seed2STEM: Summer research program for Indigenous youth


STEM fields are critical in advancing health care and driving economic success in Canada, yet Indigenous representation in these skilled, well-paid positions remains disproportionately low. seed2STEM, a summer research program for Indigenous high school students in Metro Vancouver and Kelowna, aims to increase Indigenous participation in STEM. Started at ICORD and with the support of the School of Biomedical Engineering (SBME), BC’s Gynecologic Cancer Initiative, and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI), the program introduces Indigenous youth to STEM fields in a fun and supportive environment with paid placements to ease participation barriers.

Download our information package


 “My summer at ICORD taught me how to communicate with other researchers, as well as participants. It is a once-in-a lifetime experience that will always be memorable, and you cannot replace all of the valuable information and experiences I gained through the program.” – 2022 summer student
“The people in the lab were great and very welcoming and helpful. Plus, I got to make friends with another fellow indigenous high school student. Overall, it was a very good experience that I would love to do
again.” – 2022 summer student

“Without ICORD I would not have had the opportunity to hear about these experiences, directly participate in research activities, or learn from Dr. Sparrey. Opportunities like this can help Indigenous youth like myself get excited about science, research, and university.”  – 2021 summer student

“My presentation skills are much better, and I’ve grown my network to include people at different institutions, which is very important.” – 2019 + 2021 summer student

You could work on research projects in areas including (but not limited to):

  • Biomedical engineering: application of engineering principles to healthcare solutions, including medical devices and systems.
  • Laboratory science: research conducted in lab settings, possibly including molecular biology, chemistry, etc.
  • Clinical research: focus on patient-oriented research, including health outcomes and approaches to patient care
  • Data science/math/computer science in medicine: data analysis, statistics, mathematical and computer modeling in medical research.
  • Medical Imaging: Exploration of technologies like MRI, CT scans, and ultrasound used in diagnosing and treating disease.
  • Rehabilitation/Exercise Science: Study of physical therapy, sports science, and methods to improve mobility and health.

If you have other interests, please let us know and we can try to arrange a related project for you.


Details about the Summer 2024 program

  • Start date: July 2, 2024; end date: August 9, 2024
  • Hourly wage: $16.75 (5 hours/day)
  • Location of placements: various locations in UBC labs in Vancouver or Kelowna.
    • Students from outside commuting distance of Vancouver or Kelowna are welcome to apply, however seed2STEM is not able to arrange or cover travel/room & board /supervision. Please contact us for more information.   

Timeline for Summer 2024

  • Applications Open: January 23 
  • Application Deadline: April 2
  • Pre-Placement Workshop (required): May/June (TBD)
  • Program Dates: July 2-August 9 
  • Lunch and Poster Session: August 9 

How to apply

Email if you have any questions. 

Are you a faculty member with ICORD, SBME, or the UBC Faculty of Medicine?

Would you like to host a high school student from an Indigenous background in your lab this summer? See this page for full details.

Support this program

We are crowdfunding to support student salaries and lab / research supplies. Tax receipts will be issued for any donation of $20 or more.