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.

Go To Market

Take an idea, be it a product or service, and build it into an actual business plan. Focus on creating value for your customer through your business and create a winning sales pitch to secure sales and/or funding.

Finance, Economics, Quantitative

Aaron
Aaron

Simulate planetary orbits around the Sun

In this project, you can create a visualization of how planets orbit the stars by teaching your computational simulation the fundamental laws of physics!

Physics, Comp Sci, AI/ML, Quantitative, Statistics

Husni
Husni

Rent Control in Los Angeles: Past, Present, and Future

This projects explores the development of rent control policy in the City of Los Angeles and how it impacts housing stability and community integration. Students will research the historical root and current discourse on rent control, identify issues in the policy implementation process, and put forward recommendations on how to effectively address the housing needs for people at all income levels.

Social Science, Quantitative

Huixin (Echo)
Huixin (Echo)

The Life and Death of the Special Attack

One common trend among light novels is the use of special attacks, as the main character progresses older techniques fall out of favor, especially in longer titles with hundreds of chapters. A simple project would be to process a light novel and count the frequency of a special attack. Then we can answer some simple questions: -What is their most-used attack? -What is the longest span of chapters a given technique is used for? -Do technique names become more extravagant as the story progresses? -Do any of the above change between different authors (or maybe the same author but different titles)?

Math, Comp Sci, Quantitative

Brandon
Brandon

Using Social Media to Expand Access to Mental Health Support for Teens

About 20% of people will develop mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression, that require mental health care before adolescence. However, more than 80% of these teens will never access the mental health care that they need. Indeed, mental health care is highly inaccessible for teens, as a result of logistical (e.g., cost, transportation) and societal (e.g., mental health stigma) barriers. One solution may be integrating mental health supports into environments within which teens spend a lot of their time. Currently, particularly popular environments for teens are social media platforms, such as Instagram. Thus, there may be benefits to incorporating mental health supports within these platforms. In this research project, your mission is to... (1) Conduct a literature review that covers existing research on efforts to integrate mental health supports within social media platforms (2) Explore the top priorities of social media platform companies and design a proposal for persuading these companies to promote mental wellness among teen users (3) Propose content for the mental health supports based on your review of scientific data (4) Test the effectiveness of a mental health support integrated within a social media platform

Neuroscience, Public Health, Psychology, Quantitative

Olivia
Olivia

Are mangrove restoration efforts effective? Measuring the long-term impacts of restoration efforts.

The re-planting of mangrove habitats have been a popular tool in habitat restoration. However, emerging research shows that many of these restoration efforts don't last. Using satellite imagery, measure the growth (or decline) of a site where a large-scale mangrove restoration operation occurred.

Environmental Science, Social Science, Quantitative

Samantha
Samantha

"Your zip code matters more than your genetic code"

Place matters for your health. Where you grow up, live, work, and play are important predictors of long-term health. In this project, you'll explore how neighborhoods (e.g. economic resources, access to healthy food, green spaces, and education) impact risk for cardiovascular disease AND racial and ethnic disparities. You will learn about public health theories and frameworks, social determinants of health, and health disparities. Students can explore this topic using quantitative or qualitative methods, or both! Quantitative methods include utilizing publicly available, nationally representative surveys such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Qualitative methods include conducting go-along interviews in which students go on a walking tour in neighborhoods with individuals living in that neighborhood.

Public Health, Social Science, Quantitative

Esther
Esther

A Problem in Constructive Mathematics Game Theory

Constructive mathematics works only with numbers and objects that are obtainable as an output of a computer algorithm (or a program in some language classical Turing machine). More precisely it is a pair of programs one generates a Cauchy convergent sequence and the second tells how fast the first program converges. Consider the following economics game played by two people: Player one has two sheets of paper with a number written on each sheet. Player two sees these numbers ad should point to the hand with the maximum number written on a paper sheet held by it. If he/she picks correctly he won the game and if not he/she lost the game. (Here the prize amount associated to winning the game does not matter.) The numbers written on the paper sheets can be either (A) rational fractions or (B) constructive real numbers. The goal of the project is to: Prove that the maximal number can be computed (please produce the winning algorithm). If the numbers are rational then the guessing player has a winning strategy. If the numbers that are written are general constructive numbers then in general one can not produce an algorithm that always gives a winning strategy.

Math, Economics, Quantitative

Vladimir
Vladimir

The Persuasive Potential of Message Framing, Temporal Orientation, and Self-Affirmation in Anti-Vaping Campaigns

This is a project I am currently working on that aims to better understand what aspects of anti-vaping messages are most persuasive. Additionally, the project looks to establish how successful certain messages might be in changing attitudes and behaviors among individuals who use e-cigarettes.

Public Health, Social, Psychology, Social Science, Quantitative

Carolyn
Carolyn

Who's Allowed to be a Citizen?: The History of Exclusionary Immigration Laws in the U.S.

This project examines the history of immigration laws in the U.S. and how these laws have excluded different groups overtime. How have these laws decided who's allowed to enter the country and become a citizen? What are the reasonings for these laws?

Statistics, Social Science, Quantitative

Imma
Imma

Create an E-Mail Spam Filter

Ever wondered how email service hosts are able to detect spam so well? In this project, you can build your own spam filter and test it out!

Physics, Comp Sci, AI/ML, Quantitative, Statistics

Husni
Husni

Conference Paper/Presentation

As an undergraduate, I produced 2 academic papers a year which were presented at international conferences and published in academic journals. Conducting an independent research project will allow you to explore a personal area of interest in more depth and demonstrate your dedication to pursuing knowledge for the sake of learning. Together we will explore your interests, develop the scope of the project (qualitative or quantitative), and learn how to navigate the landscape of current literature to produce a focused, applicable, and professional article of original research.

Music, Creative Writing, Psychology, Social Science, Quantitative

Cayla
Cayla

How social interactions and social networks increase subjective well-being

In this project, we test for underlying mechanisms that galvanize the benefits of social interaction. Across our studies, we ask participants to report how they feel before and after every single social interaction they had over the course of a week. We also ask them to report why they feel the way they did after the interaction. Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, we find evidence that helps understand the benefits to social interactions and can inform interventions in future studies.

Social, Psychology, Social Science, Quantitative

Wicia
Wicia

Harmonic Series and Their Close Friends

From calculus we know that the harmonic series sum_{i=1}^{oo} 1/i diverges. What would happen with the series convergence if you cross out all the terms of the series that contain digit "9." Say, 1/19, 1/29 etc. This is an old olympiad problem. We will try exploring a much harder question for the so called p-series sum_{i=1}^{oo}1/i^p where p is a positive real number.

Math, Economics, Quantitative

Vladimir
Vladimir

Deploying Trading Algorithms with Machine Learning (ML)

This project focuses on employing investment decisions based on model output, particularly for equities and cryptocurrencies. Techniques involve using regression and classification designs to predict the market's price composition. Fundamental and technical data are used. The models will be implemented in Python. Through this project, you will be able to: 1) Develop the mathematical foundations for the ML models and implement them 2) Optimization algorithms for training the models on actual data. 3) Analyze the performance of the trading algorithms

Public Health, Statistics, Economics, Quantitative

John
John

Spectral graph theory

A graph is just a finite set of vertices, with some pairs of vertices connected by edges. Graphs can be described using matrices. What can the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of these matrices tell you about the graph? A lot, as it turns out! Students will need to know some linear algebra for this project.

Math, Quantitative

Alex
Alex

Number theory

How do we know that there are no nonzero integers x, y, and z such that x^4 + y^4 = z^4? How can you tell whether a number is prime? Given numbers n and m, how can you tell whether n differs from some square number by a multiple of m? Can complex numbers tell us anything about ordinary integers? How can you send messages that an eavesdropper won't be able to decipher? These are some of the questions that you'll be able to answer when you learn number theory.

Math, Quantitative

Alex
Alex

Using large citizen science data to draw insights on how the environment impacts migration

Data collection is a perpetual problem in field biology: it is costly, both in terms of time and money. A "good" sample size for some research might involve just 7 or 8 individuals. What if we leveraged data that is already being collected-- enthusiastically collected -- by volunteers across the nation? Passionate birdwatchers across the nation collect and submit data to eBird, the largest citizen-science project to date. eBird is a repository for bird sightings and a place to share data that birders have already been collecting for decades. Even better, eBird makes sightings data publicly available in data packages, letting curious researchers draw amazing insights from distributions of birds. For this proposed project, the researcher could download the eBird basic data set and process the movements of species of interest using the R package "auk". With locations of species in hand, the researcher could conduct habitat modeling with species distribution models, using environmental covariates that the researcher thinks might impact bird distributions. The researcher could then make this species distribution model available as an R "shiny app", which is a web-based application allowing for easy input of queries to produce high quality and impactful data visualizations.

Biology, Quantitative

Dallas
Dallas

Cultural Differences in Self-Control Capabilities

Self-control is an ability to change one's behavior according to standards or norms, and individuals seem to differ in the amount of self-control they possess. One open question is how culture may intersect with self-control capabilities, as some cultures are regarded as "looser" or "tighter" than others with respect to the rules or norms that govern acceptable behavior.

Psychology, Social, Comp Sci, Quantitative, Social Science, Neuroscience

Jean
Jean

Social support and its impacts on mental health among adolescents

Social support is fundamental to mental health. For adolescents in particular, having a strong support system among friends and family is key to practicing good mental health. Using publicly available data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, you will examine the relationship between social support and mental health. You will also explore whether this relationship varies by social factors, such as gender, sexual orientation, and race and ethnicity.

Public Health, Social Science, Quantitative

Esther
Esther