2020 Ardent Research Program Session 2 Starts July 11

Session 2 Applications OPEN

**Apply HERE for 2020 Senior Division (Rising Grades 9-12)**

**Apply HERE for 2020 Junior Division (Rising Grades 6-8)**

2020 Ardent Research Program applications are now open! The Ardent Research Program helps students develop skills in bibliographic research, research methodology, mathematical and computational tools, and effective communication of research results. Students participate in group classes, web-based collaboration, individual meetings, and receive research assistance while conducting research at Ardent Academy or with a student-selected mentor at a university, medical center, or research institute. Students who are able to complete a project will have the opportunity to enter local, state and/or national science competitions. Students must complete an application and be approved before registering.


What is Ardent Science Research Program?

Ardent Research Program is an intensive research training program for academically talented and motivated middle and high school students interested in conducting research projects and preparing for science fairs and research projects. The program consists of formal research methodology training followed by guided independent research with mentors in the summer and throughout the academic year. Around 40 students participate in the program every year.

Past participants have won awards at international, national, state, and local competitions including the Regeneron Science Talent Search, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Broadcom MASTERS, Google Science Fair, Davidson Fellow, Junior Science and Humanity Symposium, California Science and Engineering Fair, Orange County Science and Engineering Fair, and more. They have also published in reputable journals, presented in professional conferences, and been accepted to top colleges such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Yale, Princeton, UPenn, Columbia, and UC Berkeley.

Program Highlights

  1. Research methodology training
  2. Research mentorship
  3. One presentation coaching session before science fair
  4. One poster day presentation practice before science fair

Program Fees

  • Application: Free to apply!
  • Early Enrollment Tuition: $1,750.00 per Student
  • Regular Enrollment Tuition: $1,950.00 per Student

Program Key Dates

  • Application Open: Monday, February 17, 2020
  • Admission Decisions: Rolling
  • Session 2 Early Enrollment Deadline: Mon, June 15, 2020

How to Apply

  1. Apply for the correct division using the corresponding application link below.
Jr. Science Research (Grades 6-8)

Click here for the application

Sr. Science Research (Grades 9-12)

Click here for the application

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are there age restrictions to participate in the program? Who can join your Summer 2020 Ardent Research Program? Any aspiring students in grades 6-12* with an interest and passion in STEM should consider this program. *Rising grade for Fall 2020
  2. Do I need prior experience to join your research program? No, you do not. Our Ardent Research Mentor team will evaluate your application and guide you towards building the skills and knowledge that you need.
  3. Do you provide lab equipment for research? We do offer simple biology and physics lab equipment.
  4. What kind of science fairs will my student be able to join? Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) students will first experience their school science fairs, and may then be selected for the district science fair. Non-IUSD students will need to submit their online application to the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF) website -- click HERE for details. 
  5. Do you help with finding research labs at colleges/universities? No, we do not.
  6. Can I partially attend training sessions in Option 1 (6/15-26, 2020) and return to take the rest in Option 2 (7/13-24, 2020)? Yes, you can.
  7. What are the science fair rules like? Click HERE to view OCSEF rules and HERE to view California Science & Engineering Fair Rules.
  8. What is required for the program? Submit online application HERE for Junior Division (Gr 6-8) and HERE for Senior Division (Gr 9-12).
  9. Is the application competitive? Yes. We must select a small group to work with for each division from a large pool of applicants. Please fill out the online application thoroughly.
  10. What goes guided research entail? The purpose of this course is to develop the students' ability to identify a research topic, complete their own thorough scientific investigation on said topic, and report their findings through written and oral presentations. Specific objectives include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Understand the scientific research process
    2. Develop experience with experimental techniques specific to their field of research
    3. Develop a working knowledge of searching for literature
    4. Understand the importance of communicating in clear, concise writing as a scientist
    5. Practice scientific writing and participate in the peer review process
    6. Practice orally presenting and defending their research
    7. Produce a paper or poster of their research
  11. Will I complete a project ready for science fair in the summer? Time of completion varies depending on the project scale. Most students complete 90% of their projects by the end of summer, and will complete it 100% by no later than December 15, 2020.
  12. Do I need to attend both training sessions? No, you only need to attend one session.
  13. Will I receive help selecting a research topic? You will be able to discuss possible research topics with Dr. Li.
  14. How much time does the program require? To produce a successful science fair research project, selected students must be able to devote a minimum of 160 hours during the summer towards their research effort.
  15. What if I don't get accepted? Regardless of acceptance, we will provide you with resources for other options.
  16. Who are the mentors? We have a team of research mentors with various skills and areas of expertise. Dr. James Li, however, is the lead mentor who will oversee all students in the research program.


“Dear Dr. Li, I cannot thank you enough for pushing me through with science research. Without your initial introduction to the Arduino in the beginning of 8th grade, I never would have considered that pathway... Research has opened up so many opportunities, including an outlet to meet so many amazing people, and to gain valuable communication skills. I have always looked up to and admired the ISEF finalists, and it is truly humbling to call myself one today. I am so excited to represent Orange County at Pittsburgh!” – Patrick Liu, Intel ISEF 2018 Finalist
"Dr. Li's guidance helped me find a research lab to work at... a priceless experience for me and has motivated me to pursue my passions in science beyond the Science Fair. Without Dr. Li's encouragement to work at a research lab, I wouldn't have the amazing and life changing experiences that make me who I am today. Furthermore, Dr. Li taught me the importance of consistency and passion by encouraging me to follow a topic of research that I am interested in. I am so excited to go to Intel ISEF and want thank Dr. Li and Ardent Academy for making it all possible!” – Sasha Ronaghi, Intel ISEF 2018 Finalist



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9/7/2020 - 11/15/2020

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12/26/2020 - 12/30/2020

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Winter 2021

11/30/2020 - 2/7/2021

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3/1/2021 - 5/9/2021

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