Alberta Innovates Summer Studentships

The Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentship program provides funding to support students engaging in health/medical research and innovation during the summer months (May-August). The objectives of the SRS program are to:

  • Increase awareness and interest in research & innovation (R&I) careers - particularly at the intersection of health and emerging technologies. 
  • Create opportunities for emerging talent to acquire experience and connections in Alberta’s health R&I ecosystem. 
  • Increase the competitiveness of Alberta as a destination for R&I talent.
  • Leverage partner relationships to advance Digital Health Innovation in Alberta. 

Alberta Innovates Priority Areas (Revised for 2024)

As a condition of our funding from Alberta Innovates, 40% of awards are to be directed to projects that align with one or more of these priority areas Digital or Data Driven Health Research, Commercialization, and Health System Transformation.  Please see the definitions below. 

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 modeling 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.

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 interests include but are not limited to implementation studies in health care settings; policy development; approaches to citizen-centric care.

Applications aligning with one or more priority areas are strongly encouraged but are not treated preferentially in the adjudication process. The proposed research aligning with the priority area(s) should be within the scope of the student's proposed work, integral to the overall research project, and well-rationalized throughout the project proposal.

Award Details

  • Award Value: The Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentship consists of a $1,875 (per month) stipend that will be paid out in semi-monthly installments over the duration of the project. 
  • Award Term: The Summer Studentship may be held for a period of 2-4 consecutive months.

Student Eligibility

  • Students must have a confirmed University of Alberta faculty supervisor (see Supervisor Eligibility). Students may apply with ONE supervisor each year.  
  • Students must be currently registered in an undergraduate or MD program at the University of Alberta. Students in their final semester may apply, as long as they are enrolled as an undergraduate or MD student at the time of application, and are not entering a graduate program during the term of their award. 
  • Students must have a satisfactory academic standing prior to the start of the project (see Calendar - Academic Regulations Section ). Transcripts will be provided to adjudicators to assess academic preparedness and will be used by URI to confirm enrollment status, coursework and satisfactory academic standing, as well as for consideration for other awards.
  • Students may not hold another stipend-type award concurrently (i.e. URI stipend, NSERC USRA). Other awards may be used to supplement (“top-up”) the Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentship, provided this does not conflict with the policies of the secondary granting agency, and that the student does not receive the full value of the second award.
  • Students must be available to work a minimum of 8 consecutive weeks (2 months) between May and August.  Given the diversity of Summer Studentship projects and project timelines, the URI does not prescribe specific hours of work for students. Students should discuss the expected time commitment with their supervisors prior to applying for the award, and the time commitment should be considered when determining the project scope and term of the award.
  • Considering the limited duration of Summer Studentship projects (2-4 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.

Supervisor Eligibility

  • Supervisors must hold an A1.1 or C1.1 primary faculty appointment at the University of Alberta ( see definitions here ). 
  • Supervisors may apply with a maximum of TWO students through the Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentship (and affiliated funding programs) per year, and each student must have a separate project.  Applications in excess of this limit will not be adjudicated or forwarded on to other competitions.  

Application Process

Applications for the 2024 Alberta Innovates SRS competition have now closed. For a list of recently approved projects, see the URI Funding Competition Results page.

Applications for the 2025 award cycle are expected to open in late Fall 2024. The application deadline is normally in January.

Selection Process

  • Applications are normally reviewed by three faculty members knowledgeable in health sciences. Priority area applications normally have at least one adjudicator who has self-identified expertise in that priority area.
  • Adjudicators score each application according to the adjudication criteria. Each adjudicator’s raw scores are standardized prior to ranking.  

Adjudication Criteria

  • Adjudication decisions are not appealable. Applicants who are unsuccessful are welcome to reapply in a future application cycle, and are encouraged to contact URI for feedback regarding their application.
  • Historically, the Alberta Innovates SRS program has received ~300 applications each year, and has a success rate of approximately 25-30% (subject to funding availability).