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What is DPI Research Scholars?

DPI Research Scholars is a new 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 the exploration of R&D that is infused with the spirit of entrepreneurship, 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?

The DPI Science Teams will benefit by having students work on technical challenges and getting new perspectives to bring solutions from ideation to reality.

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 realizing solutions. Work products can be used to demonstrate the student’s ability to build innovative solutions and could even propel them toward a career in R&D.

What projects are available in the DPI Research Scholars Program?

Examples of Science Team Projects for students in Spring 2021:

  • 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 deep 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. Using this data, we are mapping diagnostics and treatments for a myriad of brain-related disorders.

  • 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.

  • Construction and Artificial Intelligence:

      Can you imagine what a construction site will look like in a day, in a week … in a month? Or what materials we will need on a specific day? We can. We are using artificial intelligence to improve the construction process flow, manage the inventory, and navigate the payment process. This project has been a great opportunity for students to learn and use AI/ML/NLP skills to help move this project to the next level.

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 in more detail about the Science Team projects. Students will fill out a preference form for any project on which they would be willing to work, including a 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?

  • February 18 – Application opens (link available soon)
  • March 3, 1:00-1:30 p.m.Information session
  • March 8, 5:00 p.m. – Final information session; or, watch a video of a past information session
  • April 8, 11:55pm –  Application closes
  • April 7 – Project pitch day — 12 noon to 1 p.m. (Pitch day video will be distributed to students unable to attend)
  • April 12 – Student preferences forms — due by 5:00 p.m. (link available soon)
  • April 25 –  Student matching to science teams completed /student teams announced
  • August 15-19 –  Kick-off/orientation meetings between students and science teams
  • August 22 –  First day of classes
  • August 22-December 9–  Weekly meetings with advisor
  • Mid to late October –  Mid-term presentations
  • December 5 -December 16 –  Final presentations

Apply Today


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