GRASP Laboratory - University of Pennsylvania

The GRASP Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania is proud to have operated a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site entitled Perception, Planning, Mobility, and Interaction for Next Generation Robotics. This REU Site ran from 2012 to 2014 and was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This REU Site is now closed; below is the information from our 2014 program.


The goal of this REU Site was to give eight to twelve motivated engineering and computer science students significant experience in cutting-edge robotics research every summer. As overviewed on this flyer, our paid ten-week program provided a well-structured environment where:

  • REU students learn fundamental skills in engineering and mathematics needed to engage in multidisciplinary robotics research
  • REU students have substantial opportunities to apply this newly gained knowledge in ongoing research projects in the GRASP Laboratory
  • REU students learn to search the scientific literature, practice digesting technical papers, gain skills in effective technical paper writing and oral presentations, and learn about the process of graduate school selection and application.

Mentored Research Projects

This research experience was enhanced through a carefully mentored approach to team-based research. Each student works with one or more GRASP faculty members and a post-doctoral or graduate student mentor on a current research project in robotics. Projects span the range of topics being researched in the GRASP Lab and are fine-tuned to match the interests and backgrounds of the selected students. REU students also interact with many of the other faculty, post-docs, graduate students, and undergraduates working in the GRASP Lab.

Student Support

  • Stipend: Each student is paid a stipend of $5,000 for the 10-week program.
  • Dates: In 2014, the program ran for ten weeks in the summer. Participants must be in Philadelphia for this entire period.
  • Travel: Each student can request up to $750 in reimbursement for travel to and from Philadelphia for the program or to a conference to present their research.
  • Housing: Each student enrolled in the program is housed free of charge on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. The provided housing is within walking distance of the GRASP Lab. There is a residential component to the program, so participants may not opt out of the housing to live elsewhere.
  • Dining: Participants receive partial support for their dining expenses for the duration of the summer.
  • Research Competition: A prize of $250 is awarded to the best REU research project, judged by experts in a public research symposium.
  • Activities: The entire GRASP REU class is supported by experienced Penn faculty and staff. The Site has a social program component, as well as planned visits to local robotics research facilities.


We welcome applications from undergraduate students who are US citizens and permanent residents. We are particularly interested in applicants who come from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (low-income, ethnic and racial minorities, first generation college students, and women). See the Apply section of this website for more details on student eligibility.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CNS-1156366. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.