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

    Part of the Iowa Medical Student Research Program (IMSRP) -  Director: Robert Roghair, MD; Program Coordinator: Deanna Nielson, PhD

    Summer Research Fellowship (SRF) is open to first-year medical students (M1) and students accepted for admission to the Carver College of Medicine (pre-M1). The program is designed to acquaint students who have an interest in research to career possibilities in academic medicine. Fellowships are generally 12 weeks long and offer students an opportunity to participate in the investigation of a scientific question under supervision of a faculty mentor. Fellows 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 from the University of Iowa. Students identify a mentor then plan, write, and submit a scientific research proposal which is reviewed by a panel of scientists. Awarding of fellowships is competitive; however, the success rate is 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; if you plan to submit a proposal for research in a foreign country, contact the IMSRP for initial screening at least two weeks before the application deadline. 

    Information about the SRF program is announced early in winter of the research year (click here). It is expected that a summer research fellowship be the student’s top priority and it requires a full-time commitment from the student. Students may not participate if they are remediating a class over the summer or have other commitments that conflict with their ability to meet these time and priority expectations. Interested students can search for research opportunities and identify potential faculty mentors using the mentor database. The fellowship generally requires a commitment of 12 weeks during the summer. The stipend for the fellowship is $5,844 for a 12-week period. Funding will be pro-rated for fellowships that are approved for less than 12 weeks, but in no case for less than 10 weeks.

    As soon as the student has identified a mentor, that information must be sent by email to Deanna Nielson. With the mentor and research project identified, the student works with the mentor to write a brief research proposal which is submitted online. The application deadline for M1 and early-admission students is has passed; these students have all been notified of funding status. For pre-M1 students admitted on or after March 1 the application deadline is 6:00pm CST on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Research proposals will be reviewed and successful students will be notified within two 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.

    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 PhD or have undergone research training.
      3.   They have a long list of publications. A clinician (MD) 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.

    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).

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

    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.