U.S. Department of Energy

Minority University Research Associates Program

Photo of two males seated in front of a computer with a large machine sitting on a table in the background.

Frederick Aryeetey and Adeyemo Adetogun, both research students at North Carolina Central University, are imaging semiconductor nanowires using a scanning electron microscope.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) developed the Minority University Research Associates (MURA) Program to encourage minority students to pursue careers in science and technology. Funded by the Solar Energy Technologies Program, MURA supports research associates and professors/principal investigators from selected schools as they perform renewable energy research projects during the academic year. These projects contribute to the development of cost-competitive, market-applicable technologies and help to achieve DOE goals.

Learn more about the program history and 2010-2013 MURA Awardees.

Technical Approach

The MURA Program provides scientific and technical research opportunities for students at universities defined as Minority Serving Institutions (Section § 365(3) the Higher Education Act (HEA) (20 U.S.C. 1067k(3)). Several undergraduate and graduate students from each participating school perform research under the guidance of a professor and principal investigator.

At the conclusion of the academic year, the research associates are encouraged to continue developing their skills each summer by working in a renewable energy-related field as a summer intern. Research associates are often given the opportunity to participate in a summer internship at a DOE national laboratory, such as the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) or Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL).

Program Objectives

The MURA Program contributes to the development of a diverse and competent workforce ready to support the nation's growing clean-energy industry. By providing research opportunities for minority students, the MURA Program encourages members of the African American, Hispanic, Native American, Alaska Native, and Hawaiian Native communities to excel in science and technology while helping these students reach their educational and career goals. In addition, the MURA Program has furthered DOE's goal of making solar cost-competitive with conventional sources of electricity.