Graduate Studentships

Graduate Studentships are awarded by the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit (AbSPORU) in partnership with Alberta Innovates.

Studentships have been awarded over the past 5 years to applicants from diverse backgrounds who have proposed a variety of interesting projects within patient-oriented research. The number of awards per year depends on available funding with approximately 10 awards per year and fifty-four awards to date.

2020 change in residency requirement: Given the current COVID-19 context, universities are working virtually and students are not physically on campus. The Alberta SPOR Support Unit and Alberta Innovates, agreed to waive the Alberta residency requirement for the 2020 Graduate Studentship competition. All other AbSPORU Studentship Recipient Eligibility Criteria remain in effect.

The Studentships are awarded through a provincial competition and offer a number of unique benefits, that include:

  • a one-year award of $30,000 for first-year students in a thesis-based masters or doctoral degree whose projects demonstrate a patient-oriented research approach;
  • participation in the Patient-Oriented Research (POR) Training Program and additional AbSPORU activities throughout the year;
  • opportunities to participate in the annual AbSPORU Summer Institute in order to:
    • present their early research work;
    • further theoretical and practical knowledge of patient-oriented research; and
    • take advantage of networking with leading patient-oriented researchers and thought leaders.

Application Process

  • Online applications are accepted annually in the fall, and the 2020 competition is open from August 20 – October 23. The process changes slightly from year to year, so please read the instructions carefully.
  • Application Review – An external committee familiar with POR conducts a blind review of the applications and selects the top ones eligible for funding.
  • Applicants are notified in December, with studentships being awarded in January of the following year.

Application Documents and Instructions
  • A key aspect to writing a winning proposal is the clear description of why your project is considered “patient-oriented research.”
  • The Program Guide provides additional information about the Studentship, defines what a POR project must include to be considered in the competition, provides POR examples and application evaluation criteria.
  • The Application Form and Instructions provide detailed information on how to apply for the Studentship.
  • The Supervisor Biographical Sketch Form provides additional information on your primary research supervisor (and co-supervisor if applicable).
  • All the information needed for your application is available on the AI website Application and Instructions


Congratulations to the 2019 Studentship Awardees:

To learn more about the Awardees click on the project summary link below their name

Christy Chong – University of Calgary

Project: Understanding the perceptions of acute care service avoidability among patients with chronic kidney disease

Project Summary

Adrijana D’Silva – University of Calgary

Project: Mind and yoga for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (MY-IBS) Study

Project Summary

Kelsey Ellis – University of Calgary

Project: Exploring children, parent, healthcare providers and instructors’ experiences with an individualized yoga intervention for hospitalized children receiving intensive treatments

Project Summary

Danielle Fox – University of Calgary

Project: Urgent start peritoneal dialysis: The implementation of an enhanced program

Project Summary

Matheus Gonçalves Mussi – University of Alberta

Project: User-centred design of brain-computer Interface systems for children with disabilities

Project Summary

Pamela Klassen – University of Alberta

Project: Improving patient outcomes in non-small cell lung cancer with nutrient supplementation

Project Summary

Alyson Kwok – University of Alberta

Project: Maximizing patient engagement through collaborative outcome measure selection and tracking: patients’ perceptions of the use of physical therapy outcome measures post-stroke

Project Summary

Ryan Mallard – University of Calgary

Project: Working with communities to bring healthcare and social services to places where it’s needed the most

Project Summary

Anika Sehgal – University of Calgary

Project: Complexity among Indigenous patients: Developing and validating a clinical assessment tool to address the broader determinants of health

Project Summary

Trina Thorne – University of Alberta

Project: Developing a trauma informed intervention to reduce responsive behaviours in persons with moderate to severe dementia

Project Summary

Billy Wang – University of Alberta

Project: Implementation and evaluation of novel patient-centered initiatives in a multidisciplinary Heart Function Clinic

Project Summary

The Studentship and Training Program inspired me to make my PhD thesis more patient-oriented.

- Chelsia Gillis, 2016 Studentship Awardee

Previous Competitions: Awardee Archives