Research & Innovation

At WPI we think differently. We recognize that research doesn’t always mean a pursuit of one ultimate, correct answer. Instead it involves creativity, imagination, an open-mind, and the willingness to explore all possibilities and details surrounding a question.

The work our faculty is doing connects directly to the focus areas in Arts & Sciences and inspires our students who are the next generation of researchers. We believe that research and learning happens everywhere not just in the classroom or laboratory. Our broad range of disciplines in Arts & Sciences is supported by an equally comprehensive collection of facilities.

The School of Arts & Sciences had nearly $14.6 million in research expenditures in FY 21 (40% of all research expenditures at WPI).

Research in Action

Through his mobile health and sensing research, EPICC PI Emmanuel Agu is looking at the role mobile devices, smartphones, and health care apps can play in capturing important health data and biomarkers.

Recent NSF CAREER Award Recipients


Kun-Ta Wu, Physics

Kun-Ta Wu, assistant professor of physics, received a $520,895 NSF CAREER Award to characterize and model how tiny amounts of “active” fluids move and flow while mixing together on their own. His project could have implications for the miniaturization of industrial processes and greater efficiency in fields such as chemical, biological, and pharmaceutical engineering. Wu will collaborate with researchers at Brown University, Michigan State University, Brandeis University, and National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. 



Jacob Whitehill, Computer Science

Jacob Whitehill, assistant professor of computer science, received a $691,980 NSF CAREER Award to develop new scientific instruments for classroom observation using a multi-modal machine learning approach. This project seeks to harness artificial intelligence to improve the quality of classroom teaching and the precision of educational research through new methods of observing the interpersonal dynamics between teachers, students, and their peers. Read more about him.


Yanhua Li, Computer Science

Yanhua Li, associate professor of computer science, received a $529,537 NSF CAREER Award to develop, implement, and evaluate a unified framework to learn the decision-making strategies of human agents from their generated mobility data. Understanding and incorporating human decision-making strategies will bring significant benefits to the growing gig-worker population and transportation marketplace.

Research Facilities

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The Human-Robot Interaction Lab

The Human-Robot Interaction Lab provides an interdisciplinary, collaborative environment for state-of-the-art research into human-computer interaction.

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IPG Photonics Lab

The IPG Photonics Lab allows us to research the field of photonics - the study and application of light - with emphasis on fibers, lasers, and detectors for diverse industries.

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Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center

The world-class, 124,600-square-foot Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center serves as the focal point for education and research in the life sciences and related bioengineering fields.

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The Environmental Laboratory

The Fuller Laboratories are used by faculty and student researchers for state-of-the-art environmental analyses of water and wastewater and for conducting treatability studies.

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Educational Psychology Laboratory

The Educational Psychology Laboratory allows us to conduct cutting-edge research at the intersection of educational data mining and human-computer interaction.

Digital Art Lab

The Digital Art Studio

The Digital Art Studio is a modern space suitable for creating and editing digital art with a green screen, moveable projectors, and camera equipment. This multi-use studio also has ample space and lighting for the traditional arts.

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Alden Memorial

Alden Hall holds rehearsal and performance venues including the Great Hall, the Spaulding Recital Hall, the Perreault Chamber, and the Janet Earle Choral Rehearsal Room.

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Little Theatre

The intimate, black-box-style Little Theatre is WPI’s first dedicated theatre facility and is well suited for a wide range of dramatic presentations by the many student-run theatre groups at WPI.

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Behavioral Science Labs

Our behavioral science labs allow us to study effects of subtle social environmental cues on perception, decision making, and interpersonal conduct.