Open Source Research Experience (OSRE) Program Summer 2021


Summer 2021 Now Accepting Student Proposals

Proposals from undergraduate students are now being accepted for the Summer 2021 OSRE Program. Deadline for Student Applications is May 10 (deadline extended).

Interested students should check out our ideas page and contact the relevant mentors before finalizing their application. 


Organizations interested in being sponsors should check out the sponsor information page.

A video detailing the benefits and mechanics of sponsorship is now available.

If you want to be a sponsor please go to our OSRE Pledge Page or contact CROSS directly

For Summer 2021, the Center for Research in Open Source Software (CROSS) is seeking undergraduates interested in working on open source software projects at UC Santa Cruz. CROSS has created a list of project ideas that can be used as a basis for student project proposals. The goal of this program is to increase student capabilities in working in open source projects, add productive contributors to on-going projects, and further promote open source at UC Santa Cruz.

CROSS values diversity and inclusion in all our projects. We invite students from traditionally underrepresented groups in tech and open source communities to apply to this program. Due to the open source nature of all CROSS projects, contributions are welcomed from both UC Santa Cruz and non-UC Santa Cruz students.

CROSS is also still accepting project ideas from mentors (UC Santa Cruz faculty, researchers and PhD students) not currently supported by CROSS. All projects must be open source to be considered for this program. See information for interested mentors below. 


Information for Undergraduate Students Interested in Applying

Why should I apply?

  • The summer project is aimed to increase a student’s real-world coding and developer skills. Selected students benefit from direct mentorship to guide their work and improve their technical abilities. 
  • CROSS is also planning to provide a stipend for student’s summer work. More details on that coming soon.


What skills do I need to apply?

  • Each project idea has listed required skills needed for to contribute. If you see a project you are interested in, reach out to the mentors for specific questions about what capabilities you will need. 


How do I apply?


What is the duration of the program?

  • Student summer experience runs from June 14 to Sept 10.


Does my project have to be open source?

  • Yes. All work under this program must be open sourced upon completion. 

    Note: All software created as part of a CROSS project must be released as free and open source under a license that is both approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and recognized as free by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). 


Do I have to be on-campus to do this program?

  • No. This program is expected to be done remotely. There is no requirement for students to come to campus. 


Is this program open to non-UC Santa Cruz students?

  • Yes. Any undergraduate student over 18 can apply. This includes community college students. For students at non-U.S. universities, please reach out to CROSS to discuss your eligibility.

Summer Research Proposal Template

CROSS teaches students how to productively engage in open source communities, funds high-impact research with potential of creating successful open source projects, and incubates developer communities around research prototypes. As part of this, CROSS supports a number of research and incubator fellows and their open source projects on a varying range of topics at the UC Santa Cruz Baskin School of Engineering. If you don't see a specific topic or activity listed on our ideas page feel free to suggest your own idea. Check out our research and incubator lists for our on-going projects.

Our ideas page also gives the contact information for our mentors. Students are expected to reach out to these mentors early on in the proposals stage and should have had some interaction with them prior to finalizing their proposals. Please follow the template below to apply for the CROSS Summer Research Program.  If you have questions please feel free to reach out to your mentor or CROSS staff (


Proposal Template


  • Proposal Title

  • Define the problem you are trying to solve

  • Provide background about the current state of the problem and describe your solution

Project goals

  • Project objectives and expected deliverables

Implementation Plan

  • Project methodology (How will you work to meet your goals?)

  • Describe the project's technical elements

Project Timeline

  • Project plan and deliverables schedule 

Biographical information

  • Contact information: full name, email address, current academic affiliation 

    • Optional: Blog URL, github or twitter accounts; any additional contact information you think we need.

  • Relevant experience / previous work

  • Relevant education background; list relevant coursework if applicable.

  • Programming/development interests and strengths


Note to all applicants:

  • Seek out mentors and other relevant contributors to learn more about the communities you want to work in. You are encouraged to ask questions and mentors are here to help you improve your application.



Why should I be a mentor?

  • If you could use undergraduate research assistance over the summer with your on-going research, this is a great opportunity to get matched to tops students.

  • You get to decide which student projects sound interesting to you and who you want to work with.


Who can be a mentor?

  • UC Santa Cruz faculty, researchers or graduate students working on projects that are or will ultimately be part of an open source community.


Do the projects we want help with need to be open source?

  • Yes. All projects funded by CROSS or facilitated through this program must be open source projects.

Note: All software created as part of a CROSS project must be released as free and open source under a license that is both approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and recognized as free by the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

What kind of projects are you accepting? Are their specific technologies or topics that you prefer?

  • CROSS is interested in supporting a wide range of open source communities at UC Santa Cruz. We have no requirement for the type of technology being worked on so long as it is or ultimately will be part of an open source project or community.


Will CROSS provide funding for my selected student even if I am not affiliated with the Center?

  • CROSS can work with mentors to secure sponsorships from interested outside organizations (industry, foundations, etc). Check with CROSS directly about sponsorship options.
  • CROSS is also hoping to use various supplemental funding options to support as many projects as possible over the summer. If you have access to supplemental funding for undergraduate researchers, such as through an REU, CROSS can work with you to secure that supplemental funding and identify appropriate students. 

See Also