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Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) 2015


The Institute of Medical Science (IMS) has an exceptional Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). Dr. Vasundara Venkateswaran serves as the Director of the program since 2010. This program provides an opportunity for undergraduate B.Sc. and medical students to become involved in projects relating to biomedical research. Projects range across a broad spectrum of disciplines, from molecular biology and cognitive science to clinical investigation and bioethics.


Participants selected for the program spend 3 months in the summer (June-August) in a laboratory or clinical setting, working on a research project. During this time students are encouraged to participate in laboratory meetings, data analysis, journal clubs, and/or appropriate clinical research rounds at the affiliated teaching hospitals. In addition, the IMS offers weekly seminars rendered by eminent researchers from the University of Toronto.

The summer research program concludes with Research Day in mid-August where students are given the opportunity to showcase their research findings through oral or poster presentations. Highlights of the Research Day include several awards for excellence in research presentation including a certificate of participation.

The Summer Undergraduate Research Program is a wonderful opportunity and a great platform for students to work with distinguished faculty members, develop sound research methodologies and experience excellent mentorship. Click here for information about past year’s programs.


Participants in the IMS Summer Student Program must be enrolled in medical school or pursuing an undergraduate science degree program. Undergraduate applicants must have an average of B+ Cumulative GPA (3.3/4.0 or 77%) or higher. Participants who apply for IMS funding must hold a Cumulative GPA of A- (3.7 GPA, 80% or First Class Distinction) or higher. Medical student applicants must be in good standing as determined by their school registrar.

Students are required to initiate their own student/supervisor match. A list of faculty recruiting students is available below. Students who are able to secure a supervisor but whose applications do not meet the minimum eligibility requirements will not be considered for funding.

Supervisor Match

A listing of faculty recruiting students for the 2015 program is available via this link.

Program Duration

The program runs for a period of 12 weeks (June 1 - August 21, 2015).  Students are expected to be present for the complete duration of the program.

International Student Application Process

The International program is a wonderful opportunity for students from around the world to gain hands-on research experience at the University of Toronto.  The International program is available to undergraduate or medical students who are not Canadian Citizens or permanent residents and do not have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).  The IMS accommodates a limited number of International students each year.

Application for the 2015 summer program is now available.  The application package consists of:

1. SURP 2015 International Student Information Package

2. International Agreement

3. International Student Application Form


Domestic Student Application Process

Domestic Applications is now available and can be accessed via this link.

The domestic application process applies to students who:

  • are Canadian Citizens or permanent residents
  • have valid SIN #


The following funding options are available to domestic students accepted to the program:

OPTION #1: External funding. The student funds their summer research through an external grant or award. The IMS office does not administer this option. For possible sources of external funding visit the Faculty of Medicine, Research Office.

OPTION #2: Full funding from the supervisor. The supervisor funds the student through an operating grant, affiliated research facility funds etc. This option is at the sole discretion of the supervisor. The IMS office does not administer this option.

OPTION #3: Joint funding. 50% funding provided by the supervisor, 50% funding provided by the IMS. IMS funding is subject to availability. This option is a competitive process and not guaranteed.

For more information please contact Elena Gessas

November 2014

  • Student identifies possible sources of external funding
  • Student identifies area of research interest

December 2014 / January 2015/ February 2015

  • Student orders transcripts or institutional grade results to submit electronically with application. Institutional grade results must have departmental seal, stamp or signature to verify authenticity. **Medical students should provide a letter of good standing issued by their registrar, in lieu of a transcript **
  • Consult list of SURP potential supervisors. Contact supervisors to discuss possibility of placement and funding strategies.
  • With supervisor, complete Domestic SURP application form.
  • Submit electronic SURP application with all supporting documents, to the IMS by Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 5:00 pm to Hard-copy and handwritten applications will not be accepted.

May 2015

  • Student is notified of application results
  • Student receives funding results (if applicable)

June 2015

  • SURP program orientation
  • Start of SURP program

August 2015

  • SURP Research Day