Alberta Innovates Summer Studentships

Alberta Innovates (AI) Summer Research Studentships (SRS)

This page was updated on January 20, 2020.  The guidelines have been finalized.




Supervisor Contribution

 Minimum of $800


 Minimum of 8 weeks to maximum of 16 weeks during the period of May 1 - August 31

Application Deadline

 February 7, 2020 at 4:00pm
Notice of Decision  Late March or early April 2020
Start Date  May 1, 2020

ORIS Contact

 Penny D’Agnone (403-382-7198 or


Alberta Innovates (AI) invests in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to drive provincial economic growth and diversity. AI ignites the power of innovation through our work with researchers, industry and entrepreneurs to move Alberta to a lower-carbon future, enhance the responsible use of land and water, and contribute to the improved health and well-being of Albertans.

AI provides technical expertise, entrepreneurial advice and support, opportunities for partnerships, and funding to advance the best ideas. AI supports a broad range of research and innovation activity – from discovery to use. Collaboration is at the heart of what AI does – bringing together bright minds and great ideas to drive innovation.

The purpose of the AI Summer Research Studentship (SRS) Program is to introduce students to emerging health research and innovation early in their education.

Opportunities such as these give students the chance to learn and participate in hands-on experiential learning at an academic setting. The SRS Program is an important mechanism to encourage and students to pursue advanced education, training and future careers in health research and innovation.

The objectives of the SRS and HYRS Program are to encourage:

  1. Students to pursue careers in health research and innovation.
  2. Introduce students to cross-disciplinary research and innovation in emerging technology areas such as digital health.  Digital health is the convergence of digital technologies with health, healthcare, living, and society to enhance the efficiency of healthcare delivery and make medicines more personalized and precise.
  3. Build a network of highly-talented individuals that can advocate on behalf of the research and innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

AI has a strategic interest in supporting students interested in the area of Digital Health.  A minimum of 25% of applications supported through this program will be those applications that identify an area of digital health as part of their project.  It is expected that the funds requested in each competition will exceed the funds available.    

  • Digital Health Technology can include standalone software or integrated software systems which can utilize digital platforms (such as computers, smart phones, tablets, wearables, etc) to improve access to health care information, personal health and wellbeing, facilitate more efficient diagnoses and treatments, and improve access to care for patients at home, at health care facilities, as well as in rural and remote communities.
  • Data Enabled Health Transformation is the creation, amalgamation, analysis, and application of large quantities of complex information to improve health or healthcare decision-making.  Examples would include data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence platforms.

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

2018 AI Summer Studentships

# hours per week

# weeks

Min Wage as of Oct 1, 20171


Total cost

AI contribution

Required faculty top up









1Alberta minimum wage will increase to $15.00/hour effective October 1, 2018.


Those candidates who meet one of the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • be registered in an Alberta-based undergraduate degree program;
  • be registered in an undergraduate degree program outside of Alberta, and desiring to engage in research during the summer at an Alberta institution; and
  • A maximum of two (2) students per supervisor per year can apply for the SRS Program.

Candidates in their final year of a high school or undergraduate program MUST submit evidence of registration in, or application to, an undergraduate (for high school graduates) or graduate (for undergraduate students) university program.


  • February 7, 2020 at 4:00pm: Application deadline. 
  • February – March: Applications are reviewed and ranked by the SRS Review Committee using the Pro-Grid Decision Assist Tool (see Evaluation Criteria and Process below). 
  • March - April: The final rank is decided on and funding decisions are made.
  • April: Notice of Decisions are distributed to applicants.
  • May  – August: Term of the award.

How to Apply:

General Guidelines:

The duration of this award is a minimum of two months to a maximum of four months during the period of May 1 – August 31. This is a stipend only award. It requires that the applicant be sponsored by a faculty supervisor who possesses both a record of productive health-oriented research and sufficient resources to ensure the satisfactory conduct and completion of research. 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.  There is a limit of two (2) students per supervisor per year that can apply for the SRS Program.  It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the complete application is submitted prior to the application deadline. 

Submissions for the current competition are due by 4:00pm on February 7, 2020.  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. AI Summer Research Studentship Application Form – Students are to up load the completed form found here: 
  3. 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.  In exceptional circumstances, scanned copies of transcripts can be emailed to no later than one week following the deadline with the subject line: AI Studentship.
  4. Letter of Reference: The student can upload a letter of recommendation from a faculty member or have that faculty member email it to directly with the subject line: AI Studentship. The letters must be received prior to the deadline.  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.  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. 
  5. Digital Health: The applicant must indicate whether or not the application relates to areas of Digital Health.  If applicable, a brief description must be uploaded explaining the research project’s connection to digital health (approximately one paragraph).  Please link to either Digital Health Technology and/or Data Enabled Health Transformation as defined above.

Application submission instructions:

Complete applications must be submitted by 4:00pm on February 7, 2020 to the Office of Research Services & Innovation Services using the online form.  Late applications will not be accepted.  In exceptional circumstances, official transcripts and letters of recommendation can be emailed to with the Subject Line: AI Studentship. 

Following the application deadline, an email will be sent to applicants and their proposed supervisor confirming the receipt of the application no later than February 14, 2020. 

Conditions of the Award:

  1. Use of funds:  The AI Summer Studentship is for a total of $8,730 and will be disbursed to the successful applicant once a month on the last business day of each month.  Supplemental funds and the source of funds provided by the supervisor must be confirmed with ORIS no later than the first of the month using the Payroll Authorization Form (PAF) – Research.  If the student is currently employed at the UofL, those payment arrangements must be terminated prior to May 1, 2020. 
  2. Term: The term of the award is for a minimum of eight (8) consecutive weeks between May 1 and August 31.  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.  Students must be willing to participate full-time in the project for the duration of the award and agree not to change the supervisor or project during the term of the award. 
  3. Ethics: If the proposed research program involves human subjects or the use of either animals or biohazardous material, it is the responsibility of the sponsoring faculty and/or department to ensure that the research has received the approval of the appropriate Institutional Ethics Review Committee(s).
  4. Reports: In August, a request for a report will be sent to the student and supervisor for information on activities over the summer as well as feedback on the program.  During a 5 year period after the award, AI may contact the UofL to collect additional information on impacts and outcomes resulting from its funding in the SRS Program.  ORIS will contact the supervisor for this information, as it is requested. 
  5. Personnel: Personnel employed with grant funds are not governed under a collective agreement.
  6. Acknowledgement of Funder: All publications, presentations and public messages concerning the SRS Program and projects funded through the SRS Program must acknowledge the contribution of Alberta Innovates. Use of the full legal name ‘Alberta Innovates’ is required, rather than ‘AI’ or a similar acronym.  Alberta Innovates’ logos must be included in all promotional materials, if possible. Logos can be requested by email to

Evaluation Criteria and Process:

The UofL uses the PROGRID system as a tool to evaluate the proposals for AI SRS awards. This system utilizes an alpha-numerical rating scale. The Language Ladders used in determining this rating scale are attached to these instructions. The application form is designed around these Language Ladders, and gives the candidate and supervisor space to provide the appropriate information relating to each of the criteria listed.

In its evaluation of each application, the AI SRS Review Committee will look primarily for evidence that: (1) the candidate has an excellent academic record; (2) the supervisor is conducting a productive research program in an area relevant to the objectives of AIHS; and (3) the supervisor has adequate research funding - preferably from a competitive granting agency.  Applications will be assessed for their involvement of digital health, if applicable. 

The following evaluation criteria apply to all applicants:

  1. Student (50%): Both the Academic Record and the Letter of Reference are evaluated for research/scholarly/creative achievements of the applicant.   
  2. Supervisor (25%): The Supervisor’s Resources and Research Track Record are evaluated based on the project description, publication track record, and track record of research funding.
  3. Overall Impression of the Project (25%): The Overall Impression is evaluated on the assessment of the student, Letter of Reference and assessment of the proposed supervisor. 

NOTE: A limit of two applications may be submitted by a faculty supervisor.  Faculty supervisors sponsoring candidates to this program must have a record of productive research and sufficient funding to ensure the satisfactory conduct of the research.  A separate research project must be submitted for each student. The supervisor must be prepared to provide direct and continuous supervision during the term of the award.  Those applications that demonstrate a link to digital health will be prioritized. 

Following the application deadline, applications are evaluated by the Selection 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

 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 Selection 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 from AI.  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 Chinook 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.