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

    Iowa Medical Student Research Program (IMSRP) - Director: Robert Roghair, MD. Program Coordinator: Deanna Nielson, PhD  

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

    Summer Research Fellowship (SRF) is an opportunity for first-year medical students (M1) and students accepted for admission to the Carver College of Medicine (pre-M1) with an interest in research to become acquainted with career possibilities in academic medicine. Fellowships are generally 12 weeks long and offer students the opportunity to participate directly in the investigation of a scientific question under the 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. 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; 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). To participate, students must be in good academic standing and not currently held back to repeat a class. 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. The fellowship generally requires a commitment of 12 weeks during the summer. The stipend for the fellowship is $5,619 for a 12-week period. Funding will be pro-rated for fellowships that are approved for less than 12 weeks.

    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 deadline for M1 students is 8:00am CST on February 16, 2015. For pre-M1 students admitted before March 1 the application deadline has been extended to 6:00pm CST on Friday, March 6, 2015. Research proposals are reviewed and successful students are usually notified within four-six 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.