Grad Impact Week

FGSR celebrates its graduate students by sharing stories that illustrate the importance of their research and work they do as the innovators today and the leaders of tomorrow.

Grad Impact Week 2019

Grad Impact Week runs from April 1-5, 2019. During this week in spring, the Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research (FGSR) at the University of Alberta celebrates its graduate students by sharing stories that illustrate the importance of their research and the work they do as the innovators of today and the leaders of tomorrow.

Grad Students Have an Economic and a Social Impact

Did you know 1 in 5 students at the University of Alberta is a graduate student? UAlberta’s almost 8000 grad students comprise 20% of the student population, pursuing degrees in one of the 500 graduate programs the university offers. As a top research institution in Canada, UAlberta draws some of the world’s most passionate researchers right here to Edmonton, with many choosing to stay once they complete their degree as they find jobs or start businesses here.

In the past 3 years, over 500 students in the Graduate Student Internship Program (GSIP) contributed more than 204,000 hours to the social and industry sectors. 70% of students reported securing employment directly because of the experience gained and the network they build through their internship and 93% of employers surveyed reported they would hire a graduate student again.  

Additional stories for about our GSIP interns and employers:

Grad Students Are Asking Bold Questions

It is not an exaggeration to say that our grad students are doing research that is changing our understanding of the universe, driving technological and medical advancements, and bringing forth social innovations to improve our society. Sometimes this work is happening so quietly that we need to shine a light on it. That is what the 3-Minute Thesis and Images of Research competitions aim to accomplish.

Consider a PhD thesis that could be 80,000 words and take 9 hours to present. How would you condense that amount of material into just a 3-minute presentation that anyone could understand? How would you represent the essence of your research in a single image?

These are the challenges grad students are taking up when they submit an entry for the Images of Research competition and enter the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, an academic competition that assists current graduate students with developing effective presentation and communication skills. Students have just three minutes to explain the breadth and significance of their research project to a non-specialist audience.

Learn more about our students’ research:

Grad Students are Driving Innovation

By the nature of their research, graduate students are curious and eager to drive innovation in their fields. But how can they get their ideas out in the world so they have broader impact? Many graduate students translate their research into start-ups, becoming passionate entrepreneurs responsible for some of the most innovative business ideas around. FGSR produced "The Innovator's Handbook" as a support resource for graduate students to bring their ideas into "real-world" applications outside their research, for example patents, starting a business, etc. Its aim is to facilitate in transitioning academic research into the public domain.

Dr. Lisa Bélanger, former UAlberta grad student, is a behavioural change expert. She spoke at UAlberta during Grad Impact Week as part of World Health Day. She is founder and CEO of Conscious Works, a consulting firm designed to strengthen and improve habits of leaders, professionals, students, and athletes, for long-term personal and professional growth, and the founder Knight's Cabin, a national charity offering wellness programs for cancer survivors. Learn more at

Additional stories and links to innovative businesses our grad students are starting up:

Grad Students are Champions of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Graduate students are provoking positive inquiry and change in areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

The University of Alberta is committed to creating work and learning communities that inspire and enable all people to reach their full potential. UAlberta is currently working on creating a robust institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan to further ensure that issues related to EDI considerations are addressed at all levels. UAlberta grad students are taking this commitment beyond the reaches of the institution and out into the community. Students like Aamena Kapasi, looking into engaging cognitive diversity in the workforce through her research into employment for individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Like Wendy Aujla and Heidi Erisman, whose research-art collaboration emotionally reflects experiences of domestic violence in South Asian immigrant women. Like Isabel Scheunemann Scott whose research looks into the writings of incarcerated Indigenous women.

Additional stories:

Grad Students are Social Changemakers

Graduate students are focused on creating positive change in the world around them. On a cold and snowy Saturday in January 2019, 10 PhD students came together with a group of social profit organizations

Additional stories: