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Student Research

What does research mean at Rochester?

Research is the systematic pursuit of knowledge and an exciting process of discovery. As a Rochester student, you’ll have the opportunity to engage in real research. Your research could be aesthetic, socio-political, scientific, or technical. You choose the tools, gather the data, and delve deeper to find answers.

No matter your passion, Rochester is a great fit if you’re interested in doing research. Not only is the University a major research institution with world-class scholars, scientists, libraries, and laboratories, but it also has a long-standing commitment to making these resources fully available to undergraduates. As a result, you’ll find our student researchers working in the lab and in the field, independently and with industry partners, in our local communities and all over the world.

How to fund research

The University’s Research and Innovation Grants (RIG) are awards that make research possible for students in the College. RIG helps get you involved in experiential activities that:

  • Stimulate your mind
  • Broaden your perspectives
  • Expand your intellectual and social networking
  • Strengthen your connections to the University community and the research and creative communities throughout the world

RIG provide research funding of $3,500 for undergraduates students working with a faculty sponsor. Only students applying to the College are eligible for these grants. Eligible sponsors are faculty members holding any type of appointment (including clinical, emeritus, adjunct, research associate, instructor, etc.) in any part of the University.

In addition to RIG, students can apply to other University of Rochester research grants and awards, such as the Discover Grant and the Barth-Crapsey Award.

Research is about confronting the status quo

The University of Rochester is one of the country’s top-tier research institutions and attracts more than $400 million in research funding each year. With world-class facilities and a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Rochester is an ideal place for students to team up with professors and challenge current theories.

Making robots smarter, and more user friendly

Programming language can look foreign to someone who has never written code, but for a computer scientist, it’s second nature. For robots, it has been the only way to communicate with their human counterparts—that is, until recent advances in the field of human computer interaction.

For Steven Broida, a computer science major, helping to further bridge that gap between people and robots is a goal of his summer research. Specifically, he’s building a program that not only understands human speech and acts on simple commands, but also learns its environment and becomes smarter as it works with people and learns their needs.

Saving the Earth from asteroids

It’s a common plot line for disaster movies: an asteroid is speeding toward Earth, spelling certain doom unless a hero can step forward and save the day. While Hollywood might not always get the science right, researchers in the Infrared Research Laboratory at the University of Rochester know all too well how real that doomsday possibility is, given the right circumstances.

That’s why NASA has commissioned their lab and other researchers to develop the imaging technology that can spot these objects and potentially divert them before they can reach our orbit. NEOCam (Near-Earth Object Camera) will use infrared sensors that are being tested in this lab, with the help of a team that includes undergraduates like Diarra Bell, a double major in Physics and astronomy, and computer science.

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