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This tip sheet was originally prepared to help students find a UBC Faculty of Medicine supervisor for the Summer Student Research Program (SSRP) thus some information may not be applicable for all situations. Before you approach a faculty member Investigate the types of research being conducted in the UBC Faculty of Medicine and determine matches with your interests. You can do this by: • Talking to your Professors and Teaching Assistants • Reading FoM Focus, UBC Medicine Magazine, UBC Medical Journal or other FoM and UBC news websites • Using the UBC Public Affairs Find UBC Experts Guide • Reading faculty profiles: on specific FoM Departmental websites, or for the Island Medical Program or Northern Medical Program (Southern Medical Program information is not yet available. SMP students are encouraged to contact the SMP Student Research Opportunities Coordinator for faculty profiles – see below). • MD students at the distributed campuses who would like to find a research placement in the vicinity of their campus are encouraged to get in touch with the appropriate program contact. Current Research Coordinators for each program are listed here. • Check if your potential supervisor has previously participated in the Summer Student Research Program (email the Student Research Coordinator or check the SSRP website). Think about how you could contribute to the research goals of your potential supervisor • What specific skills or knowledge could you bring to the role that you have gained from previous research experience (paid or volunteer), other work/volunteer experience or related coursework. • Consider both hard skills, such as specific lab techniques or computer knowledge, as well as soft skills such as communication, time management and adaptability. Be prepared to answer questions about the rules, application process and deadlines of the Summer Student Research Program. You may also want to give them a copy of the SSRP Factsheet for Potential Supervisors. Contacting your potential supervisor Ensure all of your communications (both written and face to face) are professional. Use appropriate/professional dialogue; check written communications carefully for spelling and grammatical errors and send emails from a professional email address. Until instructed to do otherwise always address individuals by their professional name and title; i.e. “Dear Dr. Smith” as opposed to “Hi John”. If you already know your potential supervisor the easiest thing to do is simply ask them if they are available to meet with you to discuss potential research opportunities. You can do this in person, via email or by phone.
Tips for Finding a Supervisor Page 1/3
• Determine if the recipient is interested in participating in the SSRP. • • • • • • • • Bring your resume and be prepared to discuss your previous work experience. Your initial contact with a potential supervisor should serve several purposes: • Discuss your interest in the potential supervisor’s research and your desire to participate in their research program. Some potential supervisors may be interested in receiving a copy of your transcripts or a sample of your written work. If the first supervisor you approach is not interested. If they are not familiar with the SSRP ensure you mention the benefits to them and outline the rules. Be considerate of your potential supervisor’s time by not stretching the meeting out unnecessarily and show your appreciation by thanking them for taking time to meet with you. Dress professionally and use appropriate dialogue throughout the interview. • Inform the recipient about the Summer Student Research Program (in case they have not previously participated). Meeting with your potential supervisor Think of this meeting as a job interview. well written email is probably the best method of initial contact as it will give the recipient time to read over the details and absorb all of the information. don’t despair! Keep looking and contact another potential supervisor. Think of the benefits of the program to the supervisor. most faculty members are open to being involved in student research. As with any job interview introduce yourself with a smile and offer a firm handshake. While discussing your interest in their research mention the skills and attributes that you could contribute to their research team. However. If they are interested in the program the next step is to determine if they are interested in being your supervisor. Discuss this prior to the meeting and be sure to bring copies of the appropriate documents to the meeting. Asking the Student Research Coordinator for a list of past supervisors in your area of interest can also help you find a potential supervisor who is open to participation. professional goals and qualifications. For example. By initiating contact you have already demonstrated your initiative and interest in participating in research. This of course will depend on what you have to offer them. hopefully you have also showcased your excellent communications skills. Randomly approaching them in the hallway and springing the idea on them is probably not a good idea. Make a list of questions you have about their work. Tips for Finding a Supervisor Page 2/3 . Ensure you understand and are knowledgeable about your potential supervisor’s research program. This is especially true if you did not know the supervisor before you approached them about participating in the SSRP.If you do not yet know your supervisor a concise. Closing your email with a suggestion to set up a meeting to discuss your qualifications is a good step. academic interests. introducing yourself at a networking event and letting them know about your interest in their research would be an excellent first step. it provides them with the salary for a full-time research assistant for two months. This should include a brief summary of how the program operates and preferentially a link to the program website and a copy of the SSRP Factsheet for Potential Supervisors. application process and deadlines. Your potential supervisor will be evaluating you and determining if you are a good fit for their research program.
On average the SSRP can only fund ~50% of applicants (please click here for information on historical funding rates). Tips for Finding a Supervisor Page 3/3 . follow up with a phone call or email a few days after your meeting. If your potential supervisor agrees to supervise you for the SSRP congratulations! Work with them to ensure the application is completed and submitted prior to the deadline. And finally. If you are serious about being involved in research ensure you apply to as many different programs as possible to maximize your chances of getting funded. ask them if they could refer you to a colleague who may be interested in taking on summer students. If your potential supervisor seems interested in hiring you but is not yet ready to make a decision. remember that due to budgetary constraints not everyone who applies to the SSRP will get funded. Many external funding opportunities are listed on the FoM Research Office website.Post-meeting follow up • • • • If your potential supervisor had questions about the SSRP you could not answer at the meeting find out the answers as soon as possible and contact the supervisor with the correct information. If your potential supervisor has no research opportunities suitable for inclusion in the SSRP.
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