. If you have an interest in one of these topics, contact the researcher for that topic.

How SUN UP Works

SUN UP is intended to identify cases in which the university and NREL both have funding in a similar topical area and that sharing of resources and expertise will increase the impact of both research projects. The challenge is identifying the opportunities for synergistic collaboration. It is possible for both student and faculty to visit NREL or for an NREL scientist to spend time at a university.

  • All participants must identify their own source of funding. Typically, the home university pays the student, while costs for training the student and providing access to resources at NREL are covered by a project at NREL.
  • Results are typically published jointly; the funding sources at both the university and national lab each recognize the publication as being an output of their funding.
  • If work plans are modified to accommodate changes in schedules or small changes in scope, these must be approved by all relevant funding sources.

The NREL principal investigator, student, and student's thesis advisor must all agree to the plan as being in the best interests of everyone involved including the alignment of the research topics, the choice of students, length and timing of the visit, and access to relevant equipment. There may be additional individuals involved in the review to coordinate access to equipment and other resources.


Jennifer Liebold