Undergraduate research offers an opportunity to see how complex questions are asked and answered and the process that goes into both. Students also learn that those who do research must share their findings with the world to make it meaningful.
Publishing work and making presentations of research findings helps the world know about your results and helps establish the student’s expertise in the area.
Student discoveries and inventions have been the subject of new patent applications in the past. If you think you may have something unique that could be patentable, it would need to be protected prior to any public presentation. Please email OTC@wpi.edu, to discuss this with someone from WPI’s Office of Technology Commercialization.
Publishing Research Findings
As an undergraduate, publishing work in journals is valuable for sharing findings and establishing a reputation as a researcher and capable problem solver.
Where can undergraduates publish their work and how can they get started? An advisor can help students find research journals focused on undergraduate work. These are good starting points and help students work up to publishing in professional journals.
Take a look at peer-reviewed journal articles with WPI undergraduate co-authors at the WPI Undergraduate Research Publication Collection.
Presenting Your Research
Presenting research in a public forum helps others learn about the research and begins to establish the student’s depth of knowledge in the field.
Where do undergraduates present their work? Conferences and symposia are places where undergraduates can gain presentation experience. Look for undergraduate presentation sessions or try WPI’s on-campus Works in Progress at WPI Symposia. For presentations that require travel, there may be funding available from the hosting conference or your research advisor may have travel funds to support you. Please check in with the Office of Undergraduate Research by contacting the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Let us know about your presentation and inquire about financial support.
Remember that presentations are professional events, so understanding expectations about posters, attire, and decorum will make students more comfortable and more successful.
You can also present your work remotely on a live platform or with a pre-recorded video, such as the many presentations on the WPI Virtual Undergraduate Research Showcase. The videos below are taken from the session The Making of a Research Video that was held in fall 2020 (press pause before you go left or right to look at another video). During this interactive session, 2-minute segments of students' summer research videos were played, followed by a discussion of what went into the making of the videos. They were joined by members of the Global Lab in the Innovation Studio who shared additional tips. For these summer research videos, the students were specifically asked to introduce their research to a high school audience.
You can access the full video here.
Protecting Your Research
Student MQPs and research projects have led to creations or devices that may be patentable. If you think you may have intellectual property that should be protected, email the Office of Technology Commercialization at OTC@wpi.edu prior to discussing your work publicly.
You can also learn more about the patenting process by taking a look at the videos below from the Patents and Inventions Workshop that was held in fall 2020 (press pause before you go left or right to look at another video). During this interactive session, audience members heard and saw presentations from the experts in the WPI Office of Technology Commercialization. Here is a glossary of terms.
You can access the full video here.