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2022 ASPIRE application is now available

  • A ten-week research program at the University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL)
  • Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Emphasis on research in the rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology fields

In addition to full participation in an on-going HERL research project, students are presented with numerous opportunities for personal and professional development via faculty workshops. ASPIRE participants will write a project paper, develop a poster, and compete in an elevator pitch competition based on their research assignment. The program concludes with the Final Symposium where the winners of the best paper, poster, and elevator pitch are recognized.

The ASPIRE application deadline is March 18, 2022. Do not apply via Handshake; you must apply at the following link:

What do you ASPIRE to be?

The mission of HERL is to continuously improve the mobility and function of people with disabilities through advanced engineering in clinical research and medical rehabilitation. The ASPIRE REU program is designed to promote greater involvement and understanding of Rehabilitation Engineering and assistive technology – while fostering an understanding of the problems faced by individuals with disabilities. This results in a greater ability to apply engineering principles to improve the quality of life, which promotes a higher degree of inclusiveness and greater functionality for people with disabilities.

ASPIRE Program dates: May 16, 2022 – July 21, 2022

Rehabilitation engineering employs a systematic approach to the design, modification, customization and/or fabrication of assistive technology for persons with disabilities. ASPIRE research efforts in rehabilitation engineering are focused on identifying and addressing problems critical to achieving and maintaining the highest possible level of function in areas related to mobility, communications, sensory (e.g., hearing, tactile, vision), and cognition and in activities associated with employment, independent living, and education. Each ASPIRE participant will work directly with HERL faculty and graduate students to help transform the lives of individuals with disabilities. The ASPIRE program provides an exemplary mentoring and resourceful environment that enables undergraduate students to transition from dependent to independent thinkers, develop a sense of excitement about entering an engineering or technical field, and be well prepared for their future careers.


  • Undergraduate students majoring in science, engineering, math, and computer science
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Minorities, women, and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply

ASPIRE provides:

  • Seminars and workshops to augment the research experience
  • $4,750 stipend
  • Housing is provided at no-cost to ASPIRE participants