Undergraduate Research Symposium
The annual University of Oregon Undergraduate Research Symposium hosts approximately 400 students and their research mentors to present their original research and creative work from across the disciplines in multiple formats ranging from poster and oral presentations to demonstrations, exhibits, and interactive sessions. Since the debut of the Symposium in 2011 the event has hosted nearly 3,600 students representing all eight undergraduate colleges at the UO, the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, and over 85 majors, 50 minor programs, and 35 institutes.
Historically, over 80% of the presentations fall within the domains of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with particular foci in Good Health and Wellbeing, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Life Below Water. This hybrid event hosts in-person and remote opportunities for undergraduates to disseminate new knowledge, ideas, discoveries, and findings with the public and contribute to the core mission and responsibility of a public research university.
Presenters and guests may participate from around the world through the live and asynchronous virtual platforms, and the event regularly hosts pre-college and high school students, community college students, undergraduates from international institutions of higher learning. To enhance access to this knowledge after the event, the UO Symposium YouTube channel serves as a permanent digital exhibit of undergraduate research and creative work presented at the Symposium and currently hosts 402 videos comprising over 1,000 presentations with abstracts and links to high-resolution poster files.
The Undergraduate Research Symposium Steering Committee and its allied offices (Center for Undergraduate Research and Engagement and Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) collaborate closely with REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates); undergraduate research fellowship/scholarship programs; directors and PIs of laboratories, centers, and institutes; and faculty research mentors generally to promote and fund faculty-mentored undergraduate research in the basic sciences and sustainable development.
Through centralized advising, coaching, and referrals this initiative supports students throughout their undergraduate careers with a scaffolded, developmental experience with research, community engagement, and application, as well as post-graduation plans for career pathways and graduate education. The Symposium provides an opportunity for students to communicate their culminating undergraduate research findings to the broader public and receive invaluable feedback/questions as part of the scholarly process. It also creates a space for younger undergraduates to deliver work-in-progress talks and develop their science communication, public speaking, and poster/presentation design skills.