KNI SURF-the-WAVE Fellowships

KNI SURF-the-WAVE Fellowships

The Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) at the California Institute of Technology established the SURF-the-WAVE (STW) Prize Fellowships program to provide opportunities for motivated undergraduates who are interested in carrying out cutting-edge summer research projects in nanoscience at Caltech. In partnership with the Student-Faculty Programs (SFP) office and its SURF and WAVE summer programs, KNI STW Prize Fellowships are awarded to undergraduates at non-Caltech universities who plan to pursue PhDs in science or engineering.

Successful candidates will develop and carry out research projects under the guidance and mentorship of Caltech faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students. Throughout this 10-week program, STW prize fellows participate in educational and social events sponsored by SFP, as well as additional specialized activities with the KNI community, to gain new technical skills and experience life as a researcher at Caltech.

This prize fellowship covers the full SURF or WAVE salary and up to $2,000 to defray housing expenses. The KNI strongly encourages students from all backgrounds, races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and abilities to apply.

We highly recommend that candidates learn about and reach out to individual faculty members with whom they would like to work prior to submitting SURF or WAVE applications. You may find more information about the KNI-affiliated faculty members on our website; however, candidates may work with non-affiliated KNI faculty as well, so long as the research project is related to nanoscience, e.g. quantum information, photonics, bio- or medical-engineering, sustainability, etc..

If you have any questions, please contact Tiffany Kimoto at

Caltech SURF and WAVE Program Information

Caltech's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program is one of the “crown jewels” of Caltech. Since 1979, SURF students have had the opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of experienced mentors working at the frontier of their fields. Students experience the process of research as a creative intellectual activity from beginning (defining and developing a project) to end (presenting their results at SURF Seminar Day). Please visit the SURF webpage for full details, application requirements and timelines.

Caltech's WAVE program was designed to promote diversity within STEM and activities and strives to ensure that differing cultural, ethnic, social, geographic, and economic perspectives are represented. The program is extended, but not limited, to underrepresented minorities, women, first-generation college students, geographically underrepresented students, educationally or financially disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities. Please visit the WAVE webpage for full details, application requirements and timelines.

Learn more about our current and previous KNI SURF-the-WAVE cohorts!

2021 Cohort

2020 Cohort

2019 Cohort