Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentship

Updated on December 17, 2021 to reflect the AI Guidelines and Investment Agreement.  No further updates to the guidelines below are expected.

Priority Areas for 2022 have been updated.  

Updated on December 14, 2021 - Further updates may occur after AI releases their guidelines.  Check back on this page for further updates.  

The Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentships and Chinook Summer Research Awards are now considered awards.  There is no supervisor contribution and no requirement for number of hours worked.  The time allotted to the project depends on the nature of the proposal and will be decided by the supervisor and student in the application phase.  The application for these awards can now be submitted via the Bridge under the “Student” tab by clicking “Apply for ULethbridge Scholarships, Awards and Bursaries”.  The applications will be available starting January 7, 2022.  The application deadline is January 31, 2022. 

Be sure to do the following:

  • Submit to both the general and undergraduate applications and any additional opportunities that are presented to you.
  • Select YES when asked if you are enrolled in a summer research program. If you select NO, you will not be able to apply to the AI SRS or Chinook Awards. 
  • The application components will remain much the same. Please see below for information on the application components. 

For questions about the application process, please email awards@uleth.ca.

For students applying from outside the University of Lethbridge, email penny.dagnone@uleth.ca for further instructions.  

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 and are therefore not subject to CPP and EI deductions. 

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: $6,000

Supervisor contribution: $0

Duration: Summer project over May 1 - August 31 

Application deadline: January 31, 2022

Notice of decision: Late March or early April

Contact: awards@uleth.ca 

Description

The Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentship (SRS) Program provides summer research 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 building a network of highly-talented individuals that can advocate on behalf of the research and innovation ecosystem in Alberta.  The Priority Areas for 2022 include:

  • Digital Health Technology: standalone software or integrated hardware and software systems which can utilize digital platforms (such as computers, smart phones, tablets and wearables etc.) to improve access to health care information, personal health and wellbeing, facilitate more efficient diagnoses and treatments, and improve access to care for patients at home, at health care facilities, as well as in rural and remote communities.
  • 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. 

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.

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.  

How to Apply

General Guidelines

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.

Application Instructions:

  1. Applications can be accessed via the University of Lethbridge Bridge under the Student tab by selecting “Apply for ULethbridge Scholarships, Awards and Bursaries”. 
  2. Be sure to say YES when asked if you are enrolled in a summer research program
  3. Application components will include:
    1. Project Description: Please upload a detailed project description. This document should be developed in cooperation with the proposed supervisor.  Provide a title and summary of the research project in which the student will be involved.  Be sure to describe the role of the student in the proposed project with respect to the skills they will gain and the expected outcomes.  Explain how the project relates to the following Priority Areas, if applicable:
      1. Digital Health
      2. Data Enabled Health Transformation
      3. Health Innovation and Technology Acceleration
    2. Supervisor CV: List published or accepted publications relevant to the proposal from the last 3 years.  List current operating grants held by the Supervisor. 
    3. Student Letter: The student must upload a detailed letter indicating the specific learning objectives associated with the academic program and the student's qualifications (e.g. education, experience, leadership roles, etc.) for this research award.  This letter should also list the student`s previous awards and scholarships.  The student must include an explanation for any course withdrawals and/or lower transfer credits and/or semesters of study with less than 5 courses.
    4. Letter of Recommendation: Please provide an email address of a faculty member who will use the awards platform to provide a letter of recommendation.  This may be the supervising faculty, other U of L faculty, or a faculty member from another post-secondary institution that is known to you.  If this letter is being provided by the supervising faculty member, you must include a separate letter from that individual. The letter of recommendation must clearly outline the member's assessment of your academic record, extracurricular participation, leadership skills and community involvement where applicable.
    5. Official Transcript(s): Please upload up-to-date official transcript(s) of your entire academic record (including transfer credit).  Official transcripts for the University of Lethbridge can be requested through the online BRIDGE system and sent to your address and then scanned.  Transcripts from other institutions should be uploaded as well. 

Conditions of the Award

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Personnel: Personnel employed with grant funds are not governed under a collective agreement.
  4. 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: 
oris@uleth.ca
Grant Amount: 
$1,500 per month. A minimum of 4 weeks to maximum of 4 month project duration.
Grant Location: 
External
External Deadline: 
Monday, January 31, 2022
Grant Type: 
Research
Grant Area: 
Health
Grant Eligibility: 
Students