Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentship

Overview

The Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentships (AI SRS) is now considered an award.  There is no supervisor contribution and no requirement for the 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 awards are now project-based and not considered employment, therefore they are not subject to CPP and EI deductions. The AI SRS award was added to the scholarships portal managed by Scholarships and Student Finance.  Applications will now 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. 

  • Value: $7,500
  • Supervisor contribution: $0
  • Application deadline: January 31, 2024
  • Notice of decision: Late March or early April
  • Duration: Summer project over May 1 - August 31 
  • Contact: awards@uleth.ca 

 

Description

The SRS Program provides summer job opportunities for undergraduate students across the province with a focus on cross-disciplinary training in health and emerging tech (e.g., ICT/digital). Students work with a supervisor to complete a summer project. Supplemental skills development and networking opportunities are also provided through workshops, speaker series, career mentorship, and other events approved by Alberta Innovates.
The Program serves as an important mechanism for engaging top talent early on in their training trajectories, enhancing their capacity to identify and prepare for high-impact careers in Alberta’s research and innovation (R&I) ecosystem.

The NEW Priority Areas for 2024 include:

  • Digital or Data-Driven Health Research: projects that recruit, train, or deploy talent to advance digital or data-enabled methods, tools, or technologies in health research. Areas of interest include: computer modelling or simulation for drug discovery or technology development; overcoming data access, collection, or data infrastructure challenges; approaches to preparing health data for machine learning applications; overcoming participant/patient recruitment, engagement, or retention challenges; predicting therapeutic outcomes or adverse effects; overcoming challenges with acceptance of digital health solutions; novel approaches to decentralized clinical trials design.
  • Commercialization: projects that recruit, train, or deploy talent to develop and commercialize an emerging health technology, preferably digital or data-enabled, with the potential to generate commercial economic returns (jobs, revenue, investment) for Alberta and cost-effective, beneficial health outcomes.
  • Health System Transformation: projects that recruit, train, or deploy talent to enable the advancement of data and digitally-enabled care models, including facilitating adoption, implementation, and/or scale across the continuum of care in Alberta. Key areas of interest include but are not limited to implementation studies in healthcare settings; policy development; approaches to citizen-centric care.

A minimum of 40% 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.

 

Pre-application Checklist

  • Eligibility: To be eligible to hold a SRS Studentship, Studentship Applicants must:
    • be registered in an undergraduate degree program at a university in Canada (note, this may be waived by post-secondary institutions to allow exceptional high school students to participate)
    • able to participate in the SRS Program at the Alberta-based post-secondary institution to which the student applied;

      Note: While SRS Studentships are not renewable, Studentship Recipients from prior years can submit new applications to new SRS Studentship Competitions (provided they meet the other eligibility criteria).

  • Time Commitment 
    • Students must be committed to completing their research project between May and August. They should also discuss the expected time commitment and the project scope with their supervisors before applying for the award.  
    • Considering the limited duration of summer projects (4 months), it is generally expected that students will not have other conflicting commitments (i.e., summer courses, exams, volunteer work). Therefore, in advance of undertaking a project, students are encouraged to discuss with their supervisors any commitments that may influence their availability and come to a mutual agreement with their supervisors about hours of work during the project.  
    • Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that the student’s hours of work comply with the University’s policies and procedures.  

 

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 before 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 before 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 (recommended maximum 2 pages):  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:
      • Digital or Data-Driven Health Research
      • Commercialization
      • Health System Transformation
    2. Supervisor CV (recommended maximum of 5 pages): 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 (recommended maximum 1 page): 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. Reference: Please provide the email address of a faculty member who will use the awards platform to provide a reference.  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. 
    5. Transcript(s): Please upload up-to-date official or unofficial 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. Acknowledgment 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 Research Track Record is 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, 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 concerning 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 benefits 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: 
awards@uleth.ca 
Grant Location: 
External
External Deadline: 
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Grant Type: 
Research
Grant Area: 
Health
Grant Eligibility: 
Students