Bioinspired Robotics Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Bioinspired robots—defined as robots that are inspired by natural systems such as insects, birds, mammals, and reptiles—have the potential to significantly enable or enhance capabilities in manufacturing, health care, reconnaissance, exploration, food safety, and search and rescue. Because of their unique design, bioinspired robotics offer a truly interdisciplinary systems research challenge that encompasses biology, materials, mechanical design, control, sensors and actuators, power, electronics, and computer science among other topics.

Program Goals

The Bioinspired Robotics REU Site aims to:
  • Teach students about bioinspired robotics and the applicable technologies and applications
  • Engage talented and diverse students in interdisciplinary research programs
  • Prepare students for graduate school or research jobs in industry and labs
  • Introduce undergraduates to team-based interdisciplinary research
  • Build a strong community between undergraduates, graduate student mentors, and faculty

During the 10-week summer program, students will develop research projects, attend technical tutorial seminars, visit local government labs involved in bioinspired robotics research, attend professional and academic development seminars, and tour Maryland’s top-notch facilities supporting robotics research including the UMd FabLab and Neutral Bouyancy Research Facility. Lunch discussions will provide an informal setting for students and mentors to discuss technical and non-technical topics. The program culminates in student presentations on their summer research.


REU awards are made on the basis of students’ strong potential and motivation to perform bioinspired robotics research, academic preparation in their area of interest, letters of reference, and interest in interacting with diverse mentors and peers in interdisciplinary research. Students from all institutions, including the University of Maryland, are welcome to apply. Students from colleges and universities having limited research facilities (non-R1 schools), including tribal colleges and universities and community colleges, are strongly encouraged to apply.

We are extending the Application deadline for this program to January 25, 2019. Application decisions will now be announced by Friday, February 22, 2019.

Special note: This program is funded by the National Science Foundation, a federal agency. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply and to participate.


Program dates are June 4 through August 10, 2018. We have made arrangements in the past for students whose schools are on a quarter system or release later to join the session a few days later, but arrangements must be worked out with the REU director and your program mentor.

All participants receive a $5,000 stipend for their summer work and funding is available for on-campus housing and travel support. Local students (within commuting distance of the University of Maryland) are generally not eligible for on-campus housing.

Frequently Asked Questions

The online application for the program is open from Nov. 23, 2018 to Jan. 18, 2019.

When you enter your reference email addresses in the application, your reference writers will receive an email with a link to upload your reference letter.

You do not need to have your materials ready when you submit the application. Additional materials may be uploaded until the deadline. After your initial application submission, a link will be emailed to you where these additional documents may be uploaded.