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UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 01 | Jan. 11, 2001

Faculty to lead national student research program

Program designed to encourage students to pursue research career in Pharmaceutical Sciences

by Hilary Thomson staff writer

A member of UBC's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences has been granted $50,000 US from the Merck Company Foundation to create a national summer research program for undergraduate pharmacy students.

The Merck Foundation Undergraduate Pharmacy Student Research Program will offer fellowships of $5,000 US to one student at each of Canada's nine pharmacy schools. It will be administered by Assoc. Prof. Kishor Wasan who directs the faculty's Summer Student Research Program (SSRP).

The support provides student salaries, project supplies, and travel costs for students to present their research at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences.

"This support is a significant recognition of UBC's commitment to undergraduate research and to the faculty's leadership in this area," says Frank Abbott, dean of Pharmaceutical Sciences. "The project will link both students and their supervisors at pharmacy schools right across the country."

The fellowship will be the premier award offered in the faculty's summer student research program. Started in 1989, the program has seen rapid expansion under Wasan's direction. Last year enrolment in the program jumped to 41 students from the 11-student roster in 1998.

The program aims to introduce undergraduate students to the diversity of pharmacy research and encourage students to consider a career as a research scientist. Addressing the major shortage of pharmaceutical scientists in industry and academia is one of the program's objectives.

"We're pleased to give national exposure to our successful undergraduate research model," says Wasan, a faculty member since 1995 and chair of the division of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. "We hope our program can revitalize or create similar programs at other schools."

Promoting undergraduate research is a goal of Trek 2000, the university's vision document.

The program also helps raise awareness in the research and academic communities about pharmacy education and research.

"We don't just train pharmacists here," says Wasan. "We train pharmaceutical scientists."

Each school of pharmacy will select a fellowship student by early March. All nine recipients will be announced in mid-May. Funding covers the period mid-May to mid-August. Students will submit a report to Wasan and present their findings at the annual conference of the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Funding renewal will be considered at the end of the first year of the fellowship program.

The Merck Company Foundation, whose mandate includes support of education, already has a national U.S. summer student research program that involves 18 of the 80 U.S. pharmacy programs.

There are schools of pharmacy at the universities of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Toronto, as well as Laval, Montreal, Memorial, and Dalhousie University.

For more information check the faculty newsletter on the Web site at www.ubcpharmacy.org.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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