Undergraduate Summer Research Internships (USRI)


Information for Faculty of Health Sciences Faculty Members and Students

Western Undergraduate Summer Research Internships (USRIs) provide undergraduate students with engaged research experiences under the mentorship of a faculty member and are intended to stimulate undergraduate students’ interest in research through direct exposure and hands-on experience conducting research. Through participation in this program, students gain valuable and high-impact research, technical, and professional skills that will help support academic and career development towards their future professional goals. Faculty mentors benefit from meaningful engagement, and assistance towards their research program, and can use the opportunity to further a diverse Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) training environment.

The USRI program was originally launched in 2020 as a pilot program and expanded to include professional development opportunities in 2021. Following the overwhelming success of the program in 2021 and beyond, Western Research, in partnership with Student Experience and Western Libraries, now offers the USRI fellows an expanded suite of professional development offerings. The professional development opportunities, which complement the engaged research-learning project, include sessions on scholarly writing, literature searches/reviews, citation management, GIS tools, knowledge exchange, resumes and CVs, research posters, equity, and diversity. Students have the opportunity to share their research with the broader community during a virtual exhibition event.

Program Objectives and Outcomes

A broad and collaborative effort across several institutional portfolios, this program seeks to provide undergraduate students with first-hand experience in undertaking an exciting research project under the direction of a qualified faculty mentor/supervisor.

Program Outcomes

  • Provide a comprehensive and supported undergraduate student research experience.
  • Increase undergraduate student confidence in research fields of interest.
  • Pave the way to graduate study and future research careers.
  • Provide opportunities for undergraduate students to expand their networks, enhance their student experience, and connect with other student researchers and members of the Western research community.
  • Help defray the costs in supporting undergraduate student research work.
  • Advance research, scholarship, and creative activity across Western.

Student Objectives

  • Co-develop and execute a short-term research project, to be completed in the 16-week program time frame, under the supervision of a faculty member.
  • Co-develop a learning and development plan with a Faculty mentor based on institutional and individual needs.
  • Learn about open access and Western’s repository through storage of a copy of the research output in Western’s Institutional Repository Scholarship@Western
  • In consultation with their faculty supervisor, develop and produce a multimodal research output oriented to lay audiences. Students can select the most appropriate format for their research output based on their summer research project.
  • Participate in a minimum of four professional development workshops that will aid in the creation of their research output and will support the summer research experience. This will be based on individual learning plans co-developed with their supervisors.
  • articipation in student reflection opportunities, end of program surveys including a program evaluation and a demographic survey); note that this is a condition of funding

Faculty Supervisor Objectives

  • Participate in a summer research program providing mentorship for an undergraduate student that will further enhance research goals and the student's research and professional skills.
  • Co-develop a learning and development plan geared towards the needs of your research program and your USRI fellow, with clear expectations to ensure an equitable working environment.
  • Participate in at least one EDID workshop shared as part of the Professional Development sessions.
  • Support the development of the research output (required deliverable of USRI students) throughout the summer.
  • Attendance at the virtual exhibition is highly encouraged and welcomed.
  • Participate in end of program surveys including a program evaluation and demographic survey; note that this is a condition of funding.

Value and Duration of Award

USRIs are valued at a minimum of $9,268 for a 16-week term through May to August 2024. Western will contribute $7,414 toward each Summer Internship with a required minimum match of $1,854 from other sources (e.g., researcher, department, Institute, and/or Faculty). Supervisors are strongly encouraged to provide all or a portion of the minimum matching funds. FHS will contribute to matching funds on a case-by-case basis.

Students are only allowed to hold one USRI for the summer and the USRI should not be held concurrently with another paid student position. Faculty supervisors are responsible for communicating clear expectations and guidance, including anticipated outcomes and deliverables, and outlining hours per week to be agreed upon in the student's individualized learning plan. Hours should be consistent with the Supervisor's research group members and allow for the successful completion of research objectives.

Faculty Allocation

FHS has been allocated 41 USRIs for 2024. Note that there will not be a separate allocation for cross-faculty application, i.e., undergraduate students from a Faculty outside of FHS counts as a part of the FHS USRI allocation.

Supervisor and Student Eligibility


  • The lead supervisor must hold a research-eligible appointment at Western and a primary or joint appointment to FHS.
    • Faculty members who hold a primary appointment in another Faculty at Western must apply via the USRI program of their home Faculty.
    • Subject to approval at the Faculty level, co-supervision is acceptable under this program and co-supervisors do not need to hold a research-eligible appointment in FHS.
  • Participation in program evaluation and demographic survey (at the end of the summer) is a condition of funding.
  • NEW THIS YEAR: FHS supervisors must have a named student co-applicant on their USRI application.
  • NEW THIS YEAR: Student-Supervisor Matching Support: FHS supervisors who have not yet identified a student co-applicant ("unmatched") have the option to submit a short description of their summer research opportunity for review by prospective students. Expressions of interest from prospective students will be shared with FHS supervisors to facilitate student-supervisor matching before the USRI deadline (see UNMATCHED SUPERVISORS tab for more information).
  • Participation in at least one EDID workshop as part of the Professional Development sessions is strongly recommended.
  • Participation in end-of-summer virtual student exhibition is encouraged and welcomed.
  • Faculties are encouraged to give preference to students completing 3rd year and/or returning students, but final decisions about internships are up to the Faculty.
  • Faculties are encouraged to give preference in their adjudication of applications to students from equity deserving groups, economically disadvantaged, and/or first-generation students.


  • Students must have been enrolled at Western in an undergraduate program in Winter 2024 and should be planning to attend Western in Fall 2024 as an undergraduate or graduate student.
  • Students must be available to participate full-time in research activity as described in the proposal for 16 weeks between May 1 and August 31, 2024.
    • Specific dates of research engagement will be determined collaboratively with the faculty supervisor through the individual learning plan.
  • The USRI award should not be held concurrently with another paid student position.
  • Students must be selected by a supervisor and as co-applicant on the supervisor's USRI application.
  • NEW THIS YEAR: Student-Supervisor Matching Support: Students who do not have a FHS supervisor ("unmatched") will have the opportunity to review descriptions of research opportunities from supervisors who are looking for students. Students will be able to apply to research opportunities of interest from which potential supervisor will select student co-applicants. If successfully paired with a FHS supervisor, the supervisor will submit the application for a USRI award with the student as co-applicant. (see UNMATCHED STUDENTS tab for more information)
  • Students will work with a faculty supervisor to co-create a research project. The hours per week devoted to this work is based on scholarly outcomes and should allow for the successful delivery of research objectives. Vacation and sick days are not built into the internship and should be discussed with respective supervisors.
  • Participation in program evaluation and demographic survey is a condition of funding.
  • Participation in program objectives including attending/viewing four Professional Development sessions, completing a research output, and attendance of the end of summer research showcase is also a condition of the funding and for students to receive Co-curricular credit on their transcript.

Key Dates

January 31st 2024: Deadline for FHS supervisors who are seeking a student co-applicant (unmatched) to submit a short description of their USRI research opportunity.

February 1st 2024: FHS releases research opportunity descriptions to prospective USRI students.

February 16th 2024: Deadline for “unmatched” students to apply to research opportunities of interest.

March 8th 2024: Deadline for FHS supervisors to apply to the 2024 USRI award with their selected student co-applicant.

March 15th 2024: Notifications of FHS USRI awards are released. March 20th 2024: Deadline to accept FHS USRI offers.

May 1st 2024: Earliest start date of the USRI program.

August: Virtual Summer Exhibition, deadline for Professional Development session credits towards USRI certificate, deadline for the student and supervisor program evaluation and demographic survey submission.

August 31st: Latest possible end date of the 16-week internship.


Professional Development for Students and Supervisors

A template for a learning and development plan will be provided by Western Research & Student Experience to be distributed to successful USRI fellows and their supervisors. Students will be expected to attend/view a minimum of four Professional Development sessions and/or workshops throughout the summer from the suite of offerings to be posted on the USRI 2024 OWL course. Workshops should complement their learning plan and contribute towards the successful completion of the research output.

A workshop focused on EDI-D will be available for supervisors to share experiences and develop strategies on how to implement the principles of EDI-D into their supervision practices with diverse students.

Workshop details will be finalized and provided by the end of April on this site (Suggestions for workshops are welcome): https://www.uwo.ca/research/funding/students/usri.html

Applying for a USRI

Please note that the application process has been updated from previous years:

1. All USRI applications must have a named student co-applicant (i.e., student-supervisory pairings must be made prior to the application deadline)
2. FHS has added (optional) Student-Supervisor Matching Support prior to final application submission. This will allow students and supervisors who have not yet found a match to be paired prior to the USRI deadline.

Unmatched Supervisors

  • If a supervisor has already identified a prospective student for an FHS USRI award, they may apply directly to the FHS USRI competition as a student-supervisor pairing (see MATCHED STUDENT-SUPERVISOR PAIRINGS tab).
  • Prospective "unmatched" supervisors should submit a 250-word broad description of the research opportunity and up to 5 research area keywords by Wednesday, January 31st 2024 via https://forms.office.com/r/WigkM6rnp3
  • FHS will send a list of prospective students (along with their expression of interest, resume, and unofficial transcript) to the supervisor by February 20th 2024.
  • Student evaluation and selection is the responsibility of the supervisor and will occur between February 20th to March 8th. Supervisors may elect to invite students for interviews as a part of their selection process, but this not mandatory and should not be conducted during reading week.
  • Once matched, student-supervisor pairings will be required to submit their FHS USRI application by Friday, March 8th 2024.

Unmatched Students

  • Prospective "unmatched" students must be selected for a student-supervisor pairing in order to considered for a FHS USRI award.
  • Review available USRI research opportunities created by supervisors.
    • As part of the Unmatched Student Application Form, students will be able to apply to up to five research opportunities by completing a 250-word statement of interest for each opportunity and submitting a resume and unofficial transcript by Friday, February 16th 2024.
  • Complete the unmatched student application at https://forms.office.com/r/WWMuGX9UmU
  • Students will then be evaluated by unmatched prospective supervisors for possible selection as their USRI student co-applicant. Supervisors may elect to invite students for interviews as a part of their selection process, but this is not mandatory and should not be conducted during reading week.
  • Successful USRI student applicants will complete the FHS USRI application with their supervisor by Friday, March 8th 2024 (see MATCHED STUDENT-SUPERVISOR PAIRINGS tab).

Matched Student-Supervisor Pairings

  • Student-Supervisor pairings that have been identified through other means can apply directly to the FHS USRI competition and do not need to follow the Student-Supervisor Matching Support steps described above.
  • All Student-Supervisor teams will prepare the application together through the following form, which includes a 250-word research activity plan with a timeline.
  • Applications must be submitted by the supervisor by Friday, March 8th 2024.

Application Form

  • To be submitted by the Supervisor
  • Application must include a research activity plan with timeline (250 words)
  • Deadline to submit application form: Wednesday, March 8, 2024
  • Please complete the Microsoft Forms FHS USRI Application Form 2024 (uwo credentials required): https://forms.office.com/r/XmGfMNySEf

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a student submit a USRI application?

No. Only supervisors are allowed to submit a USRI application.

Can a student who is not currently enrolled in a FHS program apply for a FHS USRI?

Students are not allowed to submit a USRI application. However, FHS supervisors can submit a USRI application for a student not enrolled at FHS.

I have a student at another institution who would like to work with me this summer. Is this student eligible to apply?

USRIs are reserved for students registered in an undergraduate program at Western in 2023. Preference will be given to students who are planning to return to Western in the subsequent Fall semester whether as an undergraduate student or graduate student.

I have a 4th-year student who would like to apply for this opportunity. Would they be eligible?

Yes, although preference will be given to students who expect to enroll in the subsequent Fall semester (as an undergraduate or graduate student).

Will students be taxed on this funding?

The award is categorized as a fellowship and will be reported to the student on a T4A tax slip (non- employment income) at the end of 2023. There are no statutory deductions required to be withheld from the payments.

What is an individual learning and development plan?

A template will be provided which outlines the program requirements. The learning and development plan will help guide the goals for the summer and will encourage students to think about how to integrate what they learn in the workshops into their research output. The learning plan will establish an agreement between the student and faculty supervisor concerning expectations of research activity, attendance, communication, and the final research output.

Can a faculty mentor oversee more than one USRI award?

Yes, a supervisor can oversee more than one student or USRI project during the summer program.

Can a student hold more than one USRI award?

An undergraduate student can only hold one USRI award during the summer. However, the program welcomes returning students who participated in previous summers.

As a supervisor, do I have to attend the EDI-D workshop?

The EDI-D workshops are not mandatory but given the importance of EDI-D among research funders and the critical contribution to research creativity and excellence, participation is strongly encouraged.

I supervise other undergraduate students who are not USRI students. Are they allowed to participate in the professional development workshops?

Undergraduate students working through other summer research opportunities offered at Western are welcome to register for any USRI workshops being offered.