Undergraduate Summer Research Program

Summer Research Experience

We strive to provide our students with adequate resources to ensure a productive summer long research experience. Considering this, we have taken it upon ourselves to match you with a Principal Investigator (PI) to carry out your projects with. Matching of students with PI’s will be based on the student’s field of interest and online application.

The COUHR Summer Research Program will span from the months of May through August, with students and PI’s ultimately deciding on the length of their research project and weekly time commitments. Although a full time summer project spanning across 16 weeks is encouraged, there is no penalty for choosing to commit to a smaller project.

In order for a student to be eligible for the Research Program, they must provide their regional COUHR team with 3 documents.

1. Proof of post-secondary enrollment
2. Transcript (grade 12 transcript is acceptable for first year students)
3. Submission of the online form

Although we do not ask for legal evidence of association with any underrepresented group (i.e. income statements and status to a specific group), we do ask applicants to self-report with honesty.

In the case that you do not fit under a traditional underrepresented group, we advise that you make this evident in your application. Should a vacant research opportunity become available, the spot will be given to students from this group. We anticipate a number of potential seats for students looking to attain research opportunities that do not qualify as   underrepresented, and for that reason, recommend every student interested in research to apply.

If a student wishes to find their own PI and still participate in the COUHR program, they will be given  admission and access to our workshops and research symposium upon review of their application. As an organization, we value those that take initiative of their own academic success, and support such strides. For students that have found a PI to work with individually, only the online application will be required (transcript and proof of enrollment will not be needed).

Bi-Weekly Summer Workshops

To ensure a more well-rounded and complete experience for our students, we have implemented a number of bi-weekly workshops catered to developing students’ skills in areas  such as finance, writing, and time management. These skills are directly applicable to their research projects and are invaluable for both their studies and development as students.

Financial Literacy Workshops
With a large number of our students being low-income, financial literacy is pivotal in making the best use of your money. Through our workshop, we will provide guidance on using money wisely, organizing and understanding taxes, and opportunities available for bursaries and how to apply for them.

Scholarship Workshops
There are countless scholarships available to students, either through universities, from the government, or external sources. In our scholarships workshop, students will be guided on how to search for scholarships relevant to them, how to craft essays to effectively display their character and extracurriculars, and distinguishing themselves from other applicants.

  1. Searching for scholarships relevant to them through in-school and out-of-school databases

  2. Tutorials on writing essays to effectively display their character and extracurricular activities and accomplishments 

  3. Structuring applications to effectively distinguishing themselves from other applicants.


CV/Resume Workshops
Your CV/resume is one of your most important documents when applying for opportunities such as jobs, research positions, scholarships, post-graduate studies, and medical school. These workshops will help ensure that your CV/resume is properly constructed, formatted correctly and contains the appropriate amount of information.

Scholarly Writing Workshops
Scholarly writing is a pivotal aspect of research. The quality of your research to individuals and academic journals is defined by how you present your work and convey your findings. This workshop will enhance your writing skills through abstract formation, writing brief literature reviews, and editing manuscripts.

The anatomy of a Systematic Review

  • Different Types of Reviews (Narrative, Rapid, Scoping)

  • Stages of a Systematic Review Process (PICO, Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria, etc)

  • Searching Grey Literature and Utilizing Databases

  • Data Extraction, Coding, Analysis

  • Reporting of Findings


Searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Database, PUBMED, CINAHL, PsychINFO

  • Overview of Each Database

  • Keyword Searching (Use of “or” and “and”)

  • Broadening and Narrowing Searches

  • Managing Results


Analyzing Scientific Journals
Your ability to understand and analyze scientific journals and previously published work is crucial when conducting research. Interpreting findings from other researchers can very well define research projects and influence the basis of a study. These workshop will develop your analytic skills through writing literature reviews, briefly presenting the purpose, methods, results, and discussion of sample papers, and working with peers to understand different studies from a wide variety of research areas.

Study Strategies and Time Management 
Often times what defines the success of a student is their ability to use and manage their time effectively. This workshop will expose you to tips and tricks used by successful students in balancing studies, extracurriculars, and personal lives.

Career Fair
The career fair will allow students to interact and network with researchers who are members of different institutions. This will be an opportunity for students to diversify their interests as well as to improve their overall knowledge of the various topics and ideas explored in health research. 

Biochemical Laboratory Techniques
Although many of our students will conduct their summer research in a wet-lab setting, a large proportion of students will be conducting dry-lab projects. For this reason, we believe that implementing a biochemical laboratory technique workshop will allow many of our students to gain valuable knowledge in a different aspect of health research. Through this workshop, we will describe the biological basis and functional uses of the following laboratory techniques.

  1. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Electrophoresis

  2. Flow Cytometry

  3. Western Blot Analysis

  4. Immunoprecipitation

  5. Chromatography

  6. Cell Culture

  7. Microscopy

Interviewing Skills and Etiquette
The ability to present oneself during an interview and leave a lasting impression is not only important for meeting principle investigators, but it is also an useful skill to have as it is  inevitable that students will encounter interviews in the future. This workshop will introduce general points that can aid in making a great impression as well as etiquette to note for any interview

COUHR Research Symposium

After every research term, COUHR will host a symposium for all students that took part in our summer research program. This symposium gives our students the opportunity to develop skills in displaying their work on a poster, and enhances their ability to present their research. Students will also have an option to deliver a 5-10 minute oral presentation along with their poster presentation.

Students may wish to present their poster presentation at other research symposiums, including research institute specific events and university specific symposiums. Presenting  at other symposiums will not make students ineligible to present at the COUHR Research Symposium, as we encourage our students to take part in as many events as time allows  them to. 

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