Undergraduate Programs

National Science Foundation
International Research Experience for Students Program

Sustainability Research: An Integrative International Undergraduate Experience

The purpose of the University of Pittsburgh's IRES program is to create an innovative and international research experience in sustainable design for a select group of undergraduate engineering students who have high potential to pursue graduate education.  
For more Info contact Gena Kovalcik at gmk9@pitt.edu 

The IRES Program will not be offered in the Summer of 2014

Our overall aims are to: 

  • Teach undergraduate engineers to incorporate sustainability as a constraint in designs;
  • Teach engineering undergraduates to work as part of an international design team, progressing from initial reliance on faculty and graduate student advisors to reliance on team members over the course of the program; and
  • Teach undergraduate engineers to function on cross-cultural design teams.


  • Students pursuing a BS in any engineering department
  • Sophomores or juniors
  • GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • Interest in pursuing a graduate degree
  • Interest in sustainable design
  • Interest in an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural experience
Program Policies
  • Students are required to work 40 hours a week on their project
  • Students will be allowed to take only 1 course over the summer with program approval
  • No vacations will be permitted during the 12 week program

Program Highlights

Students will participate in a 12-week summer internship, joining one of several research teams.  Each team will be co-led by faculty from the University of Pittsburgh and a Brazilian partner University including University of Campinas, the Federal University of Espirito Santo (UFES) in Vittoria, Brazil and Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio).

This first year, students will spend four preparatory weeks in Pittsburgh, travel to Brazil for four weeks, and then return to Pittsburgh for the last four weeks.  Each team will present a final report at the end of the summer session. 

For additional information please contact Gena Kovalcik at gmk9@pitt.edu 

* MCSI and the IRES program featured in the Center for Latin American Studies 2012 Newsletter 

* IRES 2012 Bamboo Gridshell Project. View Video> 

View list of Past IRES participants>

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