Diverse Team of Specialists work in Advanced Lab

Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP)

The Faculty of Medicine Research Office Medical Student Summer Research Program is offered to students enrolled in their first or second year of training. We are pleased to offer up to fifty $5,500 bursaries to students who are selected to participate. Students then spend the summer working closely with their supervisor on a specific research project followed by a poster presentation of their work in the Fall during the designated MSSRP Poster Day.


Research and Innovation is at the heart of modern medicine. The Faculty of Medicine’s Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP) provides up to 50 first- and second-year undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in research projects.  This competitive program provides medical students the opportunity to gain first-hand training in research methodologies and skills while working on a summer research project with a faculty supervisor/mentor.  In addition, the program provides real-world skills in science communications through presenting their research as a poster presentation during the designated MSSRP Poster Day (Fall 2024 – date to be confirmed).  By learning how to conduct research, analyze data and synthesize medical research, we aim to provide Faculty of Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education students with experience and skills to support their clinical and research career development.

Projects offered through this program aim to reflect the diversity and breadth of research at the Faculty of Medicine.  This is an open competitive program that accepts projects from across the medical research continuum, from fundamental research on the mechanisms of disease and drug discovery to evidence-based medical education and practice-changing clinical research.  All faculty members with a primary academic appointment to the Faculty of Medicine at the level of Assistant, Associate or Full Professor (PhD or MD) are eligible to submit a project to this program and supervise a summer medical student.  (Please note that Adjunct Professors & Lecturers are not eligible)

In order to promote research in strategic areas of development as outlined in the Faculty of Medicine’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, each year we will make priority announcements in collaboration with our partners.  These priority areas may require additional application information and reporting criteria.

Key Dates

  • Supervisor application due January 31, 2024

  • Students application due March 4, 2024
  • Notice of decision sent April 5, 2024


Each successful medical student applicant will be awarded a stipend of $5,500 for their summer research project. It is expected that each awardee spends 10 weeks working on the project.

Who can Apply?

1.  Supervisors must hold a primary appointment in the Faculty of Medicine*, be in good standing with their departments, and be eligible to supervise undergraduate students. Potential supervisors must also:

  • Contribute $1,750 to the program (an invoice will be sent at the end of the summer)

  • Serve as a judge during the poster session of the designated MSSRP Poster Day (Fall 2024 – date to be confirmed)
  • Ensure the project will follow all the required ethics procedures, including having approval before the project commences (if required)
  • Use EDI best practices in selecting and training summer student
  • Agree to submit only one MSSRP project and supervise one MSSRP student per year

*Limited to Assistant, Associate, and Full Professors (Adjunct Professor & Lecturers not eligible). Community partners will need to link with an eligible Faculty member to submit an application.

2.  Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) students at the University of Ottawa who are enrolled in their first or second year of training are eligible to apply.  Successful candidates must also:

  • Prepare and present a poster of their research results during the designated MSSRP Poster Day (Fall 2024 – date to be confirmed).
  • Notify the Medical Education Office by May 31, 2024 of their absence to present the poster during the designated MSSRP Poster Day (Fall 2024 – date to be confirmed).

Please note that only one project per supervisor will be accepted. 
Students can only be funded to work on one project each summer they are eligible to apply.  Students must agree to accept at most 1 award per year.

Application Process

1.  Potential supervisors are invited to submit a full project description by Wednesday, January 31, 2024  through our online supervisor application form. Submission includes:

  • Summary of the project, which includes: research question, introduction, objectives, methods, training plan and impact statement.
  • Short description of how research project will incorporate sex- and gender-based analysis+ (SGBA+);
  • research ethics board approval (if required); and
  • any additional information required for those applying for priority announcements.
  • Supervisors can let us know in advance if they have a pre-selected student for their project or let us know once they have found a student for their project.

2.  The projects are circulated to all first- and second-year medical students.

3.  Students directly contact supervisors to discuss projects that interest them.

4.  Supervisors will interview the students ensuring the principles of EDI are respected as outlined in the Tri-Agency Best Practices in EDI in Research.

5.  Supervisors will notify the student they select for their project in writing so students can then include this confirmation in their application.

Supervisors are also asked to contact the Research Office at [email protected] once they have chosen a student.  The project list will be updated regularly letting students know in real time which supervisor projects have already been fulfilled.

6.  Selected students must submit a student application form and up-to-date CV by March 4th 2024. The application form includes the following details:

  • how this position fits with their future plans and career path;

  • how the project will provide them with a unique research training opportunity;
  • student role in the project as they understand it;
  • what skills and experience they offer that are relevant to the project (e.g. previous research experience).

7.  A review committee comprised of faculty, students and community members will assess the and rank the applications using merit indicators (see below).

8.  Supervisors and students will be notified of the committee’s decision via email by April 5th, 2024.

9.  Upon receipt of the award notice, both student and supervisor must confirm they accept the award.

Priority Areas 

1.  Mach-Gaensslen Foundation

Up to five (5) awarded will be funded through the Mach-Gaensslen Foundation. The Foundation’s objectives are to:

  • carry out, support and promote medical research in the fields of cardiology, oncology and psychiatry,

  • disseminate the findings of such research to the interested public, and

  • promote excellence in education in the fields of cardiology, oncology and psychiatry.

2.  Social Accountability

Up to eight (8) summer studentships will be allocated to the priority area of Social Accountability:

  • Four (4) of these will be awarded to faculty members working in collaboration with community stakeholders.
  • Four (4) of these will be awarded directly to community stakeholders themselves.*

Please see the Terms of Reference for the Social Accountability Priority Announcement for more details.

Review Committee

The review committee will assess and rank the summer studentship applications. The committee commits to a fair and transparent review assessment to promote excellence in research across Faculty of Medicine’s diverse research fields. In alignment with the University of Ottawa’s Office of the Vice-President, Research policies, the committee will foster an equitable research, education and training environment that provides equal opportunities for everyone and that respects and values diversity.


  1. The Committee will provide rankings of summer studentship applications using the merit indicators (see below) while ensuring the Faculty’s core values of equity and diversity are respected.

  2. The Committee will provide feed-back on the summer studentship application and review process.


The Committee will reflect the diversity of the University of Ottawa and Faculty of Medicine community with respect to the four diversity categories identified in the Canada Equity Act (gender, minority status, indigenous status, disability status). In addition, the review committee should reflect the diversity of our uOttawa community, including stakeholders from our partner institutions and reflective of the diverse research fields at uOttawa. It will be comprised of:

  • Faculty of Medicine Assistant Dean, Research and Special Projects (Chair);
  • At least three (3) Faculty representatives from biomedical or basic research fields
  • At least six (6) Faculty representatives from clinical research fields

Staff/Non-Voting Members:

  • Lead Coordinator, Research Administration and Communications of the Faculty of Medicine Research Office

Merit Indicators

All applications will be reviewed according to the following merit indicators: -

  • Excellence of the Research Project (50%)

    • Impact, innovation, feasibility, methods, SGBA+ considerations

  • Excellence of Training Opportunity (50%)

    • Research training experience and skills development, training plan, fit with career goals of the trainee

In addition, applicants indicating they wish to be considered for priority areas, the following criteria will be used:

  • Mach-Gaensslen Foundation

    Projects in the Mach-Gaensslen priority area must:

    • Carry out, support and promote medical research in the fields of cardiology, oncology and psychiatry;

    • Help disseminate the findings of such research to the interested public; and
    • Promote excellence in education in the fields of cardiology, oncology and psychiatry
  • Social Accountability

    Projects must have engaged at least one eligible stakeholder and demonstrate they meet at least two of the following criteria:

    • Demonstrate relevance to one of more priority needs for community stakeholders as determined by those stakeholders themselves;

    • Have the potential to reduce health inequity;
    • Demonstrate an understanding and sensitivity to the context in which the research is being conducted;
    • Increase the quality, relevance, and efficiency of care;
    • Establish realistic pathways to achieve impact.