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I know research is important for a Ph.D. program, but I'm wondering if research in a not-very-related field is still as useful?

For example, in the past I've done research in bioinformatics. I'm thinking of continuing just because I really like my advisor. However, I don't see my self doing a Ph.D. in that field. I am more interested in AI and/or embedded systems.

I am wondering if continuing to do work on a project in a field that I don't intend to do a Ph.D. in wouldn't be very helpful for me for grad school admissions, thus I should find a new project that will be more in line with my future interests.

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Yes, definitely, at least for the two examples in the OP. Bioinformatics is very related to AI. Having successfully completed research in a data-driven scientific field does help show your capabilities to do so as a grad student in a different data-driven scientific field. Research in a farther away field, like sociology, might not help as much, but generally speaking it's good to show that you have the capability to take research projects to completion, to write well, and to navigate the publication pipeline. Most importantly, it's good to do research you're passionate about! Doing research in bioinformatics might give you a special expertise that would help down the line in AI research.

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Absolutely! There are always opportunities to create/foster/cultivate cross-collaboration, and yours is a prime example of how to do this most efficiently. I, for example, have a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy, and I am currently a faculty member in a Criminal Justice and Criminology department. We have balance and harmony because justice is our joint 'co-frame'. That is to say, you have the opportunity to create inter- and cross-disciplinary avenues that do not necessarily (already) exist. Moreover, you can opt to continue working with your advisor in this new capacity as well. How exciting!

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I am wondering if continuing to do work on a project in a field that I don't intend to do a Ph.D. in wouldn't be very helpful for me for grad school admissions, thus I should find a new project that will be more in line with my future interests.

In addition to what the other answers have stated in regards to transferable "soft skills" like learning to write reports, complete research projects, demonstrate project management, etc., having domain knowledge outside of pure-AI/computer science is incredibly useful. Our lab group (which does large language/AI modeling) has a lot of people who came in with only computer science/AI backgrounds, and frequently overlook or miss nuances in the data they're working with that others with chemistry/biology domain knowledge will catch.

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