Inspire Summer Studentships 

The Emerging and Pandemic Infections Consortium (EPIC) is strongly committed to building a diverse and inclusive infectious disease research community. We recognize that diversity strengthens the quality and impact of research by bringing multiple ideas and perspectives. 

The EPIC Inspire Summer Studentships will foster inclusive excellence by providing third-year Black and Indigenous undergraduate students with opportunities to engage in infectious disease research with and receive mentorship from EPIC’s faculty members. These awards aim to support Black and Indigenous students who are interested in infectious diseases and to create a more diverse talent pool for the next generation of infectious disease research leaders. Faculty members who supervise an EPIC Inspire Summer Student Fellow must also commit to supporting the student in continuing their work as a fourth-year thesis project, should the student choose to do so. 

We welcome applications from eligible students who may have already secured a summer research placement and from students who are interested but have not yet found a research mentor. EPIC will help match interested students with an EPIC faculty member for the summer studentship and fourth year research project placement.  

  • Registered in a bachelor’s degree program at the University of Toronto, excluding undergraduate professional degree programs (MD, DDS, BScN) 
  • Will have completed their third year of an undergraduate program at U of T by April 2023 
  • Self-identify as Black or Indigenous 
  • Intend to re-register for full-time undergraduate studies at U of T in September 2023 
  • Available to work full-time for 16 weeks between May 1 to August 31, 2023 
  • If already found, supervisor must have a primary affiliation at one of EPIC’s partner institutions (the Hospital for Sick Children, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Unity Health Toronto, University Health Network and University of Toronto)   
  • International students are eligible to apply as long as they meet the aforementioned criteria and are authorized to work in Canada.
    Value and Duration

    The EPIC Inspire Summer Studentship will provide $7,500, paid to the supervisor, to help cover the cost of supporting the summer student for a 16-week term. The supervisor may supplement this award to increase the support level and/or extend the work term if desired. Inspire Summer Studentships are non-renewable. Recipients will have priority access to EPIC workshops, networking events and training courses for one year following the receipt of their studentship. 

    We anticipate supporting four Inspire Summer Studentships in 2023.

    Awardee Responsibilities

    Recipients must fulfill the academic requirements of their degree program and plan of study. Recipients will gain a core set of interrogative skills in the area of infectious disease through their research, coursework and/or attendance and participation at EPIC trainee events and programs. Recipients must also complete a survey at the end of their summer studentship and are required to acknowledge EPIC funding in publications, presentations and communications resulting from their award. 

    Selection Criteria

    Applications for the EPIC Inspire Summer Studentships will be evaluated based on the following criteria for eligible trainees: 

    • Research potential 
    • Academic merit 

    Application materials

    All materials, except the supervisor form, should be submitted online through the application form. For any questions or concerns, please email with “Inspire Summer Studentship” in the subject line. 

      Please complete the online application form with information about yourself and your research interests. If you have already found a supervisor, you will also be asked to provide information about your supervisor.

      In 250 words or less, please describe your interest in infectious diseases, why you would like to conduct research in this area and what you hope to gain from this experience. 


      Please upload your resume and an unofficial copy of your transcript as a combined PDF document using the following naming convention: Inspire_Last nameFirst name_Student number_resume & transcript.

      Please provide a brief project description and describe your plan as supervisor for training and supporting the applicant’s interest in and understanding of infectious diseases.  

      Please confirm your commitment to supervise the applicant for a 16-week summer term and with intent extend to a 4th year research project if both parties are in agreement.

      Supervisor should submit this letter to in document or email form. Please include “Inspire Summer Studentship” in the email subject line. 

      Note: This section is required to be completed after the student has found or been matched with a supervisor.

      Demographic Survey

      Applicants and supervisors will be asked to complete our demographic survey. While this survey is required, there is an option to select “Prefer not to answer” for all questions.


      The 2023 Inspire Summer Studentship competition has closed. Please stay tuned for more information about the results and the 2024 competition.