Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentship

Updated on October 12, 2021 - 

There are several changes being made to the Alberta Innovates (AI) Summer Research Studentship (SRS) for the 2022 summer studentship competitions, due to institutional budgetary restrictions and workload constraints within ORIS.  Starting in January 2022, the following changes will be implemented:

  • The AI SRS awards will be added to the scholarships portal managed by Scholarships and Student Finance.  
  • Applications will be accepted via the scholarships portal and not by ORIS.  ORIS will work with the Scholarships and Student Finance Office to facilitate the adjudication process. 
  • No financial contributions are required from faculty members to supplement the awards. However, supervisors are welcome to top up the award amount.
  • Students will be provided with $6,000 per summer allocated in four installments over the summer months.
  • Students are no longer required to work a set number of hours/week.  Work schedules are to be set on a project-by-project basis by the supervisor in consultation with the student.  The awards are now project based and not considered employment. 

More details will be posted here and circulated as they become available.  The next deadline is anticipated to fall at the end of January 2022.

Overview

Value: $8,730

Supervisor contribution: $800 minimum

Duration: Minimum of 8 weeks to maximum of 16 weeks during the period of May 1 - August 31

Application deadline: February 1, 2021 at 4:00pm

Notice of decision: Late March or early April 2021

Start date: May 1, 2021

ORIS contact: Penny D'Agnone

Description

The Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentship (SRS) Program provides summer job opportunities for undergraduate students with the opportunity to participate in research during the summer across the province with a focus on cross-disciplinary training in health and emerging tech (e.g., ICT/digital).  The SRS Program serves as an important mechanism for engaging top emerging talent early on in their training trajectories, enhancing their capacity to identify and prepare for high impact careers in Alberta’s research and innovation ecosystem.

Alberta Innovates has a strategic interest in helping students pursue high impact careers in health research and innovation, introducing students to cross-disciplinary research and innovation in emerging technology areas and builing a network of highly-talented individuals that can advocate on behalf of the research and innovation ecosystem in Alberta.  The Priority Areas for 2021 include:

  • Digital Health: the convergence of digital and emerging technologies with health, healthcare, living, and society.  It has the potential to enhance the efficiency of healthcare delivery through personalizing medicine, enabling better access to care and empowering citizens to manage their own health

  • Data Enabled Health Transformation: the creation, amalgamation, analysis, and application of large quantities of complex information to improve health /or healthcare decision-making. Examples include: data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence platforms.

  • Health Innovation and Technology Acceleration: while not all discoveries have a clear path to adoption and use, research can be approached in ways that increase the potential for uptake, such as by considering marketplace need, industry pull, technology partnerships, scale-up requirements, and the types of evidence needed to mobilize support for further development. Increasing the availability of talent that can accelerate the development of innovations - particularly related to the Internet of Medical Things, xR, wearables, personalized health, and health economics – is of high priority.

A minimum of 30% of applications supported through this program will be those applications that identify one or more Priority Areas listed above as part of their project. It is expected that the funds requested in each competition will exceed the funds available.

NOTE – ORIS requires that faculty members are required to supplement the summer studentships to adhere to current Alberta minimum wage requirements. Because these awards are now considered employment income by the Canada Revenue Agency, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) costs also need to be included. Please see the Notice Board for more information on this decision.

2018 AI Summer Studentships

# hours per week

# weeks

Min Wage as of Oct 1, 20171

Est. CPP/EI

Total cost

AI contribution

Required faculty top up

Amount

35

16

$15.00/hour

$330

$8730

$7,930

$800

Eligibility

Those candidates who meet one of the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • Be registered in an Alberta-based undergraduate degree program;
  • Be registered in an undergraduate degree program outside of Alberta, and desiring to engage in research during the summer at an Alberta institution;
  • maximum of four (4) students per supervisor per year can apply for the SRS Program.

Candidates in their final year of a high school or undergraduate program must submit evidence of registration in, or application to, an undergraduate (for high school graduates) or graduate (for undergraduate students) university program.  This requirement may be waived if a supervisor wishes to have an exceptional high school student hold an award under their supervision.  

Timeline

  • February 1, 2021 at 4:00pm: Application deadline.
  • February – March: Applications are reviewed and ranked by the SRS Review Committee using the Pro-Grid Decision Assist Tool (see Evaluation Criteria and Process below).
  • March - April: The final rank is decided on and funding decisions are made.
  • April: Notice of Decisions are distributed to applicants.
  • May – August: Term of the award.

 

How to Apply

General Guidelines

The duration of this award is a minimum of four weeks to a maximum of four months during the period of May 1 – August 31. This is a stipend only award. It requires that the applicant be sponsored by a faculty supervisor who possesses both a record of productive health-oriented or priority area research and sufficient resources to ensure the satisfactory conduct and completion of research. The student must link with a faculty member who has an ongoing research program. The student should discuss the application thoroughly with the faculty member prior to application. There is a limit of four (4) students per supervisor per year that can apply for the SRS Program. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the complete application is submitted prior to the application deadline.

Complete applications require the following components:

  1. Online application form (below): The applications will now be accepted using an online submission.  The online form is found at the Agency URL below.  Each component of the application must be uploaded into the form and submitted as one package. Be sure to have all components ready at time of application as you are unable to save the form to edit at a later time.
  2. The AI Summer Studentship Application form: .  Complete the form and upload into the application form below (see Agency URL).
  3. Official Transcript(s): The student must upload up-to-date official transcript(s) of their entire academic record (including transfer credit). Official transcripts for the University of Lethbridge can be requested through the Bridge and sent to the student’s address. Transcripts from other institutions should be uploaded as well. One field is available for transcripts. Please upload a single scanned copy of all transcripts. In exceptional circumstances, scanned copies of transcripts can be emailed to oris@uleth.ca no later than one week following the deadline with the subject line "AI Studentship".
  4. Letter of Reference: The student can upload a letter of recommendation from a faculty member or have that faculty member email it to oris@uleth.ca directly with the subject line" AI Studentship". The letters must be received prior to the deadline. This may be the supervising faculty, other U of L faculty, or a faculty member from another post-secondary institution that is known to the applicant. The letter of recommendation must clearly outline the member's assessment of the student's independence, research potential, and academic record. Please see the Conflict of Interest Guidelines below for guidance on requesting a recommendation.
  5. Priority Areas: The applicant is strongly encouraged to indicate which priority area(s) relates to their project.  Thirty (30) percent of applications funded will need to be linked to one or more Priority Areas.  If applicable, a brief description must be uploaded explaining the research project’s connection to one or more Priority Areas (approximately one paragraph). Please link to the Priority Areas as defined above.

Application submission instructions

Complete applications must be submitted by 4:00pm on February 1, 2021 to the Office of Research Services & Innovation Services using the online form.  The application form can be found at the Agency URL link below.  Late applications will not be accepted. In exceptional circumstances, official transcripts and letters of recommendation can be emailed to oris@uleth.ca with the subject line "AI Studentship".

Following the application deadline, an email will be sent to applicants and their proposed supervisor confirming the receipt of the application no later than February 15, 2021.

Conditions of the Award

  1. Use of funds: The AI Summer Research Studentship is for approximately $8,730 before taxes and will be disbursed to the successful applicant once a month on the last business day of each month. Supplemental funds and the source of funds provided by the supervisor must be confirmed with ORIS no later than the first of the month using the Payroll Authorization Form (PAF) – Research. If the student is currently employed at the U of L, current/ongoing payment arrangements must be terminated prior to May 1, 2020.
  2. Term: The term of the award is for a minimum of four (4) consecutive weeks between May 1 and August 31. It is expected that the student work full-time equivalent hours (approximately 35) for each week over the summer. The exact hours and scheduling should be made in cooperation with the supervisor and student. Students must be willing to participate full-time in the project for the duration of the award and agree not to change the supervisor or project during the term of the award.
  3. Ethics: If the proposed research program involves human subjects or the use of either animals or biohazardous material, it is the responsibility of the sponsoring faculty and/or department to ensure that the research has received the approval of the appropriate Institutional Ethics Review Committee(s).
  4. Reports: In August, a request for a report will be sent to the student and supervisor for information on activities over the summer as well as feedback on the program. During a 5 year period after the award, AI may contact the U of L to collect additional information on impacts and outcomes resulting from its funding in the SRS Program. ORIS will contact the supervisor for this information, as it is requested.
  5. Personnel: Personnel employed with grant funds are not governed under a collective agreement.
  6. Acknowledgement of Funder: All publications, presentations and public messages concerning the SRS Program and projects funded through the SRS Program must acknowledge the contribution of Alberta Innovates. Use of the full legal name ‘Alberta Innovates’ is required, rather than ‘AI’ or a similar acronym. Alberta Innovates’ logos must be included in all promotional materials, if possible. Logos can be requested by email to grants.health@albertainnovates.ca.

Evaluation Criteria and Process

The U of L uses the PROGRID system as a tool to evaluate the proposals for AI SRS awards. This system utilizes an alpha-numerical rating scale. The Language Ladders used in determining this rating scale are attached to these instructions. The application form is designed around these Language Ladders, and gives the candidate and supervisor space to provide the appropriate information relating to each of the criteria listed.

In its evaluation of each application, the AI SRS Review Committee will look primarily for evidence that: (1) the candidate has an excellent academic record; (2) the supervisor is conducting a productive research program in an area relevant to the objectives of AIHS; and (3) the supervisor has adequate research funding - preferably from a competitive granting agency.  Applications will be assessed for their involvement of one or more Priority Areas, if applicable.

The following evaluation criteria apply to all applicants:

  1. Student (50%): Both the Academic Record and the Letter of Reference are evaluated for research/scholarly/creative achievements of the applicant.
  2. Supervisor (25%): The Supervisor’s Resources and Research Track Record are evaluated based on the project description, publication track record, and track record of research funding.
  3. Overall Impression of the Project (25%): The Overall Impression is evaluated on the assessment of the student, Letter of Reference and assessment of the proposed supervisor.

NOTE: A limit of four applications may be submitted by a faculty supervisor. Faculty supervisors sponsoring candidates to this program must have a record of productive research and sufficient funding to ensure the satisfactory conduct of the research. A separate research project must be submitted for each student. The supervisor must be prepared to provide direct and continuous supervision during the term of the award. Those applications that demonstrate a link to the listed Priority Areas will be prioritized.

Following the application deadline, applications are evaluated by the Selection Committee who are asked to rank the application packages on the above criteria using the Pro-Grid system. Applicants and proposed supervisors are strongly advised to read the Progrid Decision Assist Tool document, especially the language ladder that will be used to assign scores and ranking. This document also provides language that will be used to assess the Letter of Recommendation. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application addresses the evaluation criteria. At a roundtable meeting, the Selection Committee will rank all applicants relative to each other. Each applicant will receive a summary table of the scores from the three reviewers to compare to the language ladder in order to have an indication of the relative strengths and weaknesses in their application package. Once the applications have been placed in rank order, the first awards will be offered. The number of applications that are funded is based on the budget allotment for that funding year from AI. It is expected that the number of fundable applications will exceed the amount of available funds for each competition. Because applicants often apply to other studentships (e.g. NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRAs), SSHRC USRAs, and Chinook Summer Studentships), the ORIS will work towards funding as many students as possible with all available awards. It is hoped that all awards will be accepted and finalized near the end of March or early April.

Conflict of Interest Guidelines* for Recommendation Selection

A conflict of interest is a conflict between a person’s duties and responsibilities with regard to the review process, and that person’s private, professional, business or public interests. There may be a real, perceived or potential conflict of interest when the review committee member, external reviewer or observer:

  • May receive professional/personal benefit resulting from the funding opportunity or application being reviewed;
  • Has a professional/personal relationship with an applicant or the applicant’s institution; or
  • Has a direct/indirect financial interest in a funding opportunity or application being reviewed.

A conflict of interest may exist when review committee members, external reviewers or observers:

  • Are a relative or close friend or have a personal relationship with the applicant(s);
  • Have had long-standing scientific or personal differences with the applicant(s); or
  • Feel for any reason unable to provide an impartial review of the application.

The ORIS reserves the right to resolve areas of uncertainty and to determine if a conflict exists.

* Adapted from the Government of Canada website.

Agency Name: 
Alberta Innovates
Contact Name: 
Penny D'Agnone
Grant Amount: 
Approximately $2,183 before taxes per month for a minimum of four weeks and maximum of four months. Faculty supervisors are required to provide a minimum top up for the award by $200 per month to a maximum of $800 over the entire summer.
Grant Location: 
External
External Deadline: 
Monday, February 1, 2021
Grant Type: 
Research
Grant Area: 
Health
Grant Eligibility: 
Students