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Science Research

Training tomorrow's scientists today! The Ardent Research Program is designed for students who wish to pursue excellence in original research. Students receive research methodology training and expert guidance to complete their research projects and enter into local science fairs.

Ardent Research Program

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, and individual meetings while conducting research with an Ardent Academy mentor. This program is open to new and returning students. Students who already have an existing mentor from a university, medical center, or research institute, are also welcome to join and receive research assistance from Ardent. 

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.

Ardent Research is an intensive science and engineering research training program for academically talented and motivated middle and high school students (grades 6 - 12) interested in conducting research and preparing for science fairs. The program consists of formal research methodology training followed by guided independent research with mentors in the fall and throughout the academic year. Returning students who have already received research training can still apply and be matched directly with a mentor to continue their research.

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.

Please review our terms and conditions.


  • 5-week research methodology training

  • Research mentorship for 10 months

  • Guided individual research topics

  • 1 presentation coaching session

  • 1 poster day presentation practice

  • Live online classes with recordings available after

Program Fees

  • Application Fee: Free

  • Early Enrollment Tuition: $1,950.00 per student

  • Regular Enrollment Tuition: $2,450.00 per student

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Key Dates

  • Application Open:
    January 15, 2023

  • Admission Decisions:

  • Session 1:
    6/3, 6/10, 6/17, 6/24, 7/1
    (5 Saturdays)

  • Session 2:
    7/15, 7/22, 7/29, 8/5, 8/12
    (5 Saturdays)


*Session dates not mandatory for returning students.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can join the Summer Ardent Research Program? Age restrictions? Any aspiring students in grades 6-12* with an interest and passion in STEM should consider this program. *Rising grade for Fall. Students that have joined the program before are also welcome to apply again and receive additional mentorship and guidance to further their research.

  • 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.

  • Will I receive help selecting a research topic? You will be able to discuss possible topics with your mentor.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • What are the science fair rules like? Click HERE to view OCSEF rules and HERE to view California Science & Engineering Fair Rules.

  • Do I need to attend both training sessions? No, you only need to attend one session.

  • Can I partially attend training sessions in Option 1 and return to take the rest in Option 2? Yes, you can.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • What does 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

  • Do you provide lab equipment for research? We do offer simple biology and physics lab equipment.

  • 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.

  • Do you help with finding research labs at colleges/universities? No, we do not.

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