DPI Research Scholars Program

Digital Scholars Academy

What is the DPI Research Scholars program?

The DPI Research Scholars program is a pilot program to place junior and senior engineering, computer science, data science or data analytics students from UIC, UIUC, and Illinois Tech into teams of 3-5 to work on specific projects identified by the DPI Science Teams

The student teams will engage in research and development activities around a project and produce a set of deliverables, typically a written research report and a presentation, video, or demo.  Students will work remotely on their project 20 hours per week.

Students in the program will enroll in a three-credit-hour course that promotes their exploration of R&D, facilitates interaction among students and student teams, and introduces applied research topics, Chicago tech speakers, and cutting edge technology applications.

What is the benefit of participating in the DPI Research Scholars program?

Science teams will benefit by having students work on technical challenges and getting new perspectives to identify potential solutions.

Students benefit by working on team projects that address real-world issues and by developing technical skills while earning an hourly rate. Students will see first-hand how research projects are formulated and will contribute directly to solutions. Work products can be used to demonstrate their ability to build innovative solutions and perhaps lead to a career in R&D.

What projects are available in the DPI Research Scholars program?

Examples of DPI Science Team projects for students in Spring 2021:

  • Medical Treatment Optimization with AI/ML:  Kidney Wellness is a worldwide medical problem where traditional treatment is just not enough.  Imagine applying AI and ML to multi-modal medical data to create algorithms that predict negative responses during dialysis treatments and adjusts the treatment accordingly. Additionally, these algorithms could provide a physician with a decision support tool to recommend adjustments to medication protocols.
  • Artificial Intelligence meets the brain – using AI for deeper insight into brain health: Our daily experience with the world is multimodal – we see things, we feel textures, we hear noises, smell odors, and taste foods – all to shape our understanding of the world. And the action of consolidating independent data from various independent sources into a single model is called multimodal learning.  One of the major challenges is that most human brain data is siloed and not connected. Our I-BRAIN Science Team has built a one-of-a-kind data and human brain tissue repository with multiple sources of data integrated into one data system, and you can help build and enhance the platform to make this happen. 
  • Autonomous Fleet Control: Do you want to work on the land, air, or sea-based autonomous vehicles?  Develop software and algorithms for routing of multiple autonomous vehicles, determine optimal fleet sizing and power management, orchestrate sensor data collection, and more.

What is the process to get on a DPI Research Scholars project?

Students accepted into the DPI Research Scholars program candidate pool will participate in a zoom call to learn about the science team projects. Students will fill out a preference form for any project on which they would be willing to work, including skills and interest inventory. This information will be used to match students with a science team project.  Once matched, students will work with their student team, their Science Team Advisor, and the DPI Program Administrator to create a solution to address their assigned Science Team Project.

What is the program timeline for students?

  • Application deadline – Nov 20
  • View Project Proposal Presentation (via Zoom) – Dec 3 
  • Submit project preferences – Dec 8
  • Student teams announced – Dec 14
  • First day of classes – Jan 25
  • Weekly meetings with Advisor – Jan 25-April 23
  • Final presentations by April 30

Ready to apply?

Fill out the DPI Research Scholars application today! 


Please email your questions to kplarson@uillinois.edu or check out the frequently asked questions (FAQ) here.