Chinook Summer Research Award

Updated on October 12, 2021 - 

There are several changes being made to the Chinook Summer Research Award 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 Chinook Award 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.



*NOTE* - This competition is currently closed.


Total Value


Supervisor Contribution



16 consecutive weeks (between May and August)

Application Deadline

February 1st, 2021 by 4 pm.

Notice of Decision

April 2021

Start date

May 1, 2021

ORIS Contact

Emma Dering (



The Chinook Summer Research Awards aim to encourage research and advance training of undergraduate students in all disciplines. The program facilitates research advancement by providing students with a suitable research training experience with a University of Lethbridge faculty member who has an ongoing research program.  It is expected that the funds requested in each competition will exceed the funds available.   

*Note: Due to budgetary constraints, the number of available awards is uncertain and subject to change for the 2021 competition. More information on the number of awards will be posted here as it becomes available.

The Chinook Summer Research Award is valued at $5,625 for sixteen consecutive weeks at 35 hours of work per week. 

NOTE – Effective January 1, 2018, the 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

For the 2020 application cycle, the top up required is calculated as follows:

2020 Chinook Awards

# hours per week

# weeks

Min Wage as of Oct 1, 20181


Total cost

UofL contribution

Required faculty top up










At the time of application the student must:

  • Be a full-time student at the University of Lethbridge;
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher. Students with transfer credit from another institution must check eligibility with the Registrar's Office.  The cumulative GPA shown on their Bridge account does not include transfer credit and thus, is not accurate for application purposes;
  • Have completed at least eight courses at the University of Lethbridge at the conclusion of the semester in which the application is submitted; and
  • Plan to return to full-time undergraduate studies at the University of Lethbridge in the semester immediately following the award.


  • February 1st, 2021: Application deadline.  Applications are to be submitted using the online form.
  • February – March: Applications are sent to the Chinook Review Committee for review and ranking using the Pro-Grid Decision Assist Tool (see Evaluation Criteria and Process below). 
  • March - April: The Committee meets to rank applications and make funding decisions.
  • April: Notice of Decisions are distributed to applicants.
  • May – August: Term of the award.

How to Apply

General Guidelines:

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.  It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the complete application, which includes a financial commitment by the faculty member, is submitted prior to the application deadline.  Submissions for the current competition are due by 4:00pm on February 1st, 2021.  Late submissions will not be accepted and incomplete applications will be deemed ineligible.  In exceptional circumstances, official transcripts will be accepted for one week after the application deadline.

Complete applications require the following components:

  1. Online application form (below): The applications will now be accepted using an online submission.  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. 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.
  3. Supervisor Letter: The proposed supervising faculty member must provide a one-page abstract of the research program, indicate the work to be designated to the student during the tenure of the award, the work schedule, and indicate that adequate supervision will be provided.  In this letter, the faculty member must confirm the amount of financial support and the source of funds being provided to the student.  Please note: it is mandatory that the supervisor provide a top-up which of $800. Students must upload this letter into the online form.
  4. 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 online BRIDGE system 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. Scanned copies of transcripts can be emailed to with the subject line: Chinook Awards no later than one week after the application deadline.
  5. Letter of Recommendation: The student must upload a separate letter of recommendation from a faculty member.  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.  If this letter is being provided by the supervising faculty member, the student must include a separate letter from that individual.  This maintains consistency for the reviewers.  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. 

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.  Late applications will not be accepted. Official transcripts and letters of recommendation can be emailed to with the Subject Line: Chinook Awards.  The online form can be found here.

Following the application deadline, an email will be sent to applicants and their proposed supervisor confirming the receipt of the application no later than one week following the deadline. 

Conditions of the Award

  1. Use of funds:  The University of Lethbridge contribution to the Chinook Summer Research Award is for a total of $5,625 and will be disbursed to the successful applicant once a month on the last business day of each month starting on May 31st.  Supplemental funds and the source of funds provided by the supervisor must be confirmed with ORIS no later than May 1, 2021 using the Payroll Authorization Form (PAF) – Research
  2. Term: The term of the award is for sixteen (16) consecutive weeks between May 1 and August 31st.  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. 
  3. Reports: There are no reporting requirements for this award from the student or supervisor.  Successful recipients will be posted on the ORIS Competition Results webpage. 
  4. Personnel: Chinook Summer Research Awards recipients are not governed under a collective agreement.

Evaluation Criteria and Process

The following evaluation criteria apply to all applicants:

  1. Student (50%): The transcripts, GPA and the Student Letter are evaluated for research/scholarly/creative achievements of the applicant as well as how the project fits with the learning objectives of the student.   
  2. Supervisor (25%): The supervisor letter is evaluated based on the project description, the work schedule and whether there will be adequate supervision over the term of the award.  Supervisor letters must include the amount of financial support being provided to the student to make the application eligible to the competition.   
  3. Recommendation (25%): The Letter of Recommendation is evaluated on the assessment of the student by the referee as well as the quality of the letter.  The recommendation should include specific examples and information to support the assessment.     

NOTE: if a Faculty member has been proposed as a Supervisor for more than one applicant, the Supervisor will be asked to rank their potential trainees.  A maximum of two Chinook Award recipients will be eligible to be supervised by one Faculty member per summer. 

Following the application deadline, applications are sent to three members of the GFC Research 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 PDF icon2018_pro-grid_decision_assist_tool_-_instructions_for_reviewers.pdf document especially the language ladder that we 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 GFC Research 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.  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 AIHS 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.

Additional Research Areas

In the form below, you will be asked to specify whether your research falls into any of the following areas:

  1. Population dynamics, population health, and resource scarcity
  2. Socio-economic impacts of international migration and trade 
  3. Population dynamics and economic opportunities of development
  4. Causes and consequences of global demographic changes
  5. Comparative health risks and income inequalities
  6. Population aging and social policy challenges
  7. The impacts of demographic transitions in various regions of the world and their global socio-economic impacts
  8. Population diversity challenges and opportunities

If this describes your research, please specify how (max three sentences) in the text field below. If it does not apply, please write "N/A" in the text box. Please note that this is not an evaluation criterion for your application and this information will not be shared with the committee. It will be used for internal reporting purposes only.



Agency Name: 
University of Lethbridge
Contact Name: 
Emma Dering
Grant Amount: 
$5,625 over 4 months. Faculty members are required to provide a minimum of $800 in financial support.
Grant Location: 
External Deadline: 
Monday, February 1, 2021
Internal Deadline: 
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Grant Type: 
Grant Area: 
Natural Science
Social Science
Fine Arts
Grant Eligibility: