About the RET Program


2023 RET Program Dates: July 5 – Aug 11, 2022.  Applications are due April 5.

Apply today!

The Boston University Photonics Center NSF RET Site in Integrated Nanomanufacturing is seeking public school science teachers (grade 3 and higher) from high need schools with high percentages of underrepresented minority students. We also seek Community College faculty in STEM fields.

We propose to immerse ten teachers each summer in engineering research experiences to explore the design, fabrication, and application of nanometer-scale components in optical, electronic, mechanical and biomedical systems addressing important technological problems. RET participants will be mentored by faculty members of the Boston University Photonics Center (BUPC) who represent more than a dozen disciplines across several colleges.

Hands-on laboratory research in a variety or engineering faculty laboratories working alongside NSF REU participants, the cleanroom experience in state of the art shared facilities at the Photonics Center, Brown Bag Seminars, laboratory group meetings and presentation opportunities during the summer. The summer wraps up with a research poster session.

The Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program supports active research participation for teachers (grades 3-12) and community college faculty. This RET Site has three thematic research areas:

  1. Nanophotonics: Using light at the nanometer scale for materials synthesis and characterization
  2. Nanostructures: Using nanofabrication techniques combining optics and electronics to design and manufacture nanoscale devices 
  3. Nanomedicine: Using nanotechnology and nanophotonics for medical applications such as sensing/diagnostics and biological manipulation

The directors will assist in the translation of RET experiences into sustainable STEM education curricula and activities at the teachers’ home schools through team-based development together with faculty, postdocs, and graduate students in the teachers’ partnering laboratories. We plan to engage teachers from past and current summers in collective workshops in flipped classrooms, online and blended learning, realtime assessment and other STEM pedagogy advancements, teaming teachers with faculty to focus on the research-intensive faculty’s instructional approaches.

NOTE: Participants in NSF RET Sites or RET Supplements must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent residents of the United States.


Program Guidance


  • $8,000 Stipend
  • $2,000 for school curriculum and lab supplies and conference travel
  • 180 PDPs


  • Participants must be U.S. Citizens or permanent residents.
  • Participants must be within commuting range of Boston University. This program does not provide a housing option for teachers. We do provide on campus parking or MBTA pass.
  •  Participants:
    • Teachers whose school districts are active members of the Massachusetts STEM Network are preferred
    • High school and middle school teachers and elementary school teachers grade 3 and higher, from high need public schools with high percentages of underrepresented minorities students in STEM and low-income families
    • Community College Faculty in close proximity to STEM Network schools
    • Veterans, women and underrepresented minorities are strongly encouraged to apply