PURE Awards

Experience research outside the classroom

Applications for PURE awards closed on February 8, 2019.

PURE awards provide financial support to University of Calgary undergraduates to conduct research for 8, 12 or 16 weeks between May and August, making it possible for students to work with University of Calgary researchers to learn how research projects are developed and conducted, and how research results can contribute to new knowledge and solve problems in a field of research and in society.

In addition to PURE awards, the consolidated application for summer research funding includes: Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI), the Alberta Cancer Foundation (ACF), Alberta Innovates (AI), the Alberta Transplant Institute (ATI), O’Brien Centre Summer Studentships (OCSS), and the Libin Cardiovascular Health Research award.

For questions about the consolidated research awards application portal, please email summerstudent@ucalgary.ca; for questions about PURE awards, please contact pure@ucalgary.ca.

Thank you for your interest in the PURE Awards. The application for summer 2019 research studentships is now closed.

Past Recipients

PURE Award Winners for 2018

2018 recipients

PURE Award Winners for 2017

2017 recipients

PURE Award Winners for 2016

2016 recipients

PURE Award Winners for 2015

2015 recipients

Frequently Asked Questions

As a research-intensive university, the University of Calgary provides unique learning opportunities for undergraduate students to go beyond being “consumers of knowledge” and to be actively involved in creating new knowledge and applying existing knowledge in new ways. The integration of teaching and research features prominently in the “Eyes High” vision for our University community and the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) reflects that commitment.

While research opportunities are available through students' course work, the University believes that qualified undergraduate students should also have the opportunity to experience research outside the classroom. Especially important are opportunities that provide extensive periods of time to focus on research projects of interest to the student and that fit into existing research activities in the University.

Students may apply for a PURE Interfaculty Award with

  1. A supervisor in their home faculty; or
  2. A supervisor in a different faculty (an Interfaculty Award).

PURE Awards are designed to make it possible for undergraduate students to work with University of Calgary researchers to learn how research projects are developed and conducted, and how research results can contribute to new knowledge and to solving problems in a field of research and in society. Each PURE learning experience is a unique opportunity to develop research skills, but also to explore personal research interests, and develop the abilities to collaborate, think critically and creatively, and communicate. The PURE Award experience will enrich and extend undergraduate learning at the University of Calgary, and is particularly advantageous to those students who are intending to pursue graduate studies. However, as research skills are highly transferable to many professions, the PURE experience will be beneficial to all students. Applications from students in the early stages of their programs are strongly encouraged.

  • Awards will be available for periods of 16 weeks, 12 weeks, or 8 weeks between May and August. Sixteen-week awards are in the amount of $6,000, 12-week awards in the amount of $4,500, and 8-week awards in the amount of $3,000.
  • Students must make a full-time commitment to their research during the period of the PURE award.
  • No academic course credit will be awarded for work funded by the PURE.
  • PURE proposals must originate with and be drafted chiefly by the student applicant.
  • Students who decline a PURE award may claim credit for an award on their curriculum vitae, noting that the award was declined.
  • Students offered a PURE award will be required to accept or decline the offer by a date specified in the notification of the offer.

PURE award holders may not simultaneously hold any relevantly similar award, such as the Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP) in Health and Wellness, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards for research in the natural sciences and engineering, O'Brien Centre Awards (with the exception of travel awards), Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Summer Studentships for medical or health research.

Research funded by a PURE award must comply with all University of Calgary guidelines concerning the conduct of research. In particular, all research that involved the use of human subjects must be reviewed and certified as acceptable by the appropriate University Research Ethics Board, and any research involving animals must be certified by the appropriate Animal Care Committee. The responsibility for adherence to these guidelines is jointly shared by the supervisor and recipient.

To be eligible to apply for a PURE award, students must:

  • Be currently enrolled as a full-time, undergraduate student at the University of Calgary. Students who plan to graduate in June, are NOT eligible for a PURE Award.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 in his/her current program

To demonstrate an applicant's eligibility, unofficial transcripts are accepted from his / her "myUofC" account: see FAQ Grades.

For common questions about eligibility, please view PURE FAQs - Eligibility.

  • Student applications are due on Feb. 8, 2019.
  • Supervisors comments are due on Feb. 15, 2019.

For questions about the application process, please view PURE FAQs - Application Process.

Please submit the student application and supervisor evaluation using the online system.

Student Application

  • Apply Online (use your UC username and password to log in to the online system)

Supervisor's comments are due Feb. 15, 2019.

Your supervisor is asked to submit an evaluation form. Your supervisor will not be able to complete his/her evaluation until after you complete your online form. Your supervisor will receive an e-mail notification informing him/her that you have submitted your report. Therefore, it is critical that you consult with your supervisor before the submission deadline so that s/he will have time to complete the evaluation.

Please do not submit any additional documents with your application other than what is asked for in the application directions. If you wish to have any supplemental information considered as part of your application, please give it to your supervisor who can consider it as part of his / her evaluation of your application.

For common questions about the application process, please view PURE FAQs - Application Process.

For common questions about the application form, transcripts and GPA calculations, please view PURE FAQs - Application Form.

PURE applications will be evaluated according to a rubric (link is external) that includes an assessment of:

  • The overview / abstract of the proposal
  • The creativity of the research question or method
  • The potential benefit to student
  • Relevant experience

The primary adjudication of PURE proposals is done by faculty-based committees. Each PURE application is reviewed independently by two faculty members who have a relevant area of expertise. Based on these reviews, all of the PURE proposals are ranked and submitted to a University wide committee that uses the Faculty-based assessments in determining the PURE recipients. Decisions of the committee are final and cannot be appealed.

PURE award holders are to conduct their research in a safe and ethical manner under the guidance and mentorship of their supervisors. During the period of the award they are to maintain regular working hours, unless otherwise agreed to by their supervisor. In no case should PURE students work more than an average of 35 hours per week. They are expected to follow the procedures and rules of the research environment in which they conduct their research, and interact regularly with their supervisor. They are to write a report at the end of their award period, and ensure it meets the expectations of PURE and of the supervisor. Failure to submit a final report could make students ineligible for future awards.

The supervisor of a PURE award holder is expected to mentor and support the student, providing an opportunity for the student to learn and develop research skills. The supervisor is to ensure the student can conduct their research experience in a safe and ethical environment, following procedures and rules of the University of Calgary, and if applicable those of the specific research environment in which the student is engaged. The supervisor is to meet regularly with the student, and provide regular feedback and support to the student and the student's research project. The supervisor is to review and approve the student's final PURE report to ensure the report adequately explains the award holder's research successes and challenges.

For common questions about research project supervision, please view PURE FAQ - Research Project Supervision.

PURE award holders must file a report summarizing the results of their research by September 29, 2019. Details on the submission process will be communicated in June 2019.

This report should be no more than five typed, double-spaced pages in length, including appendices. The report should include a description of the project and results, what the student gained from the experience, and what, if anything, was published.

PURE award holders are strongly encouraged to participate in the Fall 2019 University of Calgary Student's Union (SU) Undergraduate Research Symposium. All PURE award holders will be contacted in the summer and fall with details on the SU Undergraduate Research Symposium.

For common questions about the final report, please view PURE FAQ - Final Report.

All research that involves the use of human participants, animal care and use, and the handling and storage of bio-hazard materials must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate University Board or Committee before the research may commence.

The University of Calgary has two human research ethics boards, three animal care committees and one biosafety committee.

Human Research Ethics Boards:

Human research ethics applications are submitted electronically via the Institutional Research Information Services Solution website. Please contact the proper REB Administrators listed below for more information.

  • The Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board (CHREB) reviews and approves research projects conducted by researchers affiliated with the University of Calgary’s Faculties of Medicine, Kinesiology and Nursing (e.g., use of facilities/resources, patients, staff and/or conducted by faculty, staff or students). The CHREB is also required to review projects that will utilize personal health information undertaken by affiliates of the University of Calgary, regardless of their Faculty affiliation. Contact Information: chreb@ucalgary.ca(link sends e-mail)
  • The Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board (CFREB) primarily reviews and approves research projects conducted by researchers in all other faculties. Research carried out by undergraduate students for course projects is normally reviewed by the student’s Faculty or Department ethics committee where such exist (e.g., the Faculty of Arts Research Ethics Committee) and not by the CFREB. However, if an undergraduate student is conducting research under the supervision of a faculty member (e.g., an honours thesis or directed study; a student with a PURE award or Markin award) and the research is directly related to the faculty member’s research program, then the faculty member would either 1) submit a regular application to the CFREB for ethics review and identify the student’s role in the application, or 2) submit a Modification to an existing CFREB-approved application to add the student to the research team. Contact Information: cfreb@ucalgary.ca(link sends e-mail)

Please Note: Graduate and undergraduate students must complete the Tri-Councils' Course on Research Ethics (CORE) tutorial in order to be a co-applicant on an ethics application (as a member of the research team or as a masters/doctoral thesis student pursuing supervised research). Students must upload their CORE certification into the IRISS application before the REBs can approve the application. Applications can take at least 6 weeks from submission to approval.

Animal Care Committees (ACC):

An approved animal use protocol is required for the use of vertebrate animals, and cephalopod invertebrates, in research, teaching and testing. The student cannot submit a proposal to an Animal Care Committee; only faculty members can hold Animal Care Committee certifications. It is highly recommended that students look for a supervisor that already has an existing approved animal use protocol on which the student can be added. If this is not possible, an appropriate ethics approval will need to be granted by an ACC through the regular approval processes (1-3 months).

Animal use protocols are submitted electronically via the Institutional Research Information Services Solution website. Please contact the proper ACC Protocol Administrators listed below for more information.

  • Life and Environmental Sciences Animal Care Committee (LESACC) reviews animal care and use applications for all research, teaching and testing conducted on the main campus. The LESACC also reviews any animal-based research, teaching or testing undertaken off campus by faculty from main campus, or by faculty from other institutions using University of Calgary field facilities (excluding activities related to UCVM). Contact information: lesacc@ucalgary.ca(link sends e-mail)
  • Health Sciences Animal Care Committee (HSACC) reviews animal care and use applications for all research, teaching and testing conducted in the Health Sciences Complex. The HSACC also reviews any animal-based research, teaching or testing undertaken off campus by members of the Faculty of Medicine. Contact information: hsacc@ucalgary.ca(link sends e-mail)
  • Vet Sciences Animal Care Committee (VSACC) reviews animal care and use applications for all teaching involving UCVM students or facilities plus all research and testing conducted by anyone at the Spy Hill campus. The VSACC also reviews any animal-based research or testing undertaken off-campus by UCVM faculty or students. Members of the larger Veterinary community of UCVM should also choose this committee. Contact information: vsacc@ucalgary.ca(link sends e-mail)

Biosafety Committee:

Biohazards are pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, viruses & fungi), potentially infections materials (blood, cell lines and prions) as well as microbial toxins (pertussis, botulinum toxin). A Biosafety Permit is required prior to use and storage of biohazards. For more information please contact: biosafety.officer@ucalgary.ca

Results of the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) summer studentship competition will be available approximately 6 to 8 weeks after the last application deadline. Candidates will be informed by email regarding the outcome of their submission. Successful applicants will be required to formally indicate their acceptance of the award. Please note that all candidates applying for Alberta Innovates, PURE, and O’Brien Centre Summer Studentship awards apply through a common system and will only receive ONE (1) offer of award if successful.

If you have questions about the 2019 PURE awards, please contact pure@ucalgary.ca.

For general questions, please see PURE FAQ - General Questions