Graduate Student Initiative Fund

The Graduate Student Initiative Fund is for two kinds of graduate student projects:

I. CAREER/EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES (up to $1000)

These initiatives aim to improve and enhance the graduate learning environment and to lead to effective change. Initiatives related to teaching and learning are encouraged, however all ideas that seek to improve the graduate student experience in the Faculty of Medicine will be considered.

Eligibility:

  • The primary applicant must be submitted by a registered graduate student in the UBC Faculty of Medicine. Groups of students are encouraged to apply, but one student must be the primary applicant;
  • The proposal must have a Faculty Sponsor (see Guidelines and FAQs), who is responsible for reviewing the proposal prior to submission, providing a letter of support for the proposal, and being available to students for consultation if the proposal is successful;
  • The proposal must be innovative and should cross disciplinary boundaries;
  • The proposal must have clearly stated goal(s), a feasible timeline, and budget;
  • The fund is limited to one-time-only;
  • The fund cannot be used for projects that are carried out for course credit (including thesis work).

Application:

A complete application includes:

  • A detailed proposal for the initiative (2 pages maximum). The proposal should indicate how the proposal fulfills the Graduate Student Initiative Fund objectives and eligibility criteria, and it should outline it’s potential impact to the graduate learning environment;
  • An itemized breakdown of expenses (1 page maximum). The budget should also indicate any other sources of funding, including requests for matching funds (e.g. department donations or fundraising initiatives);
  • Two to four letters of support from faculty, staff, alumni, students or community members. The Faculty Sponsor for the initiative must provide one letter of support.

Applications are submitted online.

II. RESEARCH-PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVES  (up to $3000)

These initiatives seek to link Faculty of Medicine research-based graduate students with UBC-affiliated Clinical Collaborators to engage in innovative and unique translational research projects with no independent source of funding.

Eligibility:

  • The applicant must be a registered research-based graduate student in the UBC Faculty of Medicine;
  • The proposal must be supported by the graduate student’s supervisor, who will provide a letter of support for the proposal, and will agree to being available to student for consultation if the proposal is successful;
  • The research project must have no independent source of funding;
  • The proposal must be innovative and should cross disciplinary boundaries;
  • The proposal must have clearly stated goal(s), a feasible timeline, and budget;
  • The fund cannot be used for projects that are carried out for course credit (including thesis work);
  • Funds must be used for research equipment, research supplies and/or research services (e.g. cost of recovery payments to core equipment or access to databases).

Application:

A complete application includes:

  • A detailed proposal for the initiative (2 pages maximum). The proposal should indicate how the proposal fulfills the Graduate Student Initiative Fund objectives and eligibility criteria, outline it’s potential impact as an innovative research project, and be signed by both the graduate student and the UBC-affiliated Clinical Collaborator;
  • An itemized breakdown of expenses (1 page maximum). The budget should also indicate any other sources of funding, including requests for matching funds (e.g. department donations or fundraising initiatives);
  • Two letters of support, one from the graduate student’s supervisor and one from department / program chair (or equivalent) of the UBC-affiliated Clinical Collaborator.

Applications are submitted online.

DEADLINE

November 15 and April 15. Late applications will not be accepted.

Please refer to the Guidelines and FAQs for more information.

FUNDED PROJECTS

Educational Initiative: Three graduate students from the Neuroscience Graduate Student Association were successful in their application for funding for their proposed online communication platform: Brain Bytes. Brain Bytes is described as an “online knowledge dissemination tool” and is being created to allow graduate students to engage with the public in scientific discourse, educate the general public about science, and allow graduate students to learn about current values and preconceived notions about science, ultimately with the goal of bridging the gap between scientists and the general public. Graduate students will also have the unique opportunity to collaborate with students from the UBC School of Journalism program, which will also be involved in the program development, furthering the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration in this project. This project is expected to go live in 2018.

 

Career Initiative: The Association of Population and Public Health Students was successful in their application for funding for Career Planning Programming for the students that they serve. This programming included several workshops focused on developing skills pertinent to building a public health career in both academic and non-academic settings, including job searching, resume writing, poster design, and networking. The workshop series concluded with a School of Population and Public Health Soiree, in which alumni currently employed in a variety of public health sectors presented their career paths and met with current students in order to discuss interdisciplinary and non-traditional careers.

 

Educational Initiative: The Neuroscience Graduate Student Association was successful in acquiring funding for their “Neuroscience Through the Ages” seminar series, which will present the history and fundamentals of neuroscience in an interesting and accessible manner. A collaborating student and faculty member will be involved in summarizing the key papers, findings, debates, and methodological advances of specific historical researchers across many decades. This information will be made publicly available through an online interactive timeline and public events. The integrative approach of both public events/lectures and an online interactive timeline aims to explore the rich past of neuroscience research, which has laid the foundation for current techniques and research questions. By bringing past research to the forefront, participants will be better equipped to digest the findings and significance of current neuroscience publications, as well as gain an understanding of the importance of ongoing basic and clinical research to address the multitude of unanswered questions that remain.

 

Career Initiative: The Rehabilitation Sciences Executive Committee was successful in acquiring funding for their Rehabilitation Sciences Career Workshop Series, which worked to expose current students to common non-academic career pathways taken by Rehabilitation Sciences program graduates with training in clinical research. This workshop series provided a venue for graduate students to learn about alternate career pathways, tailored towards UBC Faculty of Medicine students with rehabilitation-relevant graduate degrees, as well as students in other programs who will be pursuing careers in the healthcare sector. This workshop connected graduate students to leaders outside of the university, who shared their personal experience and advice on how to prepare for post-graduate careers, and it strengthened ties between the UBC Rehabilitation Sciences program and their alumni network.

 

 

 

Educational Initiative: The SciCATS Team—comprised of professors, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from various programs within the Faculty of Medicine as well as the Faculties of Education, Interdisciplinary Studies and Science—successfully obtained funding to help develop their training program. The SciCATS program provides open access, modular science communication training through in-person workshops and online videos. This program is designed to facilitate effective science communication , an essential component to being a  successful scientist as well as to communicating scientific findings with the general public. To learn more about SciCats, visit: http://scicats.org/.

 

Career Initiative: Graduates from the Cell Biology and Physiology Graduate Society (CPhyGS) were successful in their application for funding a re imagining of their existing event “Careers Night.” This event allows for professional development through networking and the cultivation of a sense of community among graduate students. Noticing a lack of interdisciplinarity in their event, the students decided to work towards bringing together more diverse career and industry mentors in the hope that it would attract a more diverse population of students. With the newly revamped Careers Night, the students provided better support for Faculty of Medicine graduate students in their pursuit of career development. More than this, they helped to connect students with industry partners and mentors, exposing them to new job options and employment opportunities.

 

 

Educational Initiative: The graduate student organizers of new Journal Club: “Cells meet Cognition” were successful in their application for funding. This journal club seeks to unite human and animal neuroscience research labs at UBC through facilitating monthly one hour meetings on diverse topics. The model of the club pairs a researcher from human neuroscience with one from animal neuroscience investigating a similar research question to allow for innovative conversation. By providing a platform for knowledge exchange and discussion,”Cells meet Cognition” bridges the gap between animal and human Neuroscience research. If you are interested in joining the Journal Club, please contact the organizers at cellsmeetcognition@gmail.com.

 

Educational Initiative: Members of the Neuroscience Graduate Student Association were successful in their application for funding for their online video series “BrainBoards.” This project involves producing a series of online videos meant to bridge communication between medical researchers and the general public. Each video in the series is presented using white-board animations and narrated by two UBC Neuroscience graduate student researchers, one of whom is engaged in clinical research while the other pursues foundational science. As a frame for this information, a journalist narrates current and important findings in neuroscience, highlighting broad implications, and limitations, of the current field. Ultimately, Brain Boards seeks to not just facilitate unidirectional communication by researchers to the lay public, but also provide a venue by which members of the public can in turn provide feedback on neuroscience research as it develops. The videos are all live and constantly being updated, and can be accessed by visiting their YouTube channel.

 

Research-Partnership Initiative: Yuan Chao Tim Xue, a PhD student in the Pathology & Laboratory Medicine graduate program, was successful in his application for funding to facilitate collaboration with a Clinical Scientist at the BC Center for Excellence, a Clinical Microbiologist and a Medical Microbiologist at the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). This collaborative project engaged in the development of next generation sequencing (NGS) as a tool for diagnosing viral genetic materials in clinical cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from individuals diagnosed with neurodegenerative conditions. The collaborators decided to tackle the challenge of diagnosing viral infections because of the dangers it poses by potentially altering neurons (leading to neuronal dysfunctions and potential neurological disorders). NGS reduces labour time and cost, and diminishes the number of pathogen variants that may escape the typical diagnostic techniques, and as such, is a superior alternative to diagnosing viral infections in human CSF; they hope that their preliminary results can help guide future studies.

 

 

Contact

Please contact the Graduate & Postdoctoral Research Coordinator at med.research@ubc.ca if you have any questions regarding the Graduate Student Initiative Fund.