Undergraduate Research and Student Innovation: The Skills to Shape Our World


Christopher Reaves, Ph.D.
Director, Undergraduate Research and Student Innovation
Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

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If your student is ready for a challenge, likes working beyond the traditional boundaries of coursework, and wants to participate in something “hands-on,” then undergraduate research is a must.

If your student is ready for a challenge, likes working beyond the traditional boundaries of coursework, and wants to participate in something “hands-on,” then undergraduate research is a must. Georgia Tech is a leading research university and provides extraordinary opportunities for students to enter the exciting world of discovery and innovation. In Georgia Tech’s strategic plan, President G. P. “Bud” Peterson states, “our role is not only to solve problems, but to shape our world.” Undergraduate research at Georgia Tech helps students acquire this experience, helping them create their own path and set them apart from others.

Opportunities for research experience are available year round, either for course credit or for pay. Research classes for credit count toward free electives in most majors and discipline-specific electives in others. Faculty mentors may hire students as research assistants or students may receive funding through the President’s Undergraduate Research Award (PURA). Options for research also include full-time summer experiences both on- and off-campus and international research.

While open to all students, students planning to pursue graduate degrees or a future career in research and development industries should consider a more robust research experience via the Research Option. This thesis-based program provides an opportunity to get first-hand experience in substantive research, culminating in the production of a thesis paper. It is an excellent way to gain valuable skills and experience into applied or basic research, thus bolstering their graduate school preparation. Plus, many scientific and technical firms favor graduates possessing these practical skills.

To take the student research initiative even further, the Institute has placed an increasing emphasis on students thinking and acting innovatively, hence the creation of the InVenture Prize Competition www.inventureprize.gatech.edu. Students interested in the competition are led by faculty through an incubation process that includes mentoring, the development of entrepreneurial skills and team building. Starting with the student’s own idea, faculty mentors help lead students through a process that culminates in a final, on-stage competition which is broadcast live on public television. From idea to innovation, concept to prototype, problem to solution, the InVenture Prize Competition helps develop individuals who not only have the technical know-how, but also are entrepreneurially savvy.

Students can also attend Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) workshops, participate in the annual spring research symposium, and learn how to find funding for research. Advising is also available for students as they look for research opportunities. Students of all years (freshman through senior) can also participate in student research oriented organizations – the Student Advisory Board for Undergraduate Research (SABUR) and The Tower, Georgia Tech’s undergraduate research journal.

For additional information, visit the UROP website at www.undergradresearch.gatech.edu. Student may also follow us on Facebook, sign up for our list serv or contact us at urop@gatech.edu.

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  • Created By: Rachael Pocklington
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Aug 7, 2012 - 12:50pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:12pm