Before applying for the Summer Student Research Program, students must establish a research supervisor. It is up to the student to contact potential supervisors. 

Researchers may commit to students well before the application deadline; therefore it is strongly recommended that applicants initiate this process as early as possible. 

How do I find a research supervisor? 

Step 1: Review the research themes

We have four research themes: Childhood Diseases, Brain, Behaviour & Development, Healthy Starts and Evidence to Innovation. Within each theme, we have specialized research groups that focus on key research areas. Review the groups onsite and determine where your research interests fit. 

Step 2: Identify potential supervisors

Once you have established your research area, browse the profiles of BC Children's Hospital Research Investigators (you can use the drop-down to display investigators by theme). Create a shortlist of potential research supervisors with research interests similar to your own. 

Typically, the majority of summer students had no prior contact with a research supervisor before they first reached out. Other ways that past summer students had secured a research supervisor include the following:

  • They were already working with the research team (as a direct studies student, volunteer, work learn student or co-op student)
  • They knew the supervisor previously (usually from a university course or from working/volunteering at BC Children’s Hospital)
  • They were recommended by a peer or program advisor
  • They were directly recruited or applied to a posted position

Step 3: Make a connection

Reach out to potential research supervisors with the contact information listed on their investigator profiles. 

Please note, to be eligible a BCCHR Summer Studentship the primary supervisor must be a BCCHR Investigator at BC Children’s Hospital whose area of investigation has direct relevance to improving the health of children and families. Affiliate Investigators are not eligible as per the BCCHR membership guidelines.

When contacting potential research supervisors, it is important to make a good first impression. We recommend the following:

  • Introduce yourself, your academic credentials and your work experiences
  • Do your research! Review the potential supervisors' interests and how they align with your own research interests/goals. Why do you find that particular research area interesting? Why do you think they would make a good fit as your supervisor? Be sure to tell them all this!
  • If you already have funding, specify the source, value and duration
  • Consider attaching your Common CV, resume or transcript so they can refer to your academic history. You could also provide an overview of your research interests, activities and scholarly publications
  • Offer to meet with the research team (in-person or remotely) to continue the discussion
  • Lastly, don’t forget about general email etiquette! Emails should use proper, professional and respectful language

What should you avoid? A generic email introduction copied and pasted to dozens of supervisors onsite. Supervisors are looking for a personalized introduction, so you need to demonstrate why you’re passionate about working with them specifically.

No response? It is important to remember that many researcher supervisors onsite are extremely busy, so you may not always get a response. On average, BCCHR Investigators are contacted by 8-13+ students for summer research opportunities alone (2020 summer students indicated they reached out to approximately 10-20 potential supervisors). 

When polled, BCCHR supervisors ranked the following priorities when selecting a summer student:

  1. Scholarly achievement
  2. Interpersonal skills
  3. Passion for the subject matter
  4. Communication skills
  5. Previous research experience
  6. Demonstrated research skills and abilities

Step 4: Finalize expectations

Once the supervisor has agreed to have you as part of the research team, remember to discuss expectations before your finalize your decision.

  • Establish the working expectations: start/end date, working hours, funding source, etc.
  • Determine the research expectations: research project, general duties, frequency of student-supervisor meetings/support and communications, etc.

Step 5: Submit the program application