Research Opportunities for DVM Students

Summer Research Training Program

The Summer Research Training Program helps veterinary students explore research-focused career paths.

I did a lot of research as an undergrad, but I never had my own personal project, so it was nice to be able to have input and ideas about what to do.

Michelle Piccione, Class of 2016

The Summer Research Training Program at Illinois is one of many similar programs nationally and internationally and is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and Merial Veterinary Scholars Program. Students receive a stipend for participation in the program.

During the 10-week program, students are expected to:

  • Work on a research project in the mentor’s laboratory for 40 hours per week
  • Complete training modules to learn about laboratory safety and the use of animals and human subjects in research
  • Complete training in the ethical conduct of scientific research
  • Attend a weekly seminar covering topics from research compliance to career opportunities and career planning. Careers in academia, industry, and government are discussed.  Attend a weekly session on scientific writing and learn to write an abstract and a short manuscript, and prepare a poster presentation
  • Participate in a field trip to pharmaceutical companies and in a visit to meet veterinary students in the summer research program at Purdue University
  • Write a research abstract and submit it to the Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholars Symposium
  • Prepare a poster describing their research project and present it at the Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholars Symposium
  • Prepare a short manuscript describing the research project and its results
  • If you have questions regarding the application process, please send an email to the Program Director ( prior to submitting an application.

2016 Summer Research Training Program Information

  • The program will begin on Monday, May 23, and end on Friday, July 29, 2016.
  • Students will receive a stipend of $4775 for participation in the program.
  • Complete the online application form by February 1, 2016.


    Application Process

    Eligibility Requirements

    • Enrollment in the first or second year of veterinary school at the time of application.
    • A cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the DVM curriculum.
    • Career interests that would benefit from research training. (Veterinary students from other universities are encouraged to apply.)

    Submitting Your Application

    • Complete the online application form.
    • The application deadline for the program is February 1, 2016.

    Selection Process

    • All applications will be reviewed by the program’s Scientific Steering Committee.
    • Academic record, application information and professional references will be considered in the review process.
    • The student-mentor matching process will begin immediately after the application deadline and continue until all places in the program are filled.

    Student-Mentor Matching

    • Students will be matched with mentors based on the student’s statement of interests and availability of research projects. Applicants may learn about potential mentors below under “Meet our Mentors.”
    • Students will be notified of a potential match in the program and will meet with the mentor to discuss possible research projects. Following that meeting, the student and mentor will provide feedback to the program’s committee to indicate whether they have agreed to work together.
  • Other Summer Research Opportunities

    View the list of institutions participating in the Merial Veterinary Scholars Program.

    See the summer opportunities available through Morris Animal Foundation.

  • Orientation and Seminar Schedule for 2015

    Orientation Week

    Monday, May 19 Program Overview (Dr. Lois Hoyer) 9 am
    Animal Use in Research (Dr. Judith Van Cleeff) 10 am
    Responsible Conduct of Research: Research misconduct, mentor-trainee relationships, data management 11 am
    Tuesday, May 20 Academic vs. Industry Careers (Dr. Mike Biehl) 9 am
    Responsible Conduct of Research:  Collaborative Research, authorship, peer review 10:30 am
    Wednesday, May 21  The Electronic Library (Erin Kerby, Vet Med Librarian) 9 am
    Human Subjects in Research (Anita Balgopal, Director, Institutional Review Board) 11 am
    Thursday, May 22Field Trip to Pharmaceutical Companies (Indianapolis Area)

    Seminar Series

    June 3Careers in Laboratory Animal Medicine
    June 17Careers Roundtable Discussion
    June 24Careers Roundtable Discussion
    July 8Careers Roundtable Discussion

    Scientific Writing Sessions

    June 3What is Your Hypothesis? / Writing a Methods Section
    June 17Drawing in Powerpoint/Discussion of Poster Templates (Nancy Oliver from The Design Group)
    June 24Constructing Tables and Figures
    July 8Writing an Introduction to a Manuscript
    July 15Writing a Results and Discussion Section for Your Manuscript
  • Meet our Mentors

    A listing of program mentors is provided below. Additional mentors may be added to this list to accommodate student research interests.

    Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

    Department of Animal Biology

    Department of Animal Sciences

    Department of Comparative Biosciences

    Department of Chemistry

    Department of Entomology

    Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

    Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

    Department of Microbiology

    Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology

    Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

    Department of Pathobiology

    Department of Psychology

    Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine

  • FAQs

  • Is participation in the program a full-time commitment?

    Yes, the program is a full-time commitment. You are expected to work 40 hours per week during the program. By accepting a traineeship in the Summer Research Training Program, it is expected that you will not participate in other programs or expect vacation time during the program’s 10-week duration.

  • What will my hours and schedule be?

    Hours and scheduling will vary depending on your project (for example, lab work vs. field work) and are determined by your mentor.

  • Can I hold another job as long as it does not interfere with the Summer Research Training Program?

    Many students use the summer to earn as much money as they can to finance their education and living expenses. It is common for students who are participating in the Summer Research Training Program to hold a part-time job, either on or off campus. These students work in the evenings or on weekends, when they are not committed to their research project. Because of the way that the Summer Research Training Program pays its stipends, students who hold an hourly job on the university campus cannot work more than 6 hours per week at the other campus job. Failure to disclose the second job will delay processing of paychecks.

  • Is my summer stipend taxable?

    Funds may be considered taxable income to the recipient, but are not reported as taxable income by the University on Forms W-2 or 1099-MISC. Taxability of the stipend depends on personal circumstances, so it is advisable to consult with a tax professional for advice on your own situation.

  • Do I need to choose a mentor prior to applying?

    No. Mentors and students are matched based on the student’s statement of interests and the research projects available in a given year. You should not select a mentor prior to completing an application.