Undergraduate Summer Student Health Research Award: Computational Biology (2014)

Important Dates
February 26, 2014 Full applications must be submitted by this date
April 1, 2014 Anticipated notification of decision
May 1, 2014 Funding start date


It is widely recognized that the quantitative and computational sciences are vital to many areas of contemporary biological research, such as genomics, molecular modeling, structural biology and systems biology.

Computational biology is a broad field that lies at the intersection of three large and rapidly changing disciplines, biology, computer science and mathematics. The purpose of this funding opportunity is to provide undergraduate students in the life sciences, mathematics and computer sciences with an opportunity to undertake computational biology health-related research projects with established researchers in an environment that provides strong mentorship. Examples of potential research activities falling within the scope of this program include the development of new algorithms, databases, and visualization systems and application of data mining and machine learning techniques to solve biological problems.

Funds Available

CIHR and external partner(s) financial contributions for this initiative are subject to availability of funds. Should CIHR or external partner(s) funding levels not be available or are decreased due to unforeseen circumstances, CIHR and partner(s) reserve the right to reduce, defer or suspend financial contributions to grants received as a result of this funding opportunity.

  • The total amount available for this funding opportunity is $100,000, enough to fund approximately 20 awards. This amount available to support the program may increase if additional funding partners participate.
  • The award consists of a stipend.
    • The maximum CIHR-IG stipend contribution per award is $5,000 for up to four months.
    • An additional 25 percent (at minimum) above the CIHR-IG stipend contribution (i.e., $1,250 or more) must be secured from other sources by the supervisor(s), such as university funds, CIHR and/or NSERC grants, or any other research funds.


The specific objectives of this funding opportunity are to:

  • provide quantitative and computational science undergraduate students exposure to relating biological processes to computational models
  • encourage undergraduate students early in their academic training to pursue studies in computational biology in the area of health research


Eligibility criteria for all CIHR research funding programs apply. The business office of the institution of an eligible Nominated Principal Applicant generally administers CIHR funds. Refer to the Individual Eligibility Requirements regarding the eligibility requirements for individuals and institutions.

For your application to be eligible:

  1. The Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) must be a Trainee. The Trainee must meet the following requirements:
    1. enrollment in an undergraduate degree program in mathematics, physics, computer science, life sciences, or a related field at a Canadian university at the time of application
    2. be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada at the time of application
    3. have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of university study (or two academic terms) associated with a bachelor's degree by the funding start date
  2. A Primary Supervisor must be identified on the application. An additional co-Supervisor may be identified.

Training must be done under the supervision of at least one faculty member who holds a CIHR and/or CIHR-NSERC partnered program research grant (e.g., Open Operating, Collaborative Health Research Projects, etc) during the tenure of the award.

If a Supervisor is affiliated with more than one application, each application must contain a separate and distinct research project.

Conditions of Funding

Successful applicants funded through this funding opportunity and any other persons working on the project must comply fully with the CIHR Funding Policies. Policies and guidelines cover areas such as Applicant Responsibilities, Official Languages policy, Access to Information and Privacy Acts, and Acknowledgement of CIHR's Support. Successful applicants will be informed of any special financial requirements prior to the release of funds or when they receive CIHR's Authorization for Funding (AFF) document.

Communication Requirements

Award recipients are required to acknowledge CIHR, its institutes and partners in any communication or publication related to the project. See Communication of Competition Results for details on CIHR's communication requirements. The contributing institutes/partners will be identified on the Authorization for Funding (AFF) and decision letter.

Review Process and Evaluation

Applications will be reviewed by the CIHR-IG Computational Biology Undergraduate Summer Student Review Committee, which will make every effort to include expertise in the relevant mathematical, computer science and life science disciplines.

Eligible applications will be evaluated using the following review criteria:

  • Academic excellence and research aptitude of the student
  • Excellence of the research project and fit to research objectives described above, including relevance to health research
  • Quality of the mentoring plan
  • Suitability of the supervisor and appropriateness of the student for the award and training plan

Applications will be funded from the top down in order of ranking as far as budgets will allow. Applications that receive a rating below 3.5 will not be funded.

How to Apply

A complete application consists of:

  • A "Personal Free Form CV" is required for the undergraduate trainee and is limited to 3 pages. The "Personal Free Form CV" is not created through the Common CV system.
  • Common CV Module (validated for CIHR) for the Primary Supervisor and, if applicable, the Co-Supervisor.
  • A signed letter of up to three pages from the supervisor, co-signed by the trainee, outlining the research project/activities of candidate as well as the mentoring plan described in detail, including confirmation of the supplement funding (and its source).
  • Official transcripts of the candidate's complete academic record to date.
  • Proof of Canadian citizenship or permanent residency.
The application submission process has two steps:
  1. Email a copy of the completed application to jennifer.ahlgren@cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

  2. Mail one signed copy of the completed application to the following address:

    RE: " Undergraduate Summer Student Award: Computational Biology"

    Attention: Jennifer Ahlgren
    CIHR Institute of Genetics
    160 Elgin Street 10th Floor
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0W9

Date modified: