Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo

The Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Summer Scholars Program

The Summer Scholars Program (SSP) is a collaboration between the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, and Canada’s Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats.

The BBS Summer Scholars Program is a fully funded 12-week program that provides students with cutting-edge skills training, mentorship, and career-development opportunities in STEM. The program is open to students who live in Ontario (residents), are enrolled in a STEM postsecondary degree/diploma program, and who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or 2SLGBTQIA+.

Over the past 10 years, the number of students pursuing postsecondary education and receiving a STEM credential from a Canadian public postsecondary institution has steadily increased. Yet, there remain significant racial, ethnic, and gender gaps in students enrolled in STEM degree programs and who occupy STEM-related jobs in the workforce. The Biochemistry and Biomedical Science Department, Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, and Canada’s Global Nexus are committed to inclusive excellence and creating opportunities for students underrepresented in STEM. Our mission is to engage, encourage, and assist students from equity-deserving groups to pursue biomedical research and careers in biomedical sciences.

We aim to support students that face barriers to engaging in academic research, as well as those who have not had opportunities to explore STEM-related career paths in their educational journey. This program supports them in their current academic program and future careers. No previous research experience or research project proposals are required. Highly motivated, passionate, and enthusiastic STEM students are strongly encouraged to apply.

Expandable List

  • A two-week intensive skills training “boot camp” in the Biochemistry and Biomedical Science teaching labs
  • A 10-week immersive research placement in the lab of a participating BBS, IIDR, and/or Canada’s Global Nexus Faculty
  • Seminar series exploring biomedical science careers
  • Capstone research symposium showcasing the work of summer scholars

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to engage in research in areas including (but not limited to):

  • Microbiology
  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Immunology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Metabolism
  • Cell Biology
  • Genomics
  • Stem Cells
  • Cancer Biology

Successful applicants will be matched by the Steering Committee team based on faculty availability and mutual research interests.

The program is open to students who live in Ontario (residents) and who are enrolled in a STEM postsecondary degree/diploma program and who self-identify as any of the following:

  • Black
  • Indigenous

*Applicants must have completed at least one semester of their degree program by May of 2024. Students who will have completed their degree requirements by May of 2024 are not eligible to apply.

Students will be paid a stipend of $7,000 for the 12-week period (35 hours of work per week is expected) and provided with a meal card for dining on and off campus (valued at $900).

Other support available to successful applicants include (where applicable):

    • Housing in residence on campus at McMaster if living on campus is required (Mary E. Keyes Residence Suites, valued at ~$3,200 for a 12-week period).
    • Transportation to and from Hamilton ($300 maximum per student)
    • Parking on campus ($300 maximum per student)
    • Childcare* ($500 maximum per student; *note it is the applicant’s responsibility to make childcare arrangements, the bursary is intended to offset childcare costs)
  • Applications will be evaluated by the Steering Committee in February 2024
  • Finalists may be invited to participate in an interview with the Committee
  • Successful applicants will be notified by the end of March 2024
  • The program will run from May 6th to July 26th, 2024. Please note that applicants must be available and committed to fully participate in all 12 weeks of the program.
  • Applications were accepted between Friday, December 15, 2023 and Wednesday, January 31, 2024. We encourage you to apply next winter.
  • The application consists of two parts:
  1. An online application form; and,
  2. A letter of support: Applicants to the program are required to provide one letter of support to endorse their applications. Referees can be academic, personal, work or community-based. Referees are encouraged to speak to the applicant’s passion, character, and opportunities that will be gained from program completion. Letters of support must be signed and emailed to Oral letters of support will also be accepted and applicants should contact Dr. Caitlin Mullarkey, Chair of the Steering Committee, at to arrange a phone call.

Both sections of the application must be submitted by 11:59 PM on January 31, 2024. Only fully completed applications (online form and one letter of support) will be assessed by the Selection Committee. Finalists may be invited for an interview.