Research Experience for Teachers (RET)

Research Experience for Teachers (RET)

 Learn about the GLBRC RET program from 2015 participant Leah Williams and her mentor Prof. Dave Rothamer.


Program dates: June 20 – August 11, 2017

Duration: Seven weeks

Location: University of Wisconsin-Madison

To Apply: Applications closed for 2017.

The Research Experience for Teachers program provides the opportunity for K-16 classroom educators to spend seven weeks (June 26 – August 11) at UW–Madison working on bioenergy-related research and curriculum development projects under the guidance of research mentors and education programs staff.

Program Goals for Participants:

  • Gain experience and skills in current science and engineering research methods
  • Develop innovative, effective and engaging STEM instructional materials based upon GLBRC research and aligned with national science standards (NGSS)
  • Build content knowledge in bioenergy-related science and engineering fields
  • Develop leadership capacity to train colleagues in scientific research and effective instructional strategies

What to expect:

  • During the first week of the program (June 26-30), participants attend a five-day Bioenergy Institute for Educators, where they learn about bioenergy research, existing education materials and current effective approaches to teaching bioenergy concepts. 
  • Participants spend the next six weeks embedded in a research mentor’s lab assisting with an identified research project. 
  • With guidance from research mentors and education programs staff, teachers develop new classroom activity based, in part, on their research experience. 
  • RET participants share their research experiences and draft activity at a mini-symposium at the during the final week of the program. 
  • Education programs staff work with RET participants through the following year to pilot new instructional materials in classes, make revisions, and disseminate final version of materials locally and national via our website, conference presentations, workshops and associated publications.


  • Participants receive a $7,000 stipend plus $500 for classroom supplies.
  • Travel expenses (food and lodging) are not included. 
  • Dorms available on campus for $17/night.

 2017 Project topics:

  • Yeast Biodiversity, Ecology, and Biotechnology
  • Evaluating Sites for Sustainable Bioenergy Crop Production
  • Measuring and Managing the Pollination Services of Wild Bees
  • Cow Power: Designing Sustainable Biogas Systems

Read full project descriptions here.

How to apply:

Selection criteria: Through the RET program we aim to build the capacity of teachers to facilitate a classroom learning environment where students are actively engaged in authentic science and engineering research problems. RET participants learn how to apply science and engineering practices to solve energy problems in university labs and then develop activities for students to apply those research practices to solve a simplified problem in the classroom.    

We seek teachers across subjects and grade-levels who are excited about energy research and moving their classrooms toward active, student-centered learning structured around real-world problems. Successful applicants demonstrate their interest and experience in inquiry-based teaching and clearly describe potential applications of the RET experience for their teaching. In evaluating the applications, we also consider factors such as teaching and curriculum development experience, motivation, leadership capability, and research experience. We encourage applicants who work with student populations underrepresented in STEM fields.

For more information: