Meliora letters spelled out in front of Rush Rhees Library

Student Research

77% of Rochester students are involved in undergraduate research.

What Does Research Mean at Rochester?

Research is the systematic pursuit of knowledge and an exciting process of discovery. Every field of study has its own research problems and methods. As a Rochester student, you’ll engage in real research, seeking answers to questions of great interest to you. Your research could be aesthetic, socio-political, scientific, or technical. You choose the tools, gather the data, and delve deeper to find answers.

If you have a strong interest in doing research, it’s likely that you especially will at Rochester. Not only is the University a major research institution with world-class scholars, scientists, libraries, and laboratories, it also has a long-standing commitment to making these resources fully available to undergraduates.

Research exemplifies the kind of learning that the Rochester Curriculum is all about: interest-driven, disciplined, “real,” making you the author of your education. With a high ratio of faculty to students, it’s possible for almost any student to do research, if they want to. The key is finding a professor to advise you and guide you in the process. What makes research an educational experience is that in doing it, many students find they really learn how to learn. It makes their academic courses more meaningful and opens up new worlds of knowledge.

How to Fund Research

One way to make all of this possible is to be awarded a Research and Innovation Grant (RIG). The goal of RIG is to 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.

RIGs provide research expenses of $3,000–$4,500 for undergraduate 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.

Current Research

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 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, 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, building a program that can not only understand human speech and act on simple commands, but learn its environment and become 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 some hero can step forward and save the day. While Hollywood might not always science right, researchers in the Infrared Research Laboratory at the University of Rochester know all too well how real that possibility is, given then 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 rising sophomore Diarra Bell, a double major in physics and astronomy, and computer science.