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Summer Research Fellowship Program

Summer Research Fellowships, which are part of the Iowa Medical Student Research Program (IMSRP), are designed to acquaint medical students who have an interest in research to career possibilities in academic medicine. Summer Research Fellowships are open to first-year medical students (M1) and students accepted for admission to the Carver College of Medicine (pre-M1). 

New for Summer 2022, we are applying for an NIH grant specifically to fund 16 students in areas of Heart, Lung, Blood and Sleep research.  Eligibility for NIH funded fellowships includes completion of M1 year, partnering with one of the mentors on this PDF iconHLBS Faculty Roster and participation in some additional programatic information/discussion sessions throughout the summer.  Application to SRF specifically for this funding will increase chances for receiving a funded fellowship.  NIH funded fellowships will be at the NIH funding level (2021 level was $6330).  

Participate as a Fellow

Fellowships are generally 12 weeks long (M1s 5/23/22-8/12/22), (PreM1s 5/16/22-8/5/22) and offer students an opportunity to participate in the investigation of a scientific question under supervision of a faculty mentor. Fellows become familiar with the processes involved in

  • Defining a problem
  • Formulating a hypothesis
  • Evaluating its significance
  • Designing experiments for its solution
  • Interpreting the data generated

Student summer research is performed under the direction of a faculty mentor from the University of Iowa. Students identify a mentor then plan, write, and submit a scientific research proposal that is reviewed by a panel of scientists.

Awarding of fellowships is competitive; however, the success rate is usually high (we typically fund 80% of the proposals submitted). Preference is given to proposals that are conducted at the University of Iowa. If you plan to submit a proposal for research in another country, contact the IMSRP for initial screening at least four weeks before the application deadline.

Terms of the Commitment

Information about the Summer Research Fellowship (SRF) Program is announced early in December prior to the research year. It is a full-time commitment; it is expected that a summer research fellowship be the student’s top priority. Students may not participate in SRF if they are remediating a class over the summer or have other commitments that conflict with their ability to meet these time and priority expectations.

The fellowship generally requires a commitment of 12 weeks during the summer. The stipend for the 2022 fellowship is $6,000 for a 12-week period. Funding will be pro-rated for fellowships that are approved for less than 12 weeks, but in no case for less than 10 weeks.

Interested students can search for research opportunities and identify potential faculty mentors using the mentor database or other Carver College of Medicine resources such as the departmental web pages or Centers, Programs, & Institutes web pages.

Program Timeline

Advising is available to help you in planning for a summer research fellowship any time after the beginning of the fall semester, although most students begin the process in late October or November. Students are encouraged to reach out to potential mentors by early December to allow time to work on your proposal during winter break. As soon as you have identified a mentor, that information must be sent by email to the Medical Student Research Coordinator.

With the mentor and research project identified, work with your mentor to write a brief research proposal, which is submitted online. The application deadline for M1s is 6 PM on February 16, 2022. The deadline for early-admit pre-M1s is 6 PM on February 28, 2022; details will be posted to the admitted students' website through the Admissions Office. All applicants will be notified of funding status in late March.

NOTE: Pre-M1 students applying to the Summer Research Fellowship Program need to email the Medical Student Research Coordinator before submitting the application.

Guidelines and Tips for Writing a Successful Proposal

Find an outstanding scientific mentor

What makes an outstanding mentor?

  1. They have funding from the government or other agencies to do research. One way to check on this is to: a) ask the mentor about the funding of their research or b) look them up. Simply enter the mentor's name into the 'principal investigator' field and see a listing of his/her government-funded research.
  2. They have a PhD or have undergone research training.
  3. They have a long list of publications. A clinician (MD) with no research training, funding, or solid publication record is less likely to have high-quality research for you to work on.

Write an exceptional proposal

  1. Make sure it is well-organized and has details about the science of the project (rationale, hypotheses, methods, statistical analysis).
  2. The most successful applications are a true 'joint effort' between the mentor and the student.
  3. Clearly outline the role of the student in the research project.

Outside Funding Opportunities

The program also encourages students to apply for outside funding opportunities. Students conducting research at the University of Iowa but funded outside the IMSRP may be eligible to participate in summer fellowship activities and may be eligible to receive up to an additional $500 in summer stipend and/or up to $1,000 in travel support to academic conference(s).

Other Opportunities

Other Clinical and Research Opportunities are located at the Careers in Medicine (CiM) website at the AAMC. Medical students have free access to CiM using your AAMC ID and password.

Please contact the Medical Student Research Coordinator if you have questions.