Training tomorrow's scientists today! The Ardent Research Program is designed for the student who wishes to pursue excellence in original research. Research projects are mentored by Ardent Academy faculty.

...Read More.


Program Highlights

  • Research methodology training
  • Research mentorship
  • One presentation coaching session before science fair
  • One poster day presentation practice before science fair

Program Fees

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

Program Key Dates

  • Application Open: January 2022
  • Admission Decisions: Rolling

Session 1:

  • Early Bird Application Deadline: Sat, April 30, 2022
  • Session 1 Mandatory Kickoff Meeting: Sat, May 21, 2022 at 10:00 AM PT
  • Session 1 Mandatory Training Classes: 6/4, 6/18, 6/25, 7/2, 7/9, 7/16 (6 Saturdays)
    • Junior Division: 9am-12pm PT
    • Senior Division: 1:30-4:30pm PT

Session 2:

  • Early Bird Application Deadline: Tues, May 31, 2022
  • Session 2 Mandatory Kickoff Meeting: Fri, June 3, 2022 at 4:00 PM PT
  • Session 2 Mandatory Training Classes: 6/24, 7/1, 7/8, 7/15, 7/22, 7/29 (6 Fridays)
    • Junior Division: 9am-12pm PT
    • Senior Division: 1:30-4:30pm PT


How to Apply

2022 Session 1 Summer Research applications are now open! Apply for the correct division by clicking the corresponding images below.

Session 1: 6/4, 6/18, 6/25, 7/2, 7/9, 7/16 (6 Saturdays)

Jr. Science Research (Grades 6-8)

Sr. Science Research (Grades 9-12)

Session 2: 6/24, 7/1, 7/8, 7/15, 7/22, 7/29 (6 Fridays)

Jr. Science Research (Grades 6-8)

Sr. Science Research (Grades 9-12)


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are there age restrictions to participate in the program? Who can join your Summer 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
  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 and return to take the rest in Option 2? 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:
    • Understand the scientific research process
    • Develop experience with experimental techniques specific to their field of research
    • Develop a working knowledge of searching for literature
    • Understand the importance of communicating in clear, concise writing as a scientist
    • Practice scientific writing and participate in the peer review process
    • Practice orally presenting and defending their research
    • Produce a paper or poster of their research
  11. Will I complete a project ready for the science fair in the summer? The time of completion varies depending on the project scale. Most students complete 90% of their projects by the end of summer and will complete them 100% by no later than December 15.
  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 your mentor.
  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, the Summer Research program director, oversees the operations.



"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

Mailing List

Join our mailing list!

Contact Us