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.

Epilepsy and its genetic components

Epilepsy is a disease characterized by consistent seizures seen as chaotic brain electrical waves. A literature review of its genetic components and how it relates to the electrical manifestation as seen by the brain waves would be valuable. There are known genetic risk factors. In addition, gene expression measured by RNA transcription can vary based on varying types of epilepsy. These different components are all genetic variations of how epilepsy manifests. In addition, there are varying presentations of epilepsy in terms of what type of brain waves are seen, where in the brain the epilepsy is believed to originate from, and also what structural abnormalities there might be.

Neuroscience, Statistics, Math

Adam
Adam

The genetic algorithm

The genetic algorithm is a stochastic (randomized) algorithm which is not often used in computer science, but has sparked the curiosity of researchers in the past 40 years. The algorithm itself is both intuitive and appealing (one should look this up to see more), but has some natural drawbacks. Often randomized algorithms are used to provide heuristic solutions to NP-complete problems in computer science (i.e. the traveling salesmen problem). Using a genetic algorithm in such a problem would provide interesting results, and some insight into the strengths and advantages of this mysterious tool. We would begin with an overview of stochastic annealing, and some popular randomized algorithms. This would be followed with some search and review of the genetic algorithm, followed by some novel implementation in a general NP-complete CS problem.

Statistics, Math, AI/ML

Ari
Ari

Imagine if: Student perspectives on how to make school better

The main research question for this research project is: How would students redesign their school experience to be more interesting and meaningful? To answer this question, the researcher may interview several students from a particular school, asking them what they would change about school to make it a better experience. The researcher would find similarities between all the interviews and use those to develop common themes.

Statistics

Nicole
Nicole

The Literature Review

You wanna learn more about existing research in the field of your choice? I got you. Whether it is to find patterns in past empirical findings, summarize cool theories in a field you like, or lowkey diss the methods used by past researchers, doing an extensive review of the existing literature is the way to go! You'll find research papers, read them critically, and synthesize what you've found. Together, we'll go through the criteria of a "good" research paper, the ways to go about obtaining research papers, and talk about the findings you come across. Choose this project if you're down to read a lot and want to feel like an utter expert on a topic!

Social, Statistics, Psychology, Social Science

Aili
Aili

Satellite Object Detection

Create bounding boxes for satellite images in a satellite dataset (e.g. SPEED+), which can be used to either enhance the creation of a NeRF 3D-model reconstruction or wireframe model.

Creative Writing, Statistics, AI/ML

Kimmy
Kimmy

Modeling patient survival

Knowing what the survival rates and trajectory of a patient is extremely important for doctors to help them think about a treatment plan! How accurately can we model someone's survival? This project will involve learning the basics of survival analysis and machine learning techniques in R.

Statistics, Math, AI/ML

Ivy
Ivy

Predicting Defaults on Personal Loans.

In today's day and age, more and more people are in need of Personal Loans, whether it be to buy a house or use it to invest. Whatever the reason, the bank needs a good reason to trust the borrower is able to pay them back. We can use statistics and machine learning techniques to predict whether or not someone will be able to pay the bank back on time - this is a fantastic opportunity to use statistics and mathematics in a real-world scenario!

Statistics, Math

Sasha
Sasha

Forecasting storms in space

Geomagnetic storms can have disastrous consequences for technologies on Earth such as GPS systems, and power grids. Forecasting extreme weather events in space is important for preventing and minimizing the impact of disturbances on Earth. Space scientists have seen promising results from applying machine learning methods to forecast geomagnetic storms, which often outperform physics-based methods. In this project, we will apply machine learning methods such as neural networks to forecast geomagnetic storms.

Statistics, AI/ML

Daniel
Daniel

History of the future

In this integrative project, we explore what (might) await us in the future. What predictions have previous authors made, and did they come true? What trends do you see? Where does it lead? Outcomes could include a chapter of a "history" book from the year 2100, an analysis of time travel movies, or a piece of art that expresses what effect these changes may have for life on Earth.

Neuroscience, Statistics, Physics

Chuck
Chuck

Performance Pay and Teacher Incentives

One of the central ideas of economics is that people respond to incentives. How does this principle apply to paying teachers? Well, it's complicated! Students could learn about -Value added models of teacher pay -Recent state policies that implement performance pay for teachers -Arguments for and against adding performance pay to teacher salaries -Current empirical evidence on the effects of performance teacher pay policies on student outcomes

Statistics, Economics

Merrill
Merrill

A Libertarian Perspective on Economic and Social Policy

This project would consist of a condensed version of my Harvard class of the same name. For each session the student would read relevant lecture notes and background materials; the mentoring sessions would then consist of a discussion these ideas. The student output would be a careful analysis of a policy not discussed in class, or a set of blogs or op-eds on topics related to the material.

Statistics, Economics

Jeffrey
Jeffrey

Data Analysis of an Open EEG Data Repository

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a non-invasive neural recording that measure electrical potentials generated by the brain using scalp electrodes. In an effort to open scientific collaboration to global researchers, scientists have released EEG datasets as open repositories on websites such as OpenNeuro and PhysioNet, among others. This project would involve analyzing a dataset using data science and statistical methods in pursuit of scientific insight regarding a hypothesis-driven research question. This project will utilize skills ranging from scientific literature review, hypothesis generation and research design, implementation of statistical methods, and programming in Python/MATLAB. This project would be ideal for a student interest in neuroscience or medicine with an aptitude for quantitative methods and coding.

Statistics, AI/ML

David
David

Data scientist pipeline: sentiment online

This project can teach you the pipeline for becoming an independent data scientist! Answering interesting questions often involves learning how to find data “in the wild”— ethically. We can learn to use an open API to get raw data, clean it, and analyze it. We will then discuss the ethical implications of collecting and using data for social science projects. We will apply computational methods chosen appropriately for your question of interest, perhaps scoping a project to study how people on the internet (Twitter, Reddit, etc) feel about a particular issue, like climate change or COVID-19, through the language they use. We can discuss computational tools for this task-- traditional statistics? Machine learning classification? What are the pros and cons of each computational tool? The final project can be an analysis of your findings, blog post, or academic-style paper discussion.

Statistics, Social Science, AI/ML

Hope
Hope

Cognitive Compensation Strategies for Individuals with Cognitive Impairment

This project could be a review paper on research-based strategies to help people compensate for cognitive difficulties that may be a result of different physical or mental health conditions. Tasks involved in this project would include exploring current research studies in fields such as clinical psychology, rehabilitation psychology, or others that apply these kinds of interventions and discuss their effectiveness. This could be specialized to a certain population or diagnosis, such as dementia, traumatic brain injury, or others. Ideally, the findings of these studies would be summarized and discussed in a written review, with the goals of professional presentation or publication in a peer-reviewed journal. This could also be a more practically focused piece that could be published in an academic blog or other formats more easily accessible to the general public.

Cognitive, Statistics

Alexander
Alexander

An introduction to Optimal Control Theory and its applications

In this project, we will explore the origins and uses of optimal control theory in the context of biological models. Consider a dynamical system where the dynamics are captured by a model described by ordinary differential equations (ODEs). Suppose also that this system has variable(s) which can be externally controlled. How can this external element be controlled in order to produce the “best”, or optimal, outcome that is specified by a pre-specified goal? The theory that seeks to answer this question, often called optimal control theory or dynamic optimization, has been applied in several areas from the biological sciences to economics. Prerequisites: 1. Basic knowledge of multi-variable calculus 2. Some exposure to differential equations 3. Coding experience in MATLAB or Python Suggested (book) reference: Optimal Control Applied to Biological Models, by Suzanne Lenhart and John T. Workman

Statistics, Comp Sci, Math

Abhishek
Abhishek

Player Projection Model

538's RAPTOR and basketball index's PIPM are just two examples of predictive models that take in a players past and current performance to predict out how they will be in the coming years. Similar to the draft model, understanding which player's are on the verge of improving and which have the potential to decline is important for NBA front offices. This project will include data gathering and cleaning, predictive modeling with the potential to create an app based visualization to show results.

Statistics, Sports Analytics

Taylor
Taylor

Player Projection Model

538's RAPTOR and basketball index's PIPM are just two examples of predictive models that take in a players past and current performance to predict out how they will be in the coming years. Similar to the draft model, understanding which player's are on the verge of improving and which have the potential to decline is important for NBA front offices. This project will include data gathering and cleaning, predictive modeling with the potential to create an app based visualization to show results.

Statistics, Sports Analytics

Taylor
Taylor

Or, if you're open to one of my research interests...

I'm interested in anything that has to do with social decision-making. I've worked on dating-app behavior, jury decision-making on criminal cases, and in-game player social behavior. We can find a cool project for you along those lines!

Social, Statistics, Psychology, Social Science

Aili
Aili

Ever wondered how a summer internship can help students?

We can work together to design a research project that looks at how summer internships affect high school students. Do they experience increased aspirations to pursue a certain career? Are they more motivated to do well at school? Do they get better grades? This project will offer you the chance to learn how to design a survey, collect data, conduct interviews, analyze data, and improve your academic writing style. I am open to working on this topic, or any other economics topic(s) of your choosing! For a previous research project, I worked with my advisor on a similar topic. Here is what we found: Recently, policymakers and researchers have explored how time spent outside of the classroom, including early work experience, can affect educational outcomes and reduce inequality across racial and socioeconomic groups. Although research has demonstrated that high-intensity work-based learning programs improve high school graduation and post-secondary enrollment, little is known about the effects of stand-alone private sector employment experiences on student outcomes. We study a unique program that brokers employer-paid summer job internships for Boston public school youth across 150 private sector firms in a variety of industries such as healthcare, finance, biotechnology, higher education, and real estate. Using data from school administrative records, we employ both fixed effects and matching models to estimate the impact of receiving a private sector placement on both high-school and post-secondary outcomes. Both models show similar impacts on outcomes that can be measured repeatedly over time with significant improvements in high school attendance and course failures associated with having had a private sector placement during the summer. Furthermore, we use our matching model to explore outcomes that occur only once, finding that private sector job experience increases standardized test taking as well as the likelihood of on-time high school graduation and college enrollment. These results suggest that private sector employers have an important role to play in the “ecosystem” of summer jobs, beyond government sponsored programs, to support experiences that help prepare youth for both educational and career pathways into adulthood.

Business, Statistics, Math, Languages, Economics

Urbashee
Urbashee

Uninvolved parents

since becoming parents every couple thinks about their children future. Some off them might not be to involve in their child life. Which means the child attitude hits different in different environments. We can find what was the reason to these parents to not be part of their children's life, if they cause any mental health problem to their kids for not being part of their life. If they have sent any child for therapy and how long did this treatment take (months or years). How much money have they spent and was it worthy for not being involve to the child life but instead running after the career.

Finance, Statistics, Math, Economics

Enerik
Enerik