2,893 Inspirational Passion 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.
- Comp Sci
- Creative Writing
- Environmental Science
- Game Design
- Literature and Languages
- Organizational Leadership
- Public Health
- Social Science
- Sports Analytics
What is the value of alternatives to traditional college education?
Traditional 4-year college degrees have become increasingly expensive over recent years. This raises questions about the role that cheaper alternatives to traditional education (like coding bootcamps, apprenticeship programs) can play in the education ecosystem. Some questions we could answer together include: How do the labor market outcomes (like employment rate and salary) of those who completed non-traditional education programs compare to those who attended traditional college? Do the benefits of non-traditional programs differ by the type of program and/or student characteristics? Through this project a student can learn how to write an essay based on existing research, and how to find and analyze data to create original research on the topic.
Machine Learning for Handwriting Recognition
One of the earliest and most successful applications of machine learning is extracting text from images. For this project, we can investigate different machine learning models for handwriting recognition. We can start with the easier task of extracting digits, and then move to alphanumeric text.
Comp Sci, Philosophy, Math, Economics
The Causes and Effects of Inflation in 2022
Inflation hasn't been a major public issue in the U.S. since the 1970s, but it's firmly back in front page news in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Several explanations have been set out for inflation levels approaching 10 percent: global supply chain issues, sharply accelerating demand in the aftermath of COVID, large fiscal stimulus packages, and persistently loose monetary policy. A student project could address a subset of the following questions: Is inflation a problem and if so, why? Who wins and who loses from high levels of inflation? What are the primary causes of inflation in 2022? Why is US inflation higher than that in other countries? What kind of actions can governments take to tackle inflation?
Principles of Economics
This project would cover a condensed version of the key insights from first-year college economics. The student will read appropriate chapters in an economics textbook and attempt problem sets based on this material. The mentoring sessions would discuss the assigned chapters, answer questions, and discuss the assigned problem sets. The student output would be a paper that uses the tools developed during the project to analyse the history and behavior of an industry, a government policy, a management strategy, or individual decision issues such as choosing a profession.
Artificial Intelligence Industry Analysis
Artificial Intelligence, backed by the popularization of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools, is undeniably going to play a big part in our futures. Knowing this, having a strong understanding of the key players in the AI industry can help us identify (and predict) trends in the industry along with what might be the best investment opportunities. This project can include: - Identify key industry-wide factors that can contribute to the growth of the AI industry. Additionally, identify factors that can inhibit growth. - Identify the companies (both public and private) that are the biggest players in the industry. - Among the public companies, analyze their financial statements to determine how their finances may contribute to (or hinder) company growth. - Do a peer analysis of these companies, and identify which company (if any) may be a suitable investment opportunity. In completing this project, you will learn the following: - Market Research of a specific industry - Financial Statement analysis of specific companies - Competitor analysis among different companies in an industry
Healthcare Research Project with Statistics and Data
We will first examine the broad and diverse definitions of "health". Subsequently, we will explore decision making with respect to health from economic, critical, and social theories; who should be responsible for financing the provision of healthcare; and what tradeoffs exists among different modes of healthcare financing systems. At this stage, the project is more philosophical and theoretical in which I want the student to wrestle with these topics and come to their own opinion about health and the financing and provision of healthcare with me as guide they can lean on for assistance and facilitation of critical problem solving. Once the student understands theoretical frameworks as they relate to these topics, I would like to introduce different methods and statistical analyses used to understand the relationship between predictor variables and health outcome variables. I will go over basic research methodology, biostatics, and coding. In the third stage of the project, the student will come up with a research question and hypothesis and we will use a publicly available health data set to test that hypothesis.
Statistics, Healthcare, Business, Economics
Can you always verify whether the arithmetic mean of a finite set of numbers equals to its geometric mean?
Constructive Real Numbers CRNs were introduced by the founder of Computer Science Alan Turing. Essentially a CRN is a computer generated sequence of rational numbers about which you know how fast it converges. Constructive Mathematics was developed in two schools founded by Bishop in the USA and by Markov and Shanin in Russia. You are give a finite set of numbers. It is well known that the geometric mean of them does not exceed the arithmetic mean. The easy part of the project is to show that when the numbers are rational it is easy to create an algorithm that verifies if the arithmetic mean equals to the geometric mean. The challenging part is to show that such an algorithm does not exist in general when the numbers are CRNs.
Math, Economics, Quantitative
The Future of Mining the Deep Sea
This project would produce a research report discussing the prospects and challenges of mining in the deep sea. The student would look into forecasts of mineral markets, resource needs, and technological development and put together a report into the future viability of deep sea mining as an industry. They might also study the ecological consequences that would occur if deep sea mining were ever done at scale.
Analyze an economic issue of your choice!
Economics is the study of who gets what and why. Come to me with a few topics you might be interested in: income inequality, gender, race, education, family, technological change, policy, international trade, poverty in developing countries, financial markets, or [insert the blank]. Together, I'll help you formulate a concrete research or policy question. You'll read up on cutting-edge research on the topic, do some investigation yourself, and write up your own answer to the question. On the way, I'll teach you frameworks that economists use to analyze social phenomena and train you to think like an economist.
Education inequity within the United States
This project involves synthesizing the existing body of research on educational inequality within the United States, and using the information gleaned from existing academic literature to come up with a research topic of your own. It's generally easiest to come up with an idea that is focused on a specific region (i.e. the American South), age group (i.e. elementary school education), or other relevant category, rather than looking at the United States as a whole.
General Law and/or Economics
I would be happy to explore any topics near the intersection of law and economics. We could look at jurisdictional comparisons, learn to read case law for any area of interest, or investigate the subject of judicial activism.
Comparative tax policy
Few topics in economics generate as much heated debate as taxation. Why do some countries have higher taxes than others? How does taxation affect business activity and consumer welfare? What are the arguments for progressive versus flat-rate taxation? More generally, what trade-offs are involved in making economic policy, and how should we weigh our often competing concerns for economic growth, equality, and stability? For a sample deliverable: write a policy memo on why the U.S. should or shouldn't follow other developed countries in adopting a value-added tax (VAT).
Statistics, Economics, Finance
Measuring the impact of online reviews on customer satisfaction and loyalty for a hotel booking platform.
This project aims to design and conduct a survey to measure how online reviews influence customer satisfaction and loyalty for a hotel booking platform. The project will use a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative data from online surveys, interviews, and focus groups. The project will also analyze the relationship between online reviews, customer satisfaction, loyalty, and behavioral outcomes, such as repeat purchases, referrals, and complaints. The project will require skills in survey design, data collection, data analysis, and report writing. The project will be relevant for students who are interested in marketing, consumer behavior, or hospitality management.
Business, Statistics, Math, Economics
The Youth Perspective
Oftentimes, many issues that are decided in legislative bodies most affect children and young adults, yet Congress is one of the oldest in history. Do we have a gerontocracy? How can those under 30 use their firsthand experience to create change within our political system on issues like gun control, school systems, and drug use? This project could either be a proposal or a collection of op-eds.
Philosophy, History, Social Science, Creative Writing, Economics
Cross-Sport Exchanges: A Market for Players
Many cities (and ownership groups) feature multiple sports teams-- what if players could be traded not just within sports but across sports? Could we find a way to equate player value, both in wins and revenue? How would an owner like to split salary caps across sports?
How has broadband access influenced economic opportunity in rural communities?
Modern communication technologies have rapidly expanded access to information across the United States. Remote work offers to transform many sectors of the labor market and democratize employment opportunities across geographies. How has the expansion of broadband affected economic opportunities for workers in rural communities? This project would explore the consequences of broadband infrastructure on employment and economic activity in places with previously limited job opportunities.
Are Medicare and Medicaid optimal for social welfare?
While many economists agree that some people in the society need the government's help to get better medical services, not all agree on the best method to do so. We can use data on Medicare and Medicaid spending and some measured outcomes to evaluate these policies.
Math, Economics, Comp Sci
Examining the Ancient History of Real Estate
This project proposal combines two of my fields of expertise: real estate and history. This project will help students improve research skills, resourcefulness, interpretation skills, historical knowledge, math, and finance skills. The project proposal is to research, analyze, and present findings on ancient real estate transactions. The source of the information would be university databases that have translated thousands of ancient texts that recorded business transactions. We would use these very ancient documents, mostly written on papyrus parchment, and word-search through the translations to find documents that recorded real estate transactions. We would then decide the best way to present our favorite deals, whether that would be a research paper, deal analysis, video/podcast, powerpoint, online data presentation map, etc.
Business, Social Science, History, Economics, Finance
Gender Economic Inequality
Women tend to be the workforce majority in many service industries including healthcare, social work, hospitality and retail. For these reasons, women’s livelihoods have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Potential research ideas include: How has female employment status been impacted by the pandemic? What are implications of female unemployment on the college degree, attendance and completion of women? How has the gig economy influenced women’s work opportunities?
Why do we visit museums? Surveying people's perceptions to visit museums is a complicated undertaking, but with a carefully designed survey instrument, we can uncover interesting motivations and make them known to museums and others, perhaps even to push the field of arts and cultural institutions forward in ways that might better meet their audiences and stakeholders where they are and where they want to be.