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.
- Comp Sci
- Comp Sci - Game Design
- Creative Writing
- Environmental Science
- Fluid Dynamics
- Literature and Languages
- Organizational Leadership
- Public Health
- Social Science
- Sports Analytics
Training Program for a Professional Athlete
In this project you will create a yearlong training program starting from the off-season until the end of the competition season. Training will be looked at from a holistic perspective and include: • Strength & Conditioning – Prescribe aerobic and resistance exercises to improve the performance of an athlete • Nutrition – Create a nutrition plan that will enable athletes for elite performance with the intention to maximize energy production and recovery • Sports Psychology – Routine to help athletes perform under high pressure and overcome problems with focus and motivation • Therapy – Schedule sessions with physiotherapists, massage therapists, and prescribe self-directed recovery exercises • Exercise Testing – Evaluate the potential success or measure improvement of an athlete by conducting isolated physical tests related to the sport they play
How to Pick A Career (That Actually Fits You)
This is a project about something I’ve been passionate about forever: careers. Because I couldn't explain this better myself, I'll share a slightly edited version of my favorite passage from one of Tim Urban's posts on careers: Society tells us a lot of things about what we should want in a career and what the possibilities are—which is weird because I’m pretty sure society knows very little about any of this. When it comes to careers, society is like your great uncle who traps you at holidays and goes on a 15-minute mostly incoherent unsolicited advice monologue, and you tune out almost the whole time because it’s super clear he has very little idea what he’s talking about and that everything he says is like 45 years outdated. Society is like that great uncle, and conventional wisdom is like his rant. Except in this case, instead of tuning it out, we pay rapt attention to every word, and then we make major career decisions based on what he says. Kind of a weird thing for us to do. Career-path-carving is definitely one of those really really deeply important things. Let’s spell out the obvious reasons why: Time. For most of us, a career (including ancillary career time, like time spent commuting and thinking about your work) will eat up somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 hours. At the moment, a long human life runs at about 750,000 hours. When you subtract childhood (~175,000 hours) and the portion of your adult life you’ll spend sleeping, eating, exercising, and otherwise taking care of the human pet you live in, along with errands and general life upkeep (~325,000 hours), you’re left with 250,000 “meaningful adult hours.” So a typical career will take up somewhere between 20% and 60% of your meaningful adult time—not something to be rash about. Quality of Life. Your career has a major effect on all the non-career hours as well. For those of us not already wealthy through past earnings, marriage, or inheritance, a career doubles as our means of support. The particulars of your career also often play a big role in determining where you live, how flexible your life is, the kinds of things you’re able to do in your free time, and sometimes even in who you end up marrying. Impact. On top of your career being the way you spend much of your time and the means of support for the rest of your time, your career triples as your primary mode of impact-making. Every human life touches thousands of other lives in thousands of different ways, and all of those lives you alter then go on to touch thousands of lives of their own. We can’t test this, but I’m pretty sure that you can select any 80-year-old alive today, go back in time 80 years, find them as an infant, throw the infant in the trash, and then come back to the present day and find a countless number of things changed. All lives make a large impact on the world and on the future—but the kind of impact you end up making is largely within your control, depending on the values you live by and the places you direct your energy. Whatever shape your career path ends up taking, the world will be altered by it. Identity. In our childhoods, people ask us about our career plans by asking us what we want to be when we grow up. When we grow up, we tell people about our careers by telling them what we are. We don’t say, “I practice law”—we say, “I am a lawyer.” This is probably an unhealthy way to think about careers, but the way many societies are right now, a person’s career quadruples as the person’s primary identity. Which is kind of a big thing. So yeah—your career path isn’t like my unfashionable sweatshirt. It’s really really deeply important, putting it squarely in “Definitely absolutely make sure to give it the time it needs” territory. You’re not a pro at this, but you’re certainly more qualified to figure out what’s best for you than our collective un-self-aware great uncle. For those of you yet to start your career who aren’t sure what you want to do with their lives, or those of you currently focusing on a career path who aren’t sure you’re on the right path, I hope this project can help you press the reset button on your thought process and get some clarity.
The power of having a long runway when investing
Investigate the different outcomes of people starting their investing journey at different ages.
Building psychological safety in organizations
This project looks at how psychological safety can be built through intentional management choices. The goal is to understand the effect that leading through culture has on individuals, and the tools that are available to leaders and managers in building a psychologically safe organization.
COVID-19 and Global Financial Crisis
It is shocking how the economic effects of COVID-19 are far outweighting the ones from the Global Financial Crisis 2007-08. How much is the difference in terms of employment? Production? Let's go to the data!
Finance, Statistics, Math, Economics
What Makes a Country Rich?
You can probably name some rich countries and some poor countries, but what makes a rich country rich? Is it natural resources? Their system of government? Their "human capital" -- education and civic spirit? Or is it just a capricious accident of history we have no control over? Whatever you think, the chess grand master Ben Feingold once said (I'm paraphrasing), "unless you know why you gave you answer, your answer isn't right!" How would you go above proving your theory? You could look at case studies, for example, what did the USA do in the post-war years? What did China do under Deng Xiaoping, or Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew? But... how do we know if these methods can generalize? To go from the general to the particular, this is the role of statistics! Using econometric analysis -- a fancy way of saying statistics -- we can test theories about what causes economic growth, and try to uncover some ideas for leaders and politicians who want to create prosperity for their nations.
Comp Sci, AI/ML, Business, Math, Economics, Finance
How does economic hardship affect regional voting patterns?
Certain areas of the US economy have been hard-hit by forces such as automation and globalization. Many observers believe such forces shapes the behavior and preferences of voters in these distressed regions. A research project would analyze how economic hardship influences voters choices for political candidates as well as policy issues in state or local referendums.
Money in developing countries
Increasingly, the use of cash in developed countries is lagging in the past against new modern options such as credit cards and mobile applications. However, this is still not the widespread case in developing countries. How behind are they? Let's quantify that!
Finance, Statistics, Math, Economics
1. Stock Picking.
Essential for anyone interested in business, finance, or for those who want to just understand the stock market a bit better. The class can easily be tailored to the student's existing knowledge & interest, and will cover topics including: - How the stock market works (stocks, trading, etc.) - Fundamental company analysis (how to tell if it’s a good or bad company) - Valuation techniques (is a company cheap or expensive, and why) - Risk vs returns (how to invest responsibly) At the end of the project, the student will pick 3-5 stocks to potentially invest in, and justify his/her choices in a paper or presentation.
Learn how to validate, build, launch and grow your first startup!
Figuring out 3 of life's big questions: 1. What do you do? 2. Who do you do it with? 3. Where do you do it? has always been a struggle, but now more than ever because we're inundated with choices. If you're an aspiring entrepreneur trying to figure out answers to these questions, this project will help you answer these questions as they relate to your career. Whether you already have an existing idea of what you want to do, or you know you want to start your startup but don't have an idea, this project will help you: 1. generate a profitable idea, based on your unique skills, strengths, and interests 2. validate your ideas to ensure they're worthwhile 3. launch your first startup as cheaply and quickly as possible 4. and set up a system to grow it indefinitely 90% of startups fail, and of the 10% that succeed, they take 2-5 years to become profitable. Don't let these statistics fool you though. Following the best practices in the startup ecosystem ensures you don't fall prey to the same mistakes most founders make. In fact, all of my startups became profitable within their first 3 months. Over the course of ~10 sessions, you will learn how to come up with the right ideas, find product-founder fit and product-market fit, leverage cost-effective launch strategies, and the power of incubators, pre-accelerators, and accelerator programs, to skip the years of trial and error most founders undergo. You'll be exposed to idea generation, market research, business development, website design, digital marketing, and sales optimization. Join this project and decide what you want to do, who you want to do it with, and where you want to do it.
Investing in technology startups
People often talk about the latest market opportunity, new groundbreaking technologies, and bringing a great team together. If you're an investor, how do you choose between multiple exciting opportunities? Together we'll explore the kinds of discussions that happen behind closed doors, and explore a few investment opportunities ourselves!
Finance, Business, Math, Physics, Engineering
Personal Finance with An Introduction to Cryptocurrency
Traditional finance is becoming more and more obsolete as more efficient and higher yield strategies emerge in Decentralized Finance (DeFi). Because DeFi leverages blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, it is cheaper, faster, and actually safer than traditional finance. Cryptocurrencies have a long way to go before one or a handful get accepted into the mainstream, but, as students growing up in a world dictated by technological innovation, it is wise to understand how this technology works, and how you can leverage it to save your money more effectively than in a traditional savings account. In this project, you will be introduced to the world of DeFi, learn why you should care about it, and understand why the younger you are, the more advantages you have. You will learn about: - how to set up your personal finance goals and plan - how DeFi technology works so you know what is actually happening with your money - the risks and dangers of DeFi and how to avoid them - the different blockchains competing for dominance in DeFi - cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, but also stablecoins like USDC and DAI - crypto savings accounts with high yields to take advantage of daily compounding interest - Centralized and Decentralized Exchanges to buy, sell, or swap cryptocurrencies - and how to store your assets safely I know emerging technologies seem daunting, but that is because, at first, they are disruptive and difficult to understand. However, if their value outweighs that of the existing system, they will always succeed in replacing the old with a new system. This is why it is important for the younger generations to understand and take advantage of the opportunities presented by DeFi before it becomes the dominant system of finance and you're left in the dark, not knowing how it works. I look forward to being your guide and helping you make your assets work for you.
History of globalization
Examine the history of global trade and how narratives around trade and economic interdependence have evolved in the last two centuries. Students can use data and figures to highlight the growth of trade in the era of globalization. Alternatively, they can focus on some of the broader qualitative questions—drawing on politics, sociology, and philosophy, in addition to economics—that have been at the heart of debates over free trade and national sovereignty going all the way back to Adam Smith and David Ricardo.
Finance, Statistics, Economics
In this project, you will pick a public company that interests you and create a write-up or presentation on why someone should buy or sell that stock. The pitch will include a recommendation, company profile, investment thesis, catalysts, valuation, and risk factors. Be prepared to closely follow company news especially during quarterly and annual reporting periods.
Mentee will perform due diligence on a specific industry, company, or macroeconomic trend and present an investment memo, similar to what would be expected from a professional investor.
Learn to build a personal budget that incorporates living expenses, charitable giving, retirement planning, insurance, and taxes. We can focus on one or all of these aspects for a detailed study and full conceptual understanding.
Financial forecasting and efficient markets
Learn how financial assets (e.g., stocks and bonds) are priced on markets, and how investors construct portfolios out of different assets and asset classes. Then use R or Python to analyze and visualize financial data, and to build rudimentary predictive models that attempt to forecast asset prices. Students can use these models to take a first pass at evaluating the validity of the so-called "efficient-market hypothesis," the idea that asset prices accurately reflect all public information and that attempting to consistently "beat the market" is a fool's errand.
Finance, Statistics, Economics
How can technology reduce the wealth gap in developing countries
With many new innovations around the world and technology propelling more access to those in developing markets, how can business help drive more equality in society?
Investing for Beginners: Equities, Cryptocurrencies, Bonds, and Real Estate
In this project, you will learn about the basics of all the different asset classes and how each instrument serves a specific purpose in one's investment portfolio. You will write a research paper surveying risk characteristics and return potential. Also, you will learn how to analyze businesses and develop financial models. Prerequisites This project is open to all students who have a strong interest in finance and the markets. Strong math skills and a willingness to learn Excel will be helpful.
Finance, Comp Sci, AI/ML
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?