Plasma and Fusion Undergraduate Research Opportunities (PFURO)

2024 PFURO applications are closed

Note: The PFURO program does NOT provide any tuition assistance to participants

Current and recently graduated undergraduate students are invited to apply to the Plasma and Fusion Undergraduate Research Opportunities (PFURO) program!

Participants will conduct research in the summer with plasma/fusion scientists from undergraduate institutions throughout the US (universities, colleges, and other educational research institutions).   Past institutions have included: UCLA, University of Rochester, Bryn Mawr College, The US Coast Guard Academy and Columbia University among others.

US Plasma and Fusion researchers:  Do you have a virtual or in-person summer project for a talented undergrad?  Submit your project hereNEW project submission deadline: 3/22/24.

PFURO participants will:

  • Conduct 10 weeks of summer research under the guidance of faculty and staff at US undergraduate institutions (universities, colleges, and other educational research institutions, not necessarily at PPPL/Princeton). 
  • Participate in the Intro to Plasma and Fusion course hosted by PPPL (early June).  
  • Be invited to join all of the workforce development seminars and workshops available for PPPL summer undergraduate interns
  • Receive a $650 weekly stipend for the duration of the 10 week, 40hr/week research experience.
  • Be sponsored to present their research at a national topical conference.  Most students would present at APS-DPP, but it may also be GEC, ICOPS, SOFE, or another relevant topical conference. 


  • Participants must be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student at an accredited US institution OR
  • Applicants who will complete their undergraduate degree prior to starting their internship may apply as a "Graduating Senior", if (1) the applicant has not yet started a program of graduate study and will not matriculate as a graduate student prior to completing the PFURO term, and (2) the time period between receipt of an undergraduate degree and starting the PFURO term is less than two years. 
  • All applicants must complete the applications, including uploading the most recent transcript and have 1 recommender submit a recommendation letter (recommenders: click here to upload letter).  
  • All applicants must be eligible to work in the US.
  • Women and underrepresented minorities in plasma physics and fusion energy research especially encouraged to apply.


Participants will conduct remote research on a topic in one of the following 4 main areas:

  • Magnetic Fusion Energy: Research focusing on the scientific challenges of making magnetic fusion energy a reality.  These are topics in plasma confinement, RF heating, stellarator design, turbulent transport, high-temperature superconductors, and many others.
  • Fusion Materials and Technology:  Research focusing on the materials required to build fusion reactors and heat and tritium extraction.  Topics include: Neutron effects on materials, plasma-materials interaction,  blanket design, etc.
  • General Plasma Science: More than 99% of the visible universe is plasma and they cover wide scale and temperature ranges.  Topics include: Astrophysical plasmas, space plasmas, complex (dusty) plasmas, low-temperature plasmas, and many others.
  • High Energy Density Plasmas: Hot, dense plasmas have unique properties in the realm of plasmas and their physics can give insights into extreme astrophysical phenomena such as exploding supernovae as well as lead to advances in accelerator physics, inertial confinement fusion, among other fields of research.

Brought to you by:

The Plasma and Fusion Undergraduate Research Opportunities program is sponsored by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences at the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy, and the program is administered and managed by the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and by the US Fusion Outreach Team.


For any questions about the program, please contact us at [email protected]