Summer Research Program for Indigenous Youth

ICORD Summer research program for Indigenous youth

In partnership with UBC’s School of Biomedical Engineering, ICORD is excited to offer a summer program to provide opportunities and mentorship for Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, Métis) youth interested in scientific research. High school students (currently in grades 9 to 12) are invited to do research projects with us, in the hopes that this experience might inspire you to go on in the sciences, and maybe consider further studies or a career in neuroscience or biomedical engineering.

About the program

ICORD’s summer research program for Indigenous youth started as a pilot in the summer of 2018 to introduce local Indigenous high school students to the exciting world of spinal cord injury (SCI) research. From one student in 2018, the program tripled in size to three students in 2019, and again to nine students in 2021. We expanded to ICORD labs at UBC-Okanagan in 2022 with 12 students joining the program. We’re excited to continue growing and meet program applicants for Summer 2023!

Read about 2021 summer student experiences in the ICORDian community newsletter

 “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.”  – Caroline B., 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.” – Shana G. , 2019 + 2021 summer student

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

  • Using exercise as a rehab strategy following spinal cord injury (SCI)
  • Improving quality of life for people with SCI
  • Using robotics (including exoskeletons) to improve functional outcomes following SCI
  • MRI of the brain and spinal cord
  • Regenerative Medicine (generation of functional tissue)
  • Bionics & biosensors, biomaterials (biomedical microtechnology)
  • Biomechanics/injury prevention (preventing injury or minimizing it as it happens)
  • Infectious disease diagnostic development
  • Nutrition and exercise-specific biomarkers


Details about the Summer 2023 program

  • Start date: July 4, 2023; end date: August 11, 2023
  • Hourly wage: $16.75 (5 hours/day)
  • Location of project: ICORD (818 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver), UBC Point Grey Campus, or UBC-Okanagan campus.  

Timeline for Summer 2023 Program

  • Applications Open: January 26 
  • Application Deadline: March 31 
  • Site visits (to learn about the projects): throughout April 
  • Invitations and Consent form emailed (for you and your parent to sign): after Site Visits 
  • Matches confirmed: by mid-May 
  • Program Dates: July 4-August 11 
  • Poster Session: August 11 1-2pm 

How to apply

Applications for Summer 2023 have now closed. Applications for Summer 2024 will open early next year.

Email if you have any questions. 

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.