Summer Research Awards


There are various options for paid summer employment in a research laboratory at Dal.

Faculty of Science Summer Research Awards

There are about 70 FoS-coordinated summer research awards available each year, on a competitive basis, for current undergraduate students. Interested students may apply for an award and indicate the faculty member they’d like to work with (see instructions below). Award winners spend 16 weeks participating in a research project, alongside graduate students and other undergraduates. Each department has a dedicated faculty member in charge of summer research awards who assists students through the application process.


  • Enrolled in a Faculty of Science undergraduate program (second year or higher)
  • Available to work fulltime for at least 16 weeks May to August
  • Strong academic record 

How to apply for a summer research award

The FoS- coordinated summer research awards program is made possible through funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and awards named in honour of the following individuals and organizations who have generously made them possible:

Named Summer Research Awards

The Joy M. Cunningham Award

The Joy M. Cunningham Award is given each year to an outstanding undergraduate student enrolled in Environmental Science or the College of Sustainability and interested in conducting research aimed at environmental protection or restoration, or the sustainable use of our natural resources.

Dr. Cunningham obtained her Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Chemistry from Dalhousie University and wants this award to encourage students’ participation in research that will lead to a healthier environment.

The Faye Sobey Undergraduate Research Award

The Faye Sobey Undergraduate Award is given to our top applicants in their third year of study. Award holders may participate in research projects in any area of science.

Mrs. Faye Sobey graduated from Dalhousie with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry (1953). During the course of her studies, Mrs. Sobey had an opportunity to spend a summer working in a research lab. She found the experience inspiring, and felt it should be part of every science student’s education. With this very generous gift, Mrs. Sobey is extending that opportunity to many students (up to 10 awards per year).

The Nancy Witherspoon Award

The Nancy Witherspoon Award is given each year to an outstanding student who will be participating in field research aimed at improving our understanding of the marine environment. Students will normally be enrolled in the Marine Biology or Ocean Sciences BSc program.

This award is made possible by the Estate of Nancy Witherspoon, a 1985 MSc graduate of the Biology department who completed her field research on blue mussel populations in Nova Scotia. In her will, she expressed the wish that her gift be used to provide a scholarship for students to study marine biology and to support field training for marine biology students.

The Laing Summer Research Award

Every year, the Laing Summer Undergraduate Research Awards is given to an outstanding student in their second year of studies. Award holders may participate in research projects in any area of science.

This award was made possible by a generous donation from the Darrell and Emily Laing Foundation.

The John Richard Freeman Warr Memorial Award

The John Richard Freeman Warr Memorial Award is given each year to an outstanding student in their second year of studies who was born in and remains a resident of Nova Scotia. Award holders may participate in research projects in any area of science.

This award was made possible by a generous bequest from the estate of Mary Lucy Warr in memory of her son John Richard Freeman Warr, a graduate of Dalhousie University (BSc. 1931, MSc in Physics 1940)

Imhotep’s Legacy Academy (ILA) Summer Student Research Scholarship

ILA has partnered with Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Science for the Summer Student Research Scholarship program that supports students of African descent who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in science. The scholarships are valued at $6,500 and support a student interested in conducting research with a Dalhousie faculty member from May-August. Preference is given to applicants who have participated in, or who intend to participate in Imhotep’s Legacy Academy and selection is based on a consideration of academic performance, research ability, and leadership/community involvement. More information about the Imhotep Legacy Academy can be found here.

Department-based Summer Research Awards

Several Departments coordinate summer research awards too. These may have different application processes than the FoS-cooridnated summer research awards listed above, so it's best to contact the Department for specifics. Learn more about those awards below.

Biology: The Sarah Lawson Research Scholarship

Oceanography: The Transatlantic Ocean System Science and Technology (TOSST)

Chemistry: Various


CREATE programs: another paid summer research option

Some professors are involved in NSERC research programs called Collaborative Research and Training Experience Programs (CREATE). Within these programs, professors can hire undergraduate students to work in their labs. When you begin speaking to professors about any summer research opportunity, ask if they're involved in a CREATE program and follow the application process outlined by that professor.