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I wrote my Econ 1 professor today and asked her if there were any professors looking for research assistants. She said that professors rarely take undergraduate assistants. Fair enough. Which led me to the idea of having undergraduates form teams based on appealing ideas, and do their own research, maybe led by one or two full-time advising staff. You'd need to set up a large amount of infrastructure to accomplish this, but it has a lot of potential - it works like this: Students submit ideas, other students express an interest in developing the idea, and you form a research team. The adviser is exactly that - to advise on complex economic issues and provide guidance in producing tangible results. This would be useful, I think.