NSERC Chair for
Women in Science & Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who can apply?

The ICAN-WISE Scholarship is open to female-identified students enrolled in any undergraduate program at a participating Prairies university:

  • Manitoba (University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, Brandon University, University College of the North, Université de Saint-Boniface)
  • Saskatchewan (University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, First Nations University of Canada)
  • Alberta (University of Calgary, University of Alberta, MacEwan University, University of Lethbridge, Mount Royal University)

Students graduating from their undergraduate program / not continuing their program after the summer are ineligible for this award. To ensure distribution of funding to students in greater need, students who hold an NSERC undergraduate research award are not eligible for the ICAN-WISE Scholarship in the same year.

2. How do I find a mentor / select a research project?

The first step is to identify what kind of research you are interested in, and find out about the research that is happening in the Prairies in your field of interest. A good place to start is by looking at Faculty listings online or by asking your professors about their research. Most faculty members / potential mentors have websites or information about their research online, which you can access through the corresponding university’s website. We have also put together profiles of some of the women doing research in the Prairies, which you can browse through here.

Once you have found a person whose research sounds interesting to you, it is up to you to reach out and contact them. Share the information about the award and ask whether they would be able to accept a summer student in their lab. Most faculty members who are looking for students will already have an idea for an undergraduate summer project with their group, but if not, they will certainly be able to work with you to develop a plan for your project.

3. Do I have to select a mentor from my own university / program?

Students are welcome to apply for the scholarship with a mentor from any of the participating universities and from any natural sciences or engineering discipline, even if it is different from the one in which they are enrolled as a student.

4. Does the mentor’s research have to be NSERC-funded?

The mentor does not have to be NSERC funded to be eligible, as long as the research project is still considered to be in the natural sciences or engineering. If you would like help determining whether a particular lab or project qualifies, please inquire through email.

5. How will my application be evaluated?

A selection committee will review all applications submitted by the deadline. The committee will take the following criteria into the decision-making process:

A) The proposed research project and uniqueness of the mentee-mentor research opportunity [valued at 25% of your application]. The justification will be evaluated on clarity and writing style but also on the uniqueness of the mentee-mentor research opportunity. We are particularly interested in opportunities that will support a) students whose long-term career goals are scientific research, b) research that strengthens Indigenous communities in the Prairies and/or c) interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary research projects.

B) Your demonstrated leadership on campus, or outreach engagement in community based events, particularly as it applies to women in science and engineering [valued at 50%]. Your personal dedication to outreach activities on campus and/or in your community will help to show your appreciation for the time and support that is given by those in mentorship roles. Your previous experience in outreach directed to the well being of women and girls is an asset and will be taken into consideration.

C) The academic marks the applicant obtained in courses that are in natural sciences or engineering fields [valued at 25%].

6. When will I hear about the decision?

You can expect to be informed by the end of April, 2018 whether or not your application was successful.

7. When will I receive the reward?

The funding will be transferred to you biweekly in conjunction with project updates that you or your mentor will provide. The funding is your stipend while working with your mentor on a research project in the summer of 2018.

8. What are the expectations for the project?

As part of your scholarship, you are expected to complete the following:

  • A summer of full-time research on the selected project, conducted during May-August under your chosen supervisor. The exact schedule is to be negotiated with your supervisor, but the research must begin in May and extend until August.
  • Maintain a running photo blog to be featured on the CWSE Prairies website and social media. Every 14 days, you will add 1-2 photos along with a few sentences about what you have been working on and your experience in the previous two weeks. These blogs will serve as updates to coincide with the biweekly transfer of funding.
  • Give a presentation about your research to (at least) one class of an elementary or high school in your community. This can take place in the fall following your project, or can be completed earlier. Our goal is to extend the impact of the program to other students (and act as a role model yourself).
  • Inform the CWSE-Prairies of any conferences, events, etc. where you present your work, or any media coverage (articles, interviews, etc.) that arise as a result of the ICAN-WISE program. This information is only to be used to help the CWSE-Prairies track the impact of this program.