Beginning in 2004, the Departments of Biology & Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry implemented the IRCBC (Interdisciplinary Research Collaborative in Biology and Chemistry), intended to support undergraduate student research in the biological and chemical sciences. The IRCBC was originally funded by an external grant from Merck and the AAAS awarded to Richard Anthony and Mark Brandt and by Rose-Hulman.
The value of the program continues to attract corporate funding. A Faculty Success Grant, funded by the Lilly Endowment and awarded to Peter Coppinger and Mark Brandt in 2006 allowed continuation of the program through 2009. And grants from several sources, including those from Edwards Lifesciences, have continued to support the program ever since.
But the program has grown beyond the life sciences, as the demand for departmental collaborations, both among students and out in the career world, grew. An ever widening range of disciplines has become involved in the program since it was renamed IRC (Interdisciplinary Research Collaborative) in 2008.
A major feature of the current IRC program has been the annual undergraduate research symposium, held near the end of Fall Quarter. The symposium serves as a forum for IRC students to present their work to fellow students. And the symposium itself has fanned out, attracting both attendees and presenters from other local institutions
The IRC sequence
Giving top students research opportunities difficult to obtain elsewhere.
Dr. Coppinger firstname.lastname@example.org (812) 877-8591
Both the research program and the symposium offer students experience in effective scientific communication, written and oral.
The program encourages faculty, at all levels, to initiate and maintain active research endeavors, so faculty stay on the leading edge while maintaining Rose-Hulman's core commitment to students.
The IRC program's 7 years of success have shown that involvement in sponsored, full-time research allows interested students to grasp lab work at a level beyond what is possible during the academic year.