MD Program

Contact Medical Student Research Program

1213 MERF
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2600
Phone:(319) 335-9449
Fax: (319) 335-8049

  • Summer Research Fellowships

    Medical Student Research Program Director: Neil A. Segal, MD, MS, CSCS. Program Coordinator: Deanna Nielson, PhD  

    Please contact Deanna Nielson or Stephanie Whitlock if you have questions.

    Summer Research Fellowship is an opportunity for medical students (M-1) and students accepted for admission to the Carver College of Medicine (pre-M-1). The purpose of the Student Research Fellowship program is to interest medical students in research and to acquaint them with career possibilities in academic medicine. This fellowship is 10-12 weeks long and offers students the opportunity to participate directly in the investigation of a scientific question under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Fellows will become familiar with the processes involved in defining a problem, formulating a hypothesis, evaluating its significance, designing experiments for its solution, and interpreting the data generated. Student summer research is performed under the direction of a faculty mentor at the University of Iowa. Students identify a mentor and plan, write, and submit a scientific research proposal, which is reviewed by a panel of scientists. The awarding of fellowships is a competitive process; however, the success rates are usually high (we typically fund 85-90% of the proposals submitted). 

     Preference is given to proposals that are conducted here at the University of Iowa, rather than at other institutions or in a foreign country.  If you plan to submit a proposal for research in a foreign country, you must first contact the IMSRP for initial screening. Information about the summer fellowship program is announced early in winter of the research year. Interested students can search for possible research opportunities and identify potential faculty mentors who are interested in sponsoring a student using the search engine associated with the faculty mentor database. To participate, students must be in good academic standing and not currently held back to repeat a class. The fellowship requires a commitment of at least 10-12 weeks during the summer. The stipend for the fellowship is $4,590 for a 10-week period and $5,500 for a 12-week period.

    Guidelines and Tips for writing a successful proposal (i.e. one that gets adequate reviews and is therefore funded).

    • Find an outstanding scientific mentor. What makes an outstanding mentor?
      1.   They have funding from the government or other agencies to do research. One way to check on this is to: a) ask the mentor about the funding of their research or b) look them up on the site Simply enter the mentor's name into the 'principal investigator' field and see a listing of his/her government-funded research.
      2.   They have a Ph.D. or have undergone research training.
      3.   They have a long list of publications. A clinician (M.D.) with no research training, funding, or solid publication record is less likely to have high-quality research for you to work on.
    • Write an outstanding proposal
      1.   Make sure it is well-organized and has details about the science of the project (rationale, hypotheses, methods, statistical analysis).
      2.   The most successful applications are a true 'joint effort' between the mentor and the student.

    As soon as the student has identified a mentor, that information must be sent by email to Deanna Nielson. Once the student has identified a mentor and possible research project the student, working with the mentor, must write a brief research proposal which is submitted online. The application deadlines are as follows: February 2 (6:00pm CST) for M-1 students; March 2 (6:00pm CST) for pre-M1 students admitted prior to March 1; April 1 (6:00pm CDT) for pre-M1 students admitted in March. Research proposals are reviewed and successful students are usually notified within four weeks of the application submission deadline.

    NOTE: Pre-M1 students applying to the Summer Research Fellowship Program need to email Deanna Nielson before submitting the application.

    The program also encourages students to apply for outside funding opportunities. Students conducting research at the University of Iowa but funded outside the IMSRP may be eligible to participate in summer fellowship activities and may be eligible to receive up to an additional $500 in summer stipend and/or up to $1,000 in travel support to academic conference(s).

    Other Clinical and Research Opportunities are located at the Careers in Medicine (CiM) website at the AAMC. Medical students have free access to CiM using your AAMC ID and password.