2,893 Inspirational Research Project Ideas
Turn inspirations into your passion project
This collection of project ideas, shared by Polygence mentors, is meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors. For examples of projects that have been completed by Polygence scholars, check out the Projects page.
Digital Application Design
Digital apps for our phones, tablets, and computers are increasingly diverse, expressive and easy to use. Good application design is behind this progress and essential to creating a pleasant experience for the user. We will work together to design the visual interface and user experience for your own digital application, ending with an interactive prototype. Our process will begin with learning about design systems and layout strategies through exercises withing Adobe XD. We'll do a deep dive into some apps that you love in order to learn what makes them so lovable, from their design strategy to the visual systems we will dissect their visual elements. Then you will come up with an original app idea, together we will create wireframes, user stories, and ultimately a completed interactive prototype of your app.
For this project, the student and I will come up with an interesting topic and pick a few research papers around the topic. We will discuss the papers and their scientific contributions as well as their downfalls. Once those are established, we will either write an article reviewing the literature and suggesting the next steps or we will make a presentation on the topic. The drawback analysis can focus on ethics, sustainability, bias, and other problems the student may want to discuss.
Fan Cost Index & Attendance
As COVID comes to an end, a major concern of all major professional sports league (NBA, MLB, NFL & NHL) is the return of max attendance throughout their stadiums and venues. Yet this recovery has not come as quickly as some may have hoped and that can be due to a multitude of reasons. One major variable that would be interesting to look into is the cost of attending these events as it seems these events never go down in price. Cost of attendance could be a major deterrent for fans as they need to decide where discretionary money is spent. Analyzing the cost of attending sporting events by league, team, and region could be a major insight into why attendance may be stagnant.
Finance, Business, History, Sports Reporting
Well, what happens next?: A deeper dive into steps to take to heal after a mass shooting in schools
With the rise of school shootings, science must dive deeper into steps to be taken after an entire community of developing students experience the same traumatic event. We will look at interventions, both individual and communal, to help young students heal from mass school shootings and unexplainable loss. This project aims to bring awareness to tools that schools and communities can use to help students overcome shared trauma. A podcast or paper would bring tremendous awareness to a field so known yet still requires so much research.
Evolving Algorithms to Play Classic Video Games
Some techniques from deep reinforcement learning have already been used to train neural networks to play classic Atari video games at above human level proficiency. I could advise a student in developing a platform for training evolutionary algorithms or classical reinforcement learning agents to attempt to learn to play a video game that they are familiar with.
Comp Sci, AI/ML
Exploring thermalization of quantum systems
A quantum system is said to be "thermal" if its long time behavior is effectively described by the laws of thermodynamics/statistical mechanics. Despite the laws of thermodynamics being inescapable in our day-to-day lives, not all quantum systems are actually thermal. It is therefore important, both fundamentally and practically, to understand the mechanisms by which quantum systems are able to become thermal. In this project, you will learn how to represent quantum many-body systems on a computer, and explore how and when quantum many-body systems thermalize (as well as learning how to tell when this has occurred!). We will start with examples of well-known systems; time permitting, we will move on to more complicated systems (and possibly ones that have not yet been studied in the literature!)
Mechanical testing of various knit architectures
Students will understand the differences between knit architectures and relate these architectures to knit patterns. Students will learn the basics of mechanical/structural testing and understand mechanical property evaluation. Students will gain experience in designing experiments. Students will have the option to extend their study to pattern optimization.
Engineering, Fluid Dynamics
Multimedia explanation of CAR-T
Although CAR-T therapy has shown promising results and has been approved by the FDA, many patients are yet unaware of what CAR-T therapy is and how it could help them. This project could be a multimedia (blog, website, slideshow, video, etc) way to explain CAR-T therapy to the non-scientist.
Cancer, Biotech, Engineering
Changing in the Workforce in Medicine
Analysis of AAMC data regarding changes in the workforce over the last 20 years. Trends in gender, race, location, and number would be analyzed.
Cancer, Neuroscience, Biotech
2. Cancer therapy resistance:
Cancer is very difficult to treat, each cancer is different and they can quickly develop resistance to various treatments. In this project you can learn about cancer treatments, drug resistance and predictive biomarkers of resistance. It's all about personalized medicine. Through data-mining you will identify potential new markers of clinical therapy resistance.
Curating an Exhibition in VR
Curating an art exhibition requires a unique mixture of skills: research, writing, design, storytelling, and strong aesthetic sensibilities. It's essentially making an argument about politics and culture through images. In this project, students design an art exhibition from scratch using a virtual gallery space like artsteps. I'll work with you to define a research question, learn the principles behind curating, write a compelling catalogue essay about the show, and design a virtual space that you can explore in VR. You'll bring an issue that matters deeply to you and we'll work to assemble artworks, from Instagram to museum collections, that help to tell your story.
How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life
We are living in a time of deep divisions. Americans are sorting themselves along racial, religious, and cultural lines, leading to a level of polarization that the country hasn’t seen since the Civil War. But how, exactly, can this be done? You will learn about what institutions are important for maintaining a democratic society and how “social infrastructure” is helping to solve some of our most pressing societal challenges. You will also learn about network effects, heuristics and biases, and principles of community and belonging. You will research and write a paper on this topic, connecting concepts of social psychology and sociology of physical and digital spaces to propose a theory of how we can preserve democracy amidst the rise of individualism.
3. PROPOSE (advanced level)
Do you have an advanced proficiency in the biological sciences? Have you worked in a biology research laboratory before? Are you considering applying for a research fellowship in college? Let's do this together! The PROPOSE project is a highly individualized and free-form project. The goal is to take everything that you've learned so far and put it into a single body of work: this can be a fellowship application, grant proposal, manuscript of a scientific article, poster, science fair project. Along the way, you will develop advanced scientific skills that will make you highly competitive when you apply to college. What you do in this project and the direction that it takes is entirely up to you!
What is the effect of noise distraction on test scores?
Essentially testing students' abilities to excel in a noisy enviornment. This will be done by designing a research experiment and completing a research project. In this project, you will design a research project that can be completed at home, gather data, and present that data as either a scientific poster or talk. You will learn about the scientific process, how to construct appropriate figures for your data, and how to communicate your results in a formal presentation.
Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology
Do some quantitative social science research!
Do you love numbers and graphs, and have experience with programming? Let's learn about human behavior from a publicly available data set for a topic of your choice. You will learn about how to formulate a research question, work with the data, make plots, make inference, and ask follow-up questions. You'll write this up in a short academic paper describing your analysis.
Become a designer!
You don't need to be an engineer to be a designer; we all design little parts of our lives all the time, from our bedrooms, to our schedules, to our outfits or meals. Good design usually starts with a problem, not a sudden spark of inspiration. To learn to be more intentional with design and how you can design in simple ways to make your day-to-day life better, spend a week going about your daily activities and writing down anything that bothers you, even if it's just a little bit. These can be minor or major inconveniences; flaws in buildings, products, or experiences you interact with; or anything else that bugs you. We will go over this list together, considering which problem or problems you might be able to address through design, and select one to focus on. I will guide you through the design process, from problem exploration, to idea generation, to prototyping and testing, and you will end with a solution and new confidence in yourself as a designer and problem-solver!
Family Recipe Zine
For a student who finds comfort and connection to their culture through both cooking and writing, we would create a short, printable book. This book could include family recipes written by hand, scanned photos, and fiction (or nonfiction) stories or poems related to the meals and memories.
Literature, Creative Writing, Arts
How to be present in the age of smartphones
Are you part of Gen Z and interested in learning about what role smartphones play in your life? Consider exploring this question and learning about how people's mental health is affected by smartphone use. In this project, you would collect your own data (re: screen time, app use, etc.), analyze your data, and present it in whatever form speaks to you (research paper, podcast, video, etc.).
Biology, Nutrition, Medicine
Launching a Small Business
Channel your passion into profit! Learn what it takes to start a business and how to seek investor funding to help it grow.
Write a collection of poems written under my guidance and advisory. This project has the potential for mentorship in both formal verse and free verse, and guidance with both line edits and revision. Receive insight and guidance into the publishing world, and help with cover letters and manuscript submissions.
Creative Writing, Literature, Languages