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. 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 2020 Studentship Awardees:

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


Brittany DeGraves – University of Alberta

Project: Reducing Pandemic Stress Effects Among the Most Vulnerable: People Living in Long-Term Care

Project Summary

Chantal Rytz – University of Calgary

Project: Reproductive Lifespan, Menstrual Cycle Regularity and Risk of Adverse Cardiovascular Outcomes

Project Summary

Dana Hunter – University of Calgary

Project: Facilitators and barriers to medial collateral ligament bracing treatment: Moving towards improved patient outcomes

Project Summary

Daniel O’Brien – University of Alberta

Project: Patient Conflict and Regret Regarding Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Project Summary

Danika Goveas – University of Alberta

Project: Exploring the integration of Indigenous ways of knowing in PHC policy development to promote healing for Indigenous communities in Alberta

Project Summary

Jacqueline Wilson – University of Calgary

Project: Evaluating strategies for patient and family engagement in the scale and spread of Alberta Family Integrated Care (FICare™) in neonatal intensive care units

Project Summary

Jasmine Maghera – University of Alberta

Project: Linking Cell Function and Gene Expression to Define Maturation of Stem-Cell Derived β-Cells to End Type 1 Diabetes

Project Summary

Jaylynn Arcand – University of Calgary

Project: Understanding the patients perspective: How and what physicians are communicating to patients with Functional Somatic Disorders

Project Summary

Kathryn Lambert – University of Alberta

Project: Developing an evidence based motor imagery training program for persons with Parkinson´s Disease through collaboration with patients and therapists

Project Summary

Megan Pohl – University of Alberta

Project: Recognizing and managing youth mental health: addressing a consumer-identified health priority through knowledge synthesis and translation

Project Summary

Michaela Patton – University of Calgary

Project: Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral treatment for survivors of childhood cancer with chronic pain: A randomized pilot feasibility study

Project Summary

Sandy Rao – University of Calgary

Project: Perceptions of Access Models that Enhance Mental Health and Addictions System Utilization in Young Adults with Mood Disorders.

Project Summary

Stephanie Brooks – University of Alberta

Project: Advancing Theory of Learning Health System Implementation

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