About RET

What Is RET?

RET (Research Experience Programs for Teachers), is one of many acronyms for teacher professional development experiences involving hands-on research in a university, government lab or company. RETs may also be called known as Scientific Work Experience Programs for Teachers (SWEPTs), Teacher Research Experiences (TRE), teacher fellowships, or teacher internships. These experiences often share many features: they take place in the summer, teachers receive a stipend for their participation, and the programs are typically 6-10 weeks in duration.

NSF is the largest funder of Research Experiences for Teachers (RETs) via the Directorates for Engineering (ENG), Geosciences (GEO), Biological Sciences (BIO), Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) and others. The goal of NSF’s programs is to help build long-term collaborative partnerships between K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers, community college faculty, and the NSF university research community by involving teachers in research and helping them translate their research experiences and new knowledge into classroom activities.  Partnerships with inner city schools or other high need schools are especially encouraged, as is participation by underrepresented minorities, women, and persons with disabilities.

NSF features two mechanisms for support of in-service and pre-service K-12 teachers and/or community college faculty:

    1. RET supplements to ongoing awards, and
    2. RET Site awards

RET supplemental requests may be included in proposals for new or renewed NSF grants or as supplements to ongoing NSF funded projects. RET Sites typically involve a cluster of teachers and are based on independent proposals from schools or colleges to initiate and conduct research participation projects for a number of K-12 teachers and/or community college faculty.

Other funders also sponsor RET-like programs, for example the Department of Energy, the National Institutes for Health, NASA, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, etc. Industry groups and educational nonprofits may also sponsor teacher research experiences.

This website is an attempt to provide a comprehensive list of RETs and RET-like programs available to U.S. K-14 teachers. If you are aware of a program that is not listed, please use the contact button at the bottom of this page to let us know about your program. Another directory of Science Training Programs, not just for teachers, can be found at:

Jay Dubner, Columbia University

Kaye Storm, Stanford University

RET Programs
Research Experiences for Teachers
Birmingham, Alabama
ARMADA Project
Narragansett, RI, National
Echinacea Research Project
Glencoe, IL, National
Frontiers in Physiology
Bethesda, MD, National
NOAA Teacher at Sea Program
Silver Spring, MD, National
Research Experiences for Teachers
Minneapolis, MN, National
Science Inquiry for Teachers Program
Tallahassee, National
San Luis Obispo, National