Undergraduate Summer Research Internships (USRI)

Information for Faculty of Health Sciences Faculty Members and Students

The Western Undergraduate Summer Research Internships (USRIs) provides 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, assistance towards their research program and can use the opportunity to further a diverse HQP training environment.

The USRI program was originally launched in 2020 as a pilot program, and expanded to include professional development opportunities in summer 2021. Following the overwhelming success of the program in 2021, Western Research, in partnership with Student Experience and Western Libraries, is thrilled to offer the USRI fellows an expanded suite of professional development offerings. The professional development opportunities, which will 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, diversity, inclusion and decolonization (EDID) and much more. At the end of the summer, students will 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.

Student Objectives

  • Co-develop and execute a short-term research project, to be completed in the 16-week program time frame under the mentorship 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, will develop and produce a multimodal research output oriented to lay audiences. They can select the most appropriate format for their research output based on their summer research project
    • Options include, but are not limited to, infographic, research poster or other visual representation, blog, podcast, short video etc. Examples of previous research outputs can be viewed in Scholarship@Western: https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/usri/usri2021/researchoutputshowcase/
    • Research outputs will be shared during the end of summer virtual exhibition event (more details will be shared)
  • Participation in program evaluation (end of program surveys); note that this is a condition of funding.

Faculty Mentor/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 program evaluation (end of program surveys); note that this is a condition of funding
  • Participate in at least one EDID workshop presented by Mariam Hayward, Knowledge Exchange and Impact Manager, Western Research
  • Attendance at the virtual exhibition is highly encouraged and welcomed

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 creativity across Western

Value and Duration of Award

USRIs are valued at a minimum of $8,400 for a 16-week term through May to August 2022. Western will contribute $6,450 toward each Summer Internship with a required minimum match of $1,950 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 outlining hours per week to be agreed upon in the student’s individualized learning plan.

Faculty Allocation

FHS has been allocated 54 USRIs for 2022. Note that there will not be a separate allocation for cross-faculty applications, i.e., undergraduate students from a Faculty outside of FHS count as part of the FHS 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 (at the end of the summer) is a condition of funding.
  • Participation in at least one EDID workshop presented by Mariam Hayward, Knowledge Exchange and Impact Manager, Western Research is strongly recommended.
  • Participation in end-of-summer virtual student exhibition is encouraged and welcomed.


  • Faculties are encouraged to give preference in their adjudication of applications to students from under-represented groups, such as but not limited, to Black, Indigenous, students of color, students with disabilities, students who self-identify as LGBTQ2S+, students who are economically disadvantaged, and first-generation students.
  • Students must have been enrolled at Western in an undergraduate program in Winter 2022 and should be planning to attend Western in Fall 2022 as an undergraduate or graduate student.
  • Students must be available to participate in research activity as described in the proposal for 16 weeks between May 1 and August 31, 2022
    • Specific dates of research engagement to be determined collaboratively with the faculty supervisor through the individual learning plan.
  • Students will work with a faculty mentor to co-create a research project. The hours per week devoted to this work is based on scholarly outcomes. Vacation and sick days are not built into the internship and should be discussed with respective supervisors
  • Participation in program evaluation is a condition of funding.
  • Participation in program objectives is also a condition of the funding.

Key Dates

April 4: Deadline to submit applications to FHS using the Microsoft Forms Application Form
April 18: Notifications of FHS USRI awards
April 21: Deadline to accept FHS USRI offers
Week of May 2: FHS provides USRI list to Western Research
May: Start of Internships
Monthly: FHS provides updated list of continuing interns
August: End of Internships

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 USRIs and their supervisors. Students will be expected to attend a minimum of four workshops throughout the summer from the suite of offerings below. 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 equity, diversity, inclusion or decolonization 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

Workshops confirmed

Western Research

  • EDI-D
    • For undergraduate students
      • Accessibility, Accommodation, and Inclusion
      • Power Dynamics and Difficult Conversations
    • For Supervisors
      • Embedding EDI-D in Research
      • How to write a compelling and unbiased recommendation letter
  • Knowledge Exchange
  • Creating effective research posters
  • Developing resumes and/or CVs
  • Conducting ethical research with human participants

Western Libraries

  • Intro to literature searching and information evaluation
  • Organizing research with reference management tools
  • Intro to data handling with Excel
  • Using research software (e.g., NVivo, SPSS)
  • How to upload your work to Scholarship@Western
  • Copyright, how to use material, info, media etc. properly in presentations and papers
  • Introduction to GIS
  • Introduction to Story Maps
  • Finding statistical data sources

Applying for a USRI

Information for Supervisors

1. Supervisors Identify a Student:

  • Prospective supervisors are required to apply with an undergraduate student.
  • FHS supervisors who are seeking a student co-applicant have the option of soliciting expressions of interest from prospective students by posting a brief description of the proposed project and preferred skills through Western Connect under “FHS Research Postings”
    • See below in 'Information for Students' for more information.

2. Supervisor-Student Teams Develop and Submit a Proposal:

  • Research activity plans must adhere to current Western University guidance on research activities - https://www.uwo.ca/research/covid19_updates.html
  • All research proposals involving ethics (human participants) and/or animal subjects must be approved by the appropriate Western certification committee.
    • It is the faculty supervisor’s responsibility to ensure any disclosure of research output is within the bounds of their approved ethics.
  • Supervisors must complete the Microsoft Forms Application Form, which includes a 250 word research activity plan with timeline: https://forms.office.com/r/u3mCACZiqn
  • Applications must be submitted by the Supervisor by Monday, April 4 at 4:00 pm.

Information for Students

  • Students interested in participating in the program must have a prospective supervisor with whom they will submit a joint proposal.
  • Students who do not have a prospective supervisor can express interest by viewing opportunities in Western Connect (under “FHS Research Postings”) and connecting with the supervisor via the email address indicated in the posting.
  • After your proposed supervisor submits the application form, you will receive a student form soliciting further information about you (i.e. program, current year of study, Fall 2022 plans, Self-Identification option).

Application Form

  • To be submitted by the Supervisor
  • Application must include a research activity plan with timeline (250 words)
  • Deadline to submit application form: Monday, April 4 at 4:00 pm
  • Please complete the Microsoft Forms FHS USRI Application Form 2022 (uwo credentials required): https://forms.office.com/r/u3mCACZiqn

Frequently Asked Questions

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 2022. Preference will be given to students who are planning to return to Western in the Fall 2022 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 Fall 2022 semester (as an undergraduate or graduate student).

Will students be taxed on this funding?

The award is a fellowship and will be reported to the student on a T4A tax slip (non- employment income) at the end of 2022. There are no statutory deductions required to be withheld from the payments.

Will students be able to come to campus to do research?

The health and safety of our campus is a shared responsibility. We must take thoughtful and persistent steps to take care of ourselves, each other, and our community. Before coming on campus and while you are on campus, you are required to review the videos and follow the steps outlined on www.uwo.ca/coronavirus/faculty-staff.html which will be updated regularly as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.

Please also check for updates here: https://www.uwo.ca/research/covid19_updates.html

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.