Craig Medical Student Summer Research Fellowship

Background and rationale

The purpose of the Craig medical student summer research fellowship program is to enable medical students who are interested in research and scholarship to conduct defined summer research and scholarship projects under the mentorship and guidance of faculty at the University of Illinois College of Medicine between their M1 and M2 years.

Craig program timeline

The standard timeline is detailed below:

  • November-December preceding summer fellowship: Craig fellowship informational session for M1 medical students
  • November-January preceding summer fellowship: Craig fellowship opportunity announcement disseminated to M1 medical students
  • February-March preceding summer fellowship: Craig fellowship application due date
  • March-April preceding summer fellowship: Craig fellowship positions offered
  • June-August: Craig fellowship program undertaken
  • September-October following summer fellowship: Craig fellowship reports collected
  • Fall/winter/spring following summer fellowship: Students present fellowship project results at the College of Medicine Research Day at the University of Illinois College of Medicine campus where the research was performed

Student applicant eligibility

Only first year (M1) students are eligible to participate in the University of Illinois College of Medicine Craig fellowship program. M.D./Ph.D. program students are not eligible as they are already expected to participate in research by virtue of their combined degree program. Students must be academically eligible to receive the Craig Fellowship. Those students who are required to complete summer remediation exams are ineligible.

Mentor identification

Prior to developing and submitting a Craig fellowship application, interested students should identify a research faculty mentor who agrees to supervise the student on a project during the summer months, provide research mentorship and guidance during the Craig fellowship program, help the student prepare for a poster presentation at the College of Medicine Research Forum, and ensure that the student fulfills all requirements of the fellowship, including a final written report. Students must select a research mentor that is a University of Illinois College of Medicine faculty member.

Students are able to select mentors from any of the University of Illinois College of Medicine campuses, and are not restricted to mentorship at the campus where the student is enrolled. In the scenario of cross-campus mentorship, Craig fellowship applications are submitted to the campus of the faculty mentor, rather than that of the student participant.

Application

The Craig fellowship application consists of the following components:

  • Cover page
  • Research proposal 3-4 pages in length, followed by a bibliography
  • The research proposal should include the following elements:
    • Cover Page: title of the proposal, student name, research mentor’s name, and appropriate University of Illinois College of Medicine department
    • Specific Aims: principal aim(s) of the research project; a summary of the questions the student will ask and the methods that will be used
    • Background and significance: information to help the reviewer understand the context of the questions the student is asking and why they are important, as well as the clinical and/or basic science significance of anticipated outcome(s)
    • Experimental methods, anticipated outcomes, and alternative approaches: for each Specific Aim, provide details about the methods the student will use, specific experimental protocols, how they will answer student’s questions, what information student expects to obtain, and interpretation of anticipated results; state explicitly the portion of planned research to be completed by the student applicant over the summer research months. Provide also a brief explanation on what the student will do if the outcome of the results is not the anticipated one.
    • Timeline: provide a tentative plan stating when the different steps and goals of the proposal will be completed. The goals of the proposal should be met within the time of the fellowship
    • Program mentorship (to be completed by research mentor): please describe the skills that the student will acquire with his/her work during the proposed Craig fellowship. Additionally, please specify who will actually be supervising the student, e.g. the faculty research mentor, other faculty member, post-doctoral research associate, graduate student, etc., as well as the frequency of meetings and whether meetings will be in person or via phone, e-mail, combination, etc.
  • Student applicant resume/curriculum vitae
  • 1-2 paragraph statement of interest explaining nature of interest in undertaking a research project for personal and professional development.

Craig program dates

To be announced on an annual basis.

Expectations for participating students

  • All awardees are required to submit a final research report after completion of their summer fellowship.
  • Craig fellows are required to submit an abstract and present a poster at their campus College of Medicine Research Forum.