NCSA and the University of Illinois have a history of nurturing innovative ideas that transform the world, from transistors to the graphical web browser. Undergraduates are the engine on our campus, bringing new ideas, enthusiasm and creativity to our environment.

NCSA's new Strategic Plan, "Vision 2020", challenges us to:

  • Create a compelling environment including students to challenge and advance knowledge towards solving complex, societal challenges dependent on digital technologies
  • Include students in our planning around integrated cyberinfrastructure and partnerships with local and national industry to drive the Illinois economy

SPIN Program Elements 

  • NCSA provides the overall program, outreach, advertising, matchmaking, and assessment. 
  • Students also have access to the undergraduate work space on the first floor.
  • Students can obtain time on the campus cluster through NCSA allocation, and are helped in getting access to ISL resources. 
  • Students work closely with mentors and NCSA teams.
  • There are regular meetings, training, talks, etc.
  • Contributions to outputs (publications, software, etc.) are encouraged.


SPIN Program Expectations


  • Work at least 5 hours/week during the Academic Year; 20 hours/week during the Summer
  • At least one hour per week must be spent on an NCSA activity such as colloquia, NCSA group meetings, speakers, etc.
  • Conduct their work in the NCSA building
  • Create a short personal development plan with the student's mentor to outline goals and expectations
  • Meet regularly with the education coordinator, the student's mentor, and attend appropriate training and information sessions
  • Deliver a mid-semester and end-of-semester presentation on progress and results


  • Appropriate time to work with students, approve timesheets
  • Provide students the space and flexibility to innovate around the project
  • Attend Mentor Training as appropriate


Selection Criteria

The selection of funded internships is based on students, mentors and projects:


  • Motivated and self-driven students who are team-oriented with the promise of innovation and creative thinking
  • Must commit to either a whole academic year or a complete summer, with time to commit to all aspects of the program
  • Good academic standing
  • Diversity of cohort


  • Include staff, postdocs, and faculty
  • Priority for funding is given to those who circumstantially have little access to funds. Others are expected to sponsor projects with their own project/startup/ICR funds.
  • Diversity of mentors across NCSA
  • Mentor must have appropriate time to commit for the complete period
  • Faculty mentors and students must be from different departments/programs


  • Aligned with NCSA strategic goals and strategic projects
  • Opportunity for impact and innovation
  • Diversity of projects across NCSA


Anticipated NCSA Funding for SPIN FY19

Students may apply for both the Summer and Academic Year sessions. There is a limit of one funded student per mentor. NCSA will cover up to 15 students during each session; mentors are encouraged to fund additional hours, if needed. The aim is for NCSA to provide seed funding or innovation funding rather than full project funding.

Academic Year 2018-2019

  • 16 weeks per semester; 2 full semesters
  • NCSA will fund 5 hours per week
  • Hourly Rate: $12.50

Summer 2019

    • 8 week session 
    • NCSA will fund 20 hours per week
    • Hourly Rate: $12.50

To Apply to the SPIN Program


  • Mentors may submit the title of the project, a one paragraph summary, and desired skills (if needed) to when the call is issued during the Fall (for the following summer) and Spring (for the following academic year) semesters. Please also include whether you can fund the position. Up to three projects may be submitted.
  • Mentors should attend the SPIN Open House to represent your project(s) and meet with undergraduate students.


  • Students are encouraged to attend the SPIN Open Houses to learn more about available projects.
  • Those students who wish to apply should fill out the Application Form on the SPIN website by the designated deadline.












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