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.

Mindfulness training in high school students improves interoceptive awareness, reduces anxiety and rumination

For this project, students would perform a combined experiment and literature review investigating the effects of mindfulness meditation on behavioral wellness. Students would be able to function as their own research subjects and track changes in their physical and mental health using an application. Students would be mentored on how to use statistical programs to analyze their data and create figures for potential publication.

Psychiatry, Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Chemistry

Stephanie
Stephanie

Centering Neurodivergent Voices

Autistic adults have long advocated for autism related services and supports to center the voices and opinions of autistic people. A cool project idea would be to interview or survey neurodivergent people of different backgrounds on what they would like to see change about mental health services.

Psychiatry, Public Health, Psychology

Cassie
Cassie

You are What You Eat

Interested in helping others feel better? Well, you are what you eat. Many nutritional changes/deficiencies can drastically impact your mental health and affect diagnoses. This project could include educational content/series for your community or class with local grocery store about how to read labels and know what they consume and how it can affect their mental health.

Psychiatry, Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology

Kia
Kia

Decreasing stigma around mental health in high school students

Perform a literature review on successful ways to increase dialogue in mental health in high school students. Use this to create either a website or a student group to implement these efforts.

Psychiatry, Nutrition

Amy
Amy

Why do people believe conspiracy theories?

Why do people endorse conspiracy theories like the belief that humans have never been to the moon? First we can dive into scientific papers that have studied why conspiracy theories and other extreme beliefs emerge and what environmental conditions might increase them. We can even think about how the covid-19 pandemic has affected people’s conspiracy-related beliefs. You can then use surveys to study whether different forms of stress or emotional states lead to higher endorsement of conspiracy theories. For instance, do people who experience more uncertainty or anger in their lives also believe more conspiracy theories? Have another idea for studying conspiracy theories, let’s try it!

Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Statistics

Leah
Leah

From the Stomach to the Mind – Advertisements of Foods Affects our Brains

The gastrointestinal tract (GI) is often called the second brain. The foods we consume have a massive impact on how we feel and think. We are bombarded with constant advertisements in the media, which influence the types of foods we wish to consume. For this project, you will first note the food advertisements you encounter (media, apps, radio, TV, etc.) and create a blog/website that describes how the nutritional value of such foods affects brain activity.

Psychiatry, Neuroscience

JoColl
JoColl

The Neurological Basis of "Long COVID"

We know that some people have long-term COVID symptoms (brain fog, lethargy, loss of smell/taste), but we don't know why. This project could focus on finding what researchers already know about the way COVID affects the body and brain, and develop some educated hypotheses about the pathology of long COVID symptoms.

Psychiatry, Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology

Megan
Megan

Why do we use rodent models to study addiction?

Have you ever wondered why rodents are used in research settings? Specifically, why do researchers use rodents when studying neurobehavioral conditions that are unique to humans, like addiction?

Psychiatry

Christopher
Christopher

Lifestyle Factors and Mental Health during Covid-19

Are you interested in contributing to the ever-growing research on Covid-19 and its impact? Covid-19 has disrupted all our lives in one way, and research has shown that mental health has changed for many during the past two years as people navigated their way through this difficult time. For this project, you will conduct research by surveying a population of your choice on some of their lifestyle habits during the pandemic and the impact of Covid-19 on their mental health. This project can culminate into either a research paper, a website where you display your findings for the general public or any other creative format of your choice.

Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Public Health

Shirine
Shirine

Lost in translation: research models of the future

The scientific field has faced many challenges over the years to find models (such as monkeys, mice, worms, or computers) for different diseases and research questions about human health. Some questions can be answered with models that don't even require a living organism, while others need live human or non-human primate participation in order to translate findings into medical treatments. This project would explore the pros and cons of different models, as well as an outlook for what the future of scientific research will look like.

Psychiatry, Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology

Megan
Megan

Writing a Research Project Grant Proposal

If you want to go into research, writing an NIH-format research grant proposal is a paramount skill that takes lots of practice to perfect. Writing a grant will involve describing the comprehensive aims of a research project and convincing the reader that the project is worth funding

Psychiatry, Biology, Neuroscience, Literature and Languages

Clara
Clara

Alternative Approaches to the Management of Mental Health Disorders

There are a number of natural and/or non-pharmacologic approaches to the management of disorders like anxiety and depression, but there is a general lack of high-quality research on these topics. A well-constructed review paper could help shed light on non-drug approaches to the treatment of mental health disorders.

Nutrition, Psychiatry, Public Health, Music

Chris
Chris

Are females just acting "hormonal"?

Hormones and the reproductive cycle of the female body play a significant impact on our mental health and well being. How can we protect ourselves in the menstrual cycle? What factors are really at play? This project could take on the form of a research paper or even educational content.

Psychiatry, Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology

Kia
Kia

3. Medical OpEd

Review current treatments available and describe the future directions of the fields of psychiatry, neurology, or neurosurgery.

Psychiatry, Surgery, Neuroscience

Jianna
Jianna

A picture is worth a thousand words: A Visual Display of Neurological Disease

For this projects, students would be asked to create infographics that describe a neurological or psychiatric disease of interest. These graphics should describe nervous system function at any level (molecular (e.g., genetics), cellular or systems (e.g., brain regions).

Psychiatry, Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Chemistry

Stephanie
Stephanie

Get The Word Out!

Is there a mental health or public health topic that you are interested in or that is important to you? Do you want to build awareness, reduce stigma, educate or influence change about it? Do you want to do this by creating a website or social media platform, developing a curriculum or workshop, writing a blog or article, or recording a podcast or video? Let's get creative and get the word out!

Psychiatry, Public Health

Tarik
Tarik

Psychiatry of neurodegenerative diseases

The brain enables us to maintain a stable sense of self, to create understandings of the world and others around us, and to plan for the future. Thus, unsurprisingly, many neurodegenerative illnesses result in greatly disabling psychiatric disturbances. How can we relate these changes to our understanding of “normal” brain function? Are there meaningful insights to be gleaned from comparing neuropsychiatric disorders in those with documented degenerative illnesses to those among individuals in the general population? This is a highly open-ended topic that could be viewed through a number of different lenses.

Psychiatry, Neuroscience

Jared
Jared

Analyze barriers to mental health care access in a population of your interest.

Although mental health is finally gaining attention, unfortunately there are large disparities in who can access mental health care. Performing a literature review to investigate the reasons behind these barriers, and how to circumvent them. Write a research article that analyzes your findings and offers potential solutions. You can customize the project to a population you care about, such as adolescents or certain racial or ethnic groups.

Psychiatry, Biology, Neuroscience, Social, Psychology

Jessica
Jessica

Create your own research proposal!

Is there a topic you've always wanted to investigate? A question you've always had about the way the mind or the brain works? Develop your own research proposal, and maybe even collect some preliminary data! Together we can take your question and use it to develop a hypothesis that will guide your data collection. You could create a survey, perform a literature review, or design your own experiment. I can then help you translate that work into a manuscript.

Psychiatry, Biology, Neuroscience, Social, Psychology

Jessica
Jessica

Attention and social media

Social media research has been burgeoning as a research topic alongside social media companies. Some studies find correlations between mood and social media use as well as impacts on well-being and productivity. As tempting as it is to place social media as the primary cause, it is important to determine the degree social media itself has on our behaviors, thoughts, and moods or if they moderate other variables. This research project would measure attentional span and types of social media (ex. TikTok, Instagram, Facebook) use to determine if there are any nuanced findings between social media types and attention.

Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Psychology

Dewey
Dewey