CANHEART SPOR Summer Studentship Award

CANHEART SPOR Summer Studentship Award
Competition Now Closed


Summer Student Research Opportunities-2018:  The CANHEART SPOR Summer Studentship Research competition is now accepting applications for summer 2018. Funding is available for 3 months beginning June 1st, 2018 and ending August 31st, 2018.


I. Background & Research Focus

The CANHEART ‘big data’ research initiative is aimed at measuring and improving cardiovascular health and the quality of ambulatory cardiovascular care provided in Ontario, Canada using the population-based CANHEART cohort. The CANHEART cohort is created through the linkage of 17+ routinely collected health administrative, vital statistics, survey and laboratory databases housed at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences ( The strength of this cohort lies in the large sample size, containing information on 9.8 million Ontarians age 20-105 years, and diversity of the linked databases.

Building upon the insights gained to date through the CANHEART work, we have recently launched a new CANHEART SPOR project aimed at leveraging big data to conduct innovative cardiovascular clinical trials. We will aim to: 1) undertake a pragmatic cluster randomized registry-based clinical trial to improve lipid-management amongst intermediate-and high-risk patients residing in high-risk health regions in Ontario, and 2) develop novel algorithms for measuring clinical outcomes in clinical trials using health-related databases and compare whether they are as accurate as traditional event ascertainment methods. These projects will be undertaken by an interdisciplinary team consisting of experts in administrative health databases, implementation science, clinical trials, knowledge translation and patient engagement.

Potential options for research projects and programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Quantitative studies examining the association between patient, community and health system factors, and the incidence of cardiovascular health outcomes.
  • Studying lipid management in the province (e.g., lipid screening, cardiovascular risk assessment, statin utilization and adherence to the Canadian Cardiovascular Society’s lipid guidelines), including knowledge translation activities and qualitative studies in these areas.
  • Working with the study team to develop novel algorithms for identifying clinical outcomes (e.g., myocardial infarction, heart failure) using health administrative data (e.g., hospitalization, emergency department), laboratory data (e.g., Ontario Laboratory Information System), and clinical registries (e.g., CorHealth cardiac procedures).
  • Development of novel methods for using ‘big data’ to conduct clinical trials.

If you are unsure of the relevance of your project in relation to the CANHEART SPOR initiative, please submit a brief project description to the CANHEART office ( in advance of the competition deadline for review.


II. Application process

This studentship is open to health sciences, epidemiology, biostatistics, and public health students, medical students and students enrolled in course-based (i.e. non-research-based) graduate programs.  Interested students are invited to submit an application, including a brief description of the summer research project, in association with a CANHEART SPOR investigator. The research project must be related to the CANHEART SPOR initiative  in order to be considered for funding.  It is a goal that all research projects will result in a paper that is submitted for publication no later than March 2019.

Students who will be graduating from their programs prior to the commencement of the summer research term must indicate they have applied for an academic program to start the following September. Please note that funding will be released on the condition that students submit written verification of enrollment in the intended university program.

Interested students are encouraged to contact a CANHEART SPOR investigator directly to develop a research project (see investigator page).

Successful applicants will be invited to participate in a CANHEART SPOR-related research project for 3 months during the summer, beginning June 01, 2018. The exact start date can be modified if necessary.

Students will be paid in accordance with the CIHR recommended level of student bursaries for 3-month duration over the summer.  All successful students will be expected to present their research protocol and end of project results in a summer student seminar.

A CANHEART SPOR investigator may be awarded a maximum of 1 summer student per competition.


III. Application requirements

All student applicants are required to submit the following:

  • Curriculum Vitae/CV
  • A Letter describing their research interests and how the proposed research project will enhance their academic training
  • A 1 page description of the proposed student research project (Projects can have an analysis component but may also include systematic reviews, meta-analyses, etc., related to the CANHEART SPOR initiative and should be able to be completed during the 3 month term)
  • A letter of support from the proposed CANHEART SPOR supervising investigator
  • 2 Letters of support from university faculty members (non CANHEART SPOR investigators) familiar with your work/studies

*Applicants cannot hold another summer studentship award concurrently with the CANHEART award

Send your completed application package to:

Tara O’Neill, CANHEART
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
G1 06, 2075 Bayview Ave.
Toronto, Ontario, M4N 3M5
Telephone: 416-480-4055 ext. 3119
Fax: 416-480-6048


IV. Application due date & notification

The deadline for applications is Friday, March 16th by 5pm.  All applications will be adjudicated by a panel of CANHEART SPOR investigators and applicants will be notified by end of March 2018 of the results of the competition.

Funds to support this student training initiative are provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Initiative.