Institute of Interdisciplinary Research

Institute of Interdisciplinary Research
University of Puerto Rico-Cayey
Puerto Rico
Academic Level
Issue Area
Academic Program
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Undergraduate Research


The mission of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research (IIR) is to advance undergraduate research, community service and academic creation at UPR Cayey by supporting interdisciplinary, regional and applied research projects.

Their goals are: to advance and facilitate interdisciplinary research, to produce knowledge relevant to Puerto Rico and to the UPR-C service region, to provide undergraduate research experiences that lead to student success, to provide a supportive environment for researchers, and to disseminate the results of our research projects.

Program Description

The IIR started as an undergraduate research effort in 2003 and spearheaded an institutional transformation from being a predominantly teaching institution to one where scholarly research is valued and supported. Students participate as research assistants and receive mentorship in research methodologies, Personal Development Plans, coaching, a network of mentors and opportunities from partnerships in PR and US, travel awards, and opportunities for publication.

The IIR has developed a multi-pronged model to provide research opportunities for the success of our 100% Latino students by providing interdisciplinary courses, research capacity and training for students, and professional development opportunities.

Additional innovative strategies have been developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to support students. These practices include a coaching program, stipends for enrollment and participation in research programs, monetary support for tuition costs, reinvestment of F&A, and the creation of the Antonia Pantojas program that serves as a mentorship program.


  • Of UGR participants, 762 out of 968 (79%) applied to graduate school and 92% of the applicants were accepted. In contrast 41% of the overall body of students from 2015 to 2018, applied to a graduate school.
  • UGR participants have higher graduation rates (90%) than the institutional graduation rates (50%) for the same cohort period.
  • Student involvement in research has increased from eight in 2003 to an average of 205 annually in the past ten years; a total of 1,619 students. The IIR supports a third of the UPRC graduating class.

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