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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 in Spring 2022 and Fall 2022

  • Bridge Deck and Pavement – Project Mentors: Ann Sychterz, Eric Shaffer

    The Bridge Deck and Pavement Rapid Assessment team is working on using machine learning tools to determine the condition of bridge deck materials, the need for maintenance/replacement, and the overall safety of the structure. The team is using vibration-based assessment techniques using accelerometers, applying machine learning methods to classify material health, and create an augmented reality application for mobile phones to transmit this performance to the on-site observer of the bridge deck.

  • Create Wisdom – Project Mentors: Dr. Karl Kochendorfer, Wael Mobeirek

    This project will advance the development of a system that enables clinicians to search, filter, and retrieve clinical, organizational, and personal information at the point of care. The team is using a wide variety of website development, elasticsearch, and software development skills and tools to simplify the diagnosis and treatment decisions and improve patient and clinician experiences as well as patient outcomes.

  • Media Misinformation – Project Mentors: Kevin Leicht, James Evans

    The ability to detect and mitigate the spread of misinformation via the World Wide Web is perhaps the enduring challenge of the 21st Century and has profound implications for how science and other factual information is received and accepted. This project strives to use data science, AI, machine learning, and natural language processing to produce a ready-to-use product that labels misinformation independent from (but in consultation with) social media platforms in real time.

  • Net Zero – Project Mentors: Farhad Ansari, Rigel Gjomeno

    Combating climate change requires a massive scale-up of renewable energy usage in our lives. The goal of this project is to use intuitive data visualization panels to help local and regional stakeholder groups improve the adoption of renewable energy in transportation and other fields. This project uses a digital twin framework to digitally simulate activities and determine the impacts of urban planning strategies. Specifically, this project is looking at determining the optimal placement of EV charging stations in a specific neighborhood of Chicago.

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.