Physics Innovators Initiative (Pi2) 2024 Summer Scholars Program

This program provides funding for undergraduates over the summer to perform research, learn to design the tools that enable such research, develop their scientific independence, and realize their potential as physicists.

Each Pi2 scholar will work closely with dedicated graduate student mentor on their projects. All fellows should attend regular Pi2 fellow social events in the summer. Final projects will require a written report and a poster presentation open to the whole department at the end of the summer.

How to Apply

The Pi2  program is run by the Department of Physics. The two-stage application will open at the beginning of the Spring Semester. In stage 1, students can choose up to three summer research projects that they are interested in.  Applicants must submit their choices of projects with a few-sentence description on their motivation for each project. Applicants chosen to move forward in the application process to stage 2 will work with the mentor-mentee to submit the full application, consisting of a Mentorship plan, Research Proposal, and Leadership statement. 


You may apply for Pi2 fellow if you meet all of the following:

  • are a Physics track student currently enrolled in UC Berkeley. Visiting or UC Berkeley extension students are not eligible

  • have a minimum 3.0 GPA

  • are able to devote yourself to research full-time for a minimum of eight weeks during the summer

  • will generate a written report of the project and give a departmental poster presentation at the end of the summer

Important Dates

FEBRUARY 13: Stage 1 Applications Due

FEBRUARY 28: Mentor/Mentees Partners announced

MARCH 21: Stage 2 Pi2 Summer Scholar Proposal due

APRIL 16: Pi2 Summer Scholars Announced

Selection Criteria

The Pi2 scholars will be selected by a two-stage application.

In stage 1, students can choose up to three summer research projects that they are interested in from the list below.  Applicants must submit their choices of projects with a few-sentence description on their motivation for each project by February 13th. Applicants should also include grades for Physics courses taken in the last year and their anticipated graduation date. Following this submission, candidates will be interviewed by graduate student mentor.  Selection of mentor-mentee pairs will be created based on mutual interests by February 28th.

View List of Projects

Submit Stage 1 Application here

In Stage 2, the mentor-mentee will work together as a team and submit the full application by March 22nd.

This application will consist of: 

Mentorship Plan

The mentor should write a brief (1 page max) mentoring plan, which addresses a plan to provide mentorship while describing the project. It should include a description of the tools the applicant will help design and develop. It should demonstrate the feasibility of the project within the summer time frame. The mentors must also include a description of how they will assist the professional development of the applicant (e.g. opportunities to give a talk, writing and communication skills, engagement in discussions, creating opportunities to show independence). The mentorship plan should demonstrate a systematic plan to develop the mentee as a physicist. This includes creating opportunities to present work, lead scientific discussions, demonstrate independence and opportunities to drive their own scientific ideas. Mentorship plans should emphasize that the mentee will be given the opportunity to own the research, not simply assist in it.

Research Proposal

The applicant should write a brief (1 page max) research proposal, describing why the applicant is interested in research in general and the specific project decided upon with their mentor. The research proposal should be a succinct description of the summer project and its goals. The proposal should outline a specific research product they anticipate completing in the summer including constructing a new experimental apparatus, developing analysis software or algorithms, designing a new measurement technique, creating software for data mining or machine learning, synthesizing new materials. Proposals should be written by the undergraduate applicant with guidance from the mentor and PI. 

Leadership Statement

The applicant should write a brief (1 page max) leadership statement. This describes the applicant's engagement in promoting scientific progress in our community (e.g. engagement in public outreach, efforts to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion, initiatives to create a welcoming and innovative scientific culture on campus. The leadership statement must be compelling and will be heavily weighed. Students should eloquently describe a specific challenge they have faced in their journey as a physicist, how they dealt with it and what they learned from the experience. They should also describe the challenges they feel passionate about that we face as a physics community, and describe how they are or would like to answer this challenge themselves. Narratives should highlight a student's ability to compromise, collaborate and help others.

The PI sign off on the application to ensure they are aware and approve of the plan.

Application materials are due March 22, 2024,  and will be submitted by the undergraduate applicant.


The Pi2 scholar awards will be announced in mid-April.

Pi2 scholars will receive a $5500 summer stipend, and $850 will be provided to the research mentor. Another $250 can be used for research-related expenses pertaining to the project. 

Selection Committee:

Graduate Students & Postdocs:


Chair: Eric Ma
Matt Pyle

Administrative Lead
Elizabeth Nakahama-Ryan

View the Previous Pi2 Scholars and Mentors

2023 Pi2 Summer Scholars and Mentors

2022 Pi2 Summer Scholars and Mentors

2021 Pi2 Summer Scholars and Mentors