Internal Funding Opportunities for Trainees

O'Brien Institute/CSM support program

The O’Brien Institute for Public Health is pleased to support research capacity building, providing opportunities to O’Brien Institute members recruiting excellent graduate trainees. A common goal of all internal University sponsors, including the Institute, is to offer initial financial stability for incoming trainees, while encouraging them to compete as soon as possible for prestigious, external funding. This approach ensures the Institute and Institution remain competitive — provincially and nationally — and supports internal financial sustainability.

To leverage the matching opportunities offered by the Cumming School of Medicine’s support programs, the O’Brien Institute process aligns with those programs’ guidelines. Please note that the CSM programs are eligible only to trainees of faculty with primary affiliation in the Cumming School of Medicine. The Institute may be able to contribute matching funding for a limited number of post-doctoral trainees not eligible for the CSM opportunities. See the coversheet to the funding application form for further explanation.

Through the Cumming School of Medicine’s Graduate Student Scholarship the CSM and the individual graduate supervisor will cost share a $30,000/year stipend for four years of a PhD program (two years for MSc).

As explained in the Cumming Postdoctoral Scholar Program (PSP) guidelines, applications for postdoctoral funding are made through the Research Institutes and will be considered by the Cumming PSP committee throughout the year. Eligibility for this program aligns with the definitions of CIHR trainees and AIHS Postdoctoral applicants, as noted here. To apply through the O'Brien Institute for Public Health, supervisors and candidates complete and submit this form to, with submission deadlines of June 1 and November 1. Applications are reviewed and prioritized by the O'Brien Trainee Funding College of Reviewers, for potential submission to the Cumming PSP committee. Supervisors are notified of results by the O’Brien Institute, and candidates eventually approved for Cumming School of Medicine matching support become part of the CSM process, including having to report annually to justify renewal. All recipients of O'Brien Postdoctoral Scholar funding will be asked to report their progress annually.

To support professional development of the candidate and financial sustainability of the Institute, recipients of an O’Brien PDS award are required to apply for external scholarship funding to replace the O’Brien award. Any other salary funding secured following the award of an O'Brien Postdoctoral Scholar Award must be used to replace as much as possible of the Institute's contribution to the matching funding matrix. O’Brien funding for a second year will be contingent on efforts and demonstrated success in fulfilling award requirements (listed in the Terms of Reference for the CSM PDS) as determined by review of the O’Brien PDS Annual Report.  The Annual Report should be submitted at least 2 months prior to the required award extension date, and ideally near June 1 or November 1, to accommodate review by the O’Brien Trainee Funding Committee.

Interested CSM faculty can obtain more information, including new procedures for hiring foreign applicants, from Susan Wong (new Postdoctoral Program Administrator for CSM; 403-220-8570;

O'Brien Institute Summer Studentship

The Institute may fund a limited number of summer students each year, with no requirement for matching funding.  For Summer 2024, the Institute is accepting applications for students interested in working with one of the Associate Scientific Directors in their areas of focus (Equity and Prevention for the ASD Population Health; and Learning Health Systems and Digital Health, for the Associate Scientific Director (Health Systems).

Students can apply to the Institute, by February 1, using this application form, for student salary funding at the standard rate of $7,500 for a 16 week position, $5,625 for 12 weeks, and $3,750 for 8 weeks.  Of note:

  • The O’Brien Institute process and application package have been adapted from the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) competition for Summer Studentships, and in addition to the Institute-specific guidelines/criteria in the Institute’s application template, the CSM Summer Studentship information is applicable.
  • O’Brien Institute-specific guidelines/criteria include prioritization of trainees who are members of equity-deserving groups, wanting to work on projects relevant to the Institute’s areas of focus.
  • There is often confusion between the O’Brien Institute for Public Health and the O’Brien Centre (for the Bachelor of Health Sciences), which works with the CSM to fund hundreds of summer students through a separate CSM/O’Brien Centre Summer Studentships (OCSS) process. Applicants to this O’Brien Institute process may apply separately through the OCSS process, to increase their chance of success.
  • Applicants will receive the Institute’s funding decisions before March 1, to facilitate allocation decisions being made within the CSM OCSS competition.

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