2024 HBHL Undergraduate Summer Research Internship


Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives (HBHL) is a high-profile, high-priority multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral initiative located at McGill University made possible with support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), Quebec’s Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation (MEI), and the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQS, FRQSC and FRQNT). HBHL builds on McGill’s scientific excellence and global leadership in areas of neuroscience that hold the greatest promise for delivering implementable, clinically effective outcomes in brain and mental health.

HBHL values creating experiences for students at all levels to get involved in brain health research. As such, we are pleased to announce the creation of a new HBHL funding initiative to support McGill undergraduate students in gaining hands-on research experience.

HBHL highly encourages individuals from equity-deserving backgrounds who are underrepresented in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to apply. HBHL welcomes and encourages applications from individuals belonging to racialized communities, women, gender minorities, individuals with disabilities, 2SLGBTQIA+ students, Indigenous students, first-generation students, primary caregivers and students from lower-income backgrounds. We also welcome applications from all eligible applicants with the skills and knowledge to engage productively with diverse communities.

Key Dates

Monday, February 5, 2024 Program launch date
Thursday, February 15, 2024 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. EST

A "Getting your Application Ready" Workshop (optional, online workshop led by HBHL Trainee Committee members) was held virtually on Thursday, February 15, 2024. 
Watch the Zoom recording and download the slides.

Sunday, March 3, 2024, 11:59 p.m. EST Due date for online submission of the full application package
March 2024 Applications are reviewed and the HBHL Trainee Committee makes selections
Mid-April 2024 Results announced
May 2024 Internships begin
August 2024 Internships end

Funding Value and Duration

HBHL will fund up to 20 undergraduate student research internships (valued at $10,000 each) in brain and mental health research. This funding will compensate students for their research (spanning 16 weeks between May 2024 to August 2024, flexible start date) and provide them with the opportunity to gain valuable research and networking experience. All funded projects must align with one of HBHL’s research themes.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for the HBHL Undergraduate Summer Research Internship Program, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Be a current full- or part-time non-graduating undergraduate McGill student (non-graduating means that your expected graduation date is December 2024 or later) from ANY faculty.
  2. Have not previously had a paid research experience.
  3. The proposed research project must be aligned with HBHL’s goals and objectives and align with at least one of HBHL’s four Research Themes.
  4. Prior to applying you must complete at least one of CIHR's Online Training Modules on Integrating Sex and Gender in Health Research (time required: 30-45 minutes) and submit your signed certificate of completion as part of your PDF application package (see below).

Supervisor Selection and Proposal Design

Before applying for the internship, you must contact the prospective supervisor(s) you are interested in working with. To assist you in this process and to help you identify prospective supervisors at McGill currently working in brain health, please refer to the HBHL's overview of funded projects and the Integrated Program in Neuroscience supervisor database. However, you are not restricted to prospective supervisors only from this list—it is simply a tool to help you in your search.

In addition, the HBHL Trainee Committee has put together a document including resources and a template email that applicants can refer to get assistance in reaching out to a prospective supervisor.

At the time of application, you must have:

  • A signed HBHL USRI 2024 Supervisor Agreement Form from a McGill faculty member who agrees to supervise you should you receive the internship funding.
  • A summer internship project proposal that fits into one of the four HBHL Research Themes:
    • Theme 1: Neuroinformatics and Computational Modelling
    • Theme 2: Mechanistic Models of Neurodegenerative Disorders
    • Theme 3: Applied Cognitive Neuroscience of Brain Plasticity
    • Theme 4: Population Neuroscience and Brain Health

Application Process

Applications must be submitted through the online submission form by Sunday, March 3, 2024, by 11:59 p.m. EST.

The application package must include:

  • Impact Statement
  • Proposed Research Summary
  • Supervisor Agreement Form
  • Research Ethics Training (CIHR Certificate)

Please see the section below for full details on the application package contents.

All applications must be submitted online through the Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship Application Form as a single PDF document. Please save the application document using the following file name format: “Lastname_Firstname.pdf” (eg., Smith_Jane or Smith_John). Documents must be typed in size 12 of any standard font with one-inch margins.

Application Package and Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by the HBHL Trainee Committee in accordance with the following criteria:

Impact Statement (maximum 500 words)

Discuss how this internship will support you in achieving your career goals.
For example, you may choose to discuss:

  • Your potential career interests (including academic and non-academic paths);
  • Skills you hope to gain through the internship and how they will support your education and career path;
  • Barriers that have impacted your access to and/or participation in education and career development opportunities (including but not limited to barriers related to personal circumstances and societal injustice);
  • Outcomes you hope to support through the proposed research; and/or
  • Anything else that demonstrates the value of this internship experience for you.

The Impact Statement counts for 50% of the total application grade, and will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Explanation of the benefit the internship will provide the applicant: 95% (This may include: career interests that are connected to the proposed research project, learning, skill development, breaking down barriers, personal development, how it will allow student to reach their short-term and long-term goals)
  • Quality of statement (e.g., clarity, grammar, used appropriate verb tense, easy to follow): 5%

Proposed Research Summary (maximum one page, not including references. No page restriction on references)

Describe the project you will work on during your internship. The proposed project must fall under one of the four HBHL Research Themes. The Proposed Research Summary counts for 50% of the total application grade, and must include:

  • A brief summary of literature in the field;
  • Rationale for the study, explaining why this study is novel and important in the context of previous work;
  • A clear hypothesis and aim;
  • A description of the proposed methods, with considerations of feasibility and connections to the rationale and aim;
  • Explanation of how equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) will be considered in the research design, as applicable (for example, testing for sex differences in a cellular or animal study; considerations in participant recruitment and integration of demographic data in a human study). If EDI is not applicable to your research project, you must provide an evidence-based justification; and
  • A reference list in APA 7th format.

This proposal will be graded on the following:

  • Structure (following page limit and guidelines): 0% (pass or fail)
  • Quality of proposal (clarity, defined all the acronyms, grammatically correct, sufficiently explained scientific terms, easy to follow): 5%
  • Understanding of existing literature (demonstrates that the student has explored existing research in their topic): 15%
  • Rationale for study (it is suggested to have a clear statement): 20%
  • Clear hypotheses and aims: 20%
  • Proposed methods (sufficiently detailed, feasible, understanding of recruitment if applicable, evidence of thought put into the design of analyses, connected to rationale and aims): 25%
  • Explanation of how equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) will be integrated into the study design: 15%

Please note that you will be asked to indicate in which of HBHL’s Research Themes your project fits best.

Supervisor Agreement Form (using the official form, completed by the proposed research supervisor)

The supervisor will: 

  • Indicate the HBHL research theme that best fits with their work;
  • State agreement to supervise the student applicant should the application be successful;
  • Indicate the name and year of graduation of a postdoc or PhD student who will serve as a mentor to the undergraduate student; and
  • State the percentage of the supervision the PI will be providing versus others such as a postdoc/PhD.

Please download and provide your prospective supervisor with the HBHL USRI 2024 Supervisor Agreement Form.

Research Ethics Training (CIHR Certificate)

Students must complete at least one of CIHR’s Online Training Modules on Integrating Sex and Gender in Health Research prior to submitting their application.

  • Please submit your certificate of completion: 0% (pass or fail)
  • Time estimate for completion: 30-45 minutes


I'm graduating in May 2024. Am I eligible to apply?

No, unfortunately this award is restricted to non-graduating students. Students must be returning, but do not need to be returning for a full year (i.e., they may be returning for only one semester).

I have previously been awarded a summer internship (e.g., NSERC). Am I eligible to apply?

No, unfortunately this award is restricted to students who have not previously engaged in paid research work.

I've previously held/currently hold a paid research position (e.g., RA). Am I eligible to apply?

No, unfortunately this award is restricted to students who have not previously engaged in paid research work.

I've previously worked as a paid research assistant during the school year (but not in the summer). Am I eligible to apply?

No, unfortunately this award is restricted to students who have not previously engaged in paid research work.

I've previously worked as a paid research assistant outside of McGill (e.g., in a hospital setting, internship, previous university, etc.). Am I eligible to apply?

No, unfortunately this award is restricted to students who have not previously engaged in paid research work.

I'm a student at another university in Montreal (e.g., Concordia, Université de Montréal). Am I eligible to apply?

No, unfortunately due to the nature of the funding source, this award is restricted to McGill students.

I'm an international student at McGill. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, all McGill students are eligible to apply.

How do I find a supervisor? Do they have to be at McGill? What happens if I can’t find one?

To help you identify prospective supervisors at McGill, please refer to the list of HBHL funded projects and the Integrated Program in Neuroscience Directory and their key research areas as a starting point to help you find a supervisor. While supervisors must be McGill faculty members, if a student is being co-supervised by another faculty member, only one of the supervisors must be at McGill. Please note that finding a professor who agrees to supervise you is not the only requirement and does not guarantee that you will receive funding. Additionally, we are not able to fund students who do not have a supervisor.

My research does not fit under one of the four HBHL Research Themes. Am I eligible?

No, only research projects aligning with one of HBHL’s four research themes will be selected.

Is funding restricted to students in a particular faculty or program?

No, funding is available to students from all undergraduate faculties and from any program (e.g., Psychology, Biology, Physiology, Physics, Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, etc.).

When will I find out if my application was successful? Will I be contacted if it's not?

Yes, all applicants will be contacted, whether their application is selected or not. Results will be announced in the spring of 2024.

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