OBW Summer Research Program
The application deadline for the 2014 Summer Research Program, to which the information below pertains, has now passed. New information on the 2015 program will be posted here in the fall of 2014.

Contents

The following links are to help you navigate through the sections of this page:

Introduction and General Information

The Ontario/Baden-Württemberg Summer Research Program is open to Ontario graduate and undergraduate students in science, engineering, and health science disciplines. Each successful applicant will spend between 2 calendar months (minimum) and 4 calendar months (maximum) in summer 2014 at a university in Baden-Württemberg (southwest Germany) engaged in research projects relevant to her/his studies in Ontario.

Using funds provided by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the Ontario/Baden-Württemberg Student Exchange Program (OBW) will award a scholarship to each selected participant (scholarship levels for 2015 tba). Nominated students may also seek further financial assistance at their home universities.

Undergraduate students must be in at least the second year of their studies when applying, and graduate students may apply at any stage of their studies. With regard to undergraduate students, some priority will be given to students who are at more advanced stages of their studies.

Participants must be citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

Appropriate academic credit may be granted for participation in this program at the discretion of the student’s home university.

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How a Research Placement Works

The OBW Summer Research Program offers international educational opportunities. Participants are officially considered to be students and are not considered to be in either an internship or an employment relationship with the host professor or university. Students should neither enquire about nor expect any financial remuneration from the hosting professor or university.

Throughout the period covered by their scholarship, participants should expect to commit approximately 30 hours per week, on average, to tasks assigned to them as part of their placement.

These tasks should constitute a meaningful and beneficial learning experience for the student, should provide them with the opportunity to interact with and learn from researchers in their area, and should be appropriate to their level of study. Successful applicants will be required to negotiate an agreement defining their responsibilities before beginning the placement and to provide a copy of this agreement, signed by the host and by the participating student, to the OBW Program Office before the placement commences. This is a condition of eligibility for the OBW Summer Research Scholarship. Please use one of the downloadable forms designed for this purpose (links at the bottom of this page).

For practical reasons (not least paying rent for private accommodation) placements should be planned to coordinate with calendar months (e.g., June 1 to July 31, not June 15 to August 15). Participants are required actually to begin their placement by the 5th day of the first month and to remain in their placement until the end of the final month.

Participants who wish to travel extensively in Germany and beyond should schedule such travel outside the period of their placement.

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Practicalities

Knowledge of German is not required for participation, so long as the receiving professor is aware of the level of the nominee’s language skills and agrees to host the student. Some knowledge of German would of course enhance the student’s experience. (Given the individual nature of the research placements, the OBW Program is unable to organize any German language instruction for Summer Research Program participants.)

The International Office of the hosting university will, where possible, assist the participating student in the search for accommodation (in some cases in a student residence), but the provision of accommodation cannot be guaranteed. Participants should enquire with the hosting professor/department about any other possibilities.

As a non-negotiable condition of eligibility for the OBW Summer Research Scholarship, participating students are required to purchase specific health insurance in Germany to cover their time at a university in Baden-Württemberg. Further information on this requirement will be communicated to participants following their acceptance into the Program.

Students may not participate more than once at any given level (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate) of their studies. Preference will be given to applicants who have not participated previously.

Following their research stay, participants are required as a condition of the OBW Summer Research Program scholarship to submit a report to the OBW Program on their activities and experiences in Baden-Württemberg.

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How to Apply (8 Easy Steps!)....

If you wish to prepare and submit an application, please follow these steps carefully:

1. Identify your Potential Host Professor (Fall Term)

Each student must have a prearranged placement when she/he applies to the Summer Research Program.

Your first responsibility is therefore to identify a potential host professor at one of the 9 universities in Baden-Württemberg. She/he should be engaged in research in an area that is relevant to your program of studies. The objective is to identify a situation where you will both contribute to and learn from ongoing research activity in Germany. Your resources in looking for a potential host should be:

  • Professors in your area of study at your home university; you will need to ask around: in many cases, students have secured placements with the help of an Ontario professor who has academic contacts with a university researcher in her/his own discipline at a university in Baden-Württemberg; and/or
  • Your own research skills, primarily using the links to the Baden-Württemberg universities on this website; you may also try asking other exchange students from Germany in the OBW facebook group (if you do this, you should explain that your specific interest is in the Summer Research Program).

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2. Contact your Potential Host Professor (Fall Term)

This is not particularly complicated or difficult, but how you do it will depend on the university at which the professor is based.

If your potential host professor is based at the Universität Freiburg, the Universität Heidelberg, the Universität Hohenheim, KIT (Karlsruhe), the Universität Konstanz, the Universität Stuttgart, the Universität Tübingen, or the Universität Ulm, it will be your responsibility to initiate contact with the professor directly. It is perfectly acceptable for you to write in English, and professors at these universities have been in general very receptive to Ontario students' requests for research placements. There are however certain points that it is especially important to emphasize:

  • You should state clearly that your enquiry is related to the application that you are preparing to the Summer Research Program operated by the Ontario/Baden-Württemberg (OBW) Student Exchange Program. Since individual professors may not be familiar with the OBW Program, the following language may help you explain the official status of the OBW program:
    The Ontario-Baden-Württemberg Student Exchange Program (OBW) is a collaborative project of 12 universities in Ontario and all 9 research universities in Baden-Württemberg. It is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and by the Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg. Further information on the program is available online at obw.ouinternational.ca and from every Baden-Württemberg university’s International Office.
  • In addition to describing yourself (it is a good idea to attach a cv) and your academic/scientific training and experience, you should consider what skills and background you can offer that would make a professor’s experience of hosting you, an international student from Ontario, a positive one.
  • While explaining that you hope to secure a position in which, in a supervised environment, you will be able to contribute to research that is ongoing at the host university, you should make it absolutely clear that you are not looking for remuneration from your potential host.

If the research that is most relevant to your interests is being conducted at the Universität Mannheim, you should not contact the professor directly. Instead, you must write to the person responsible at the International Office of the university in question, explaining that you are preparing an application to the OBW Summer Research Program (the person will be familiar with the program), explaining your particular scientific interests, and providing information about yourself (see above) that is relevant to your request. That person will then contact the relevant professor(s) or institute(s) (i.e., department(s)) on your behalf. The process for Mannheim is as follows:

  • Identify possible institutes, decide on exact exchange period (full months only), and then contact the aaa [at] verwaltung [dot] uni-mannheim [dot] de (International Office).

Note: If you have identified a potential host professor at one of these 2 universities with the help of a professor at your home university, and if that professor is willing to write directly to her/his colleague in Germany, that is of course absolutely fine. In such a situation, you must also write to the International Office of the relevant Baden-Württemberg university explaining that that process has been initiated.

All Baden-Württemberg universities: in making these contacts, there are two general principles to keep in mind:

  • You are requested not to make parallel enquiries regarding different potential placements; and
  • Your objective at this point is to secure a concise confirmation (usually by email) that the professor/institute agrees to host you for a stated period, should your application to the Summer Research Program be successful; if your application is successful, you will subsequently be required to conclude a more detailed, formal duties agreement with the host professor.

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3. Contact OBW Program (Fall Term)

As soon as you have a potential placement secured, you are requested to inform the OBW Program Offices in both ddarby [at] ouinternational [dot] ca (Ontario) and exchange [dot] programs [at] uni-konstanz [dot] de (Baden-Württemberg) of the details.

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4. Application to OBW Summer Research Program (Deadline Set by Home University)

The complete application must be submitted to the International Exchange Office of the applicant’s home university in Ontario. Each participating Ontario university sets its own application deadline. Applicants should enquire about the local deadline at their home university.

The application (original, plus a scanned pdf version of all documents) should consist of:

  • The application form (2 pages), available for download here, completed and printed out, and then signed by you;
  • A brief statement (max. 1 page) expressing your reasons, academic and personal, for wishing to participate in this international program;
  • Copies of academic transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended since September 2011;
  • A letter of nomination from a professor in your home department/program briefly explaining the importance of participation in the OBW Summer Research Program in the context of your degree program , the reasons for nominating you, and, if appropriate, the kind of credit you might receive for the work done in Germany (please advise your nominating professor that her/his letter must contain the information listed here);
  • A letter (or printout of an e-mail) from the professor at a Baden-Württemberg university stating a willingness to involve you in an ongoing, relevant research project in a meaningful capacity for a specified period of time between 2 calendar months (minimum) and 4 calendar months (maximum); this letter must indicate the precise duration of the research visit and outline briefly the activities in which the student will be engaged; and
  • Your own statement of a) what experience qualifies/prepares you to undertake the work outlined by the proposed host professor, and b) specifically how you expect the experience in Germany to contribute to your academic/professional development.

Students must submit their application by the deadline set by their home university. The complete application file, accompanied by a ranked list of each Ontario university’s candidates, should be forwarded by the nominee’s home university’s International Exchange Office to the OBW Student Exchange Program by December 16, 2013.

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5. Notification of Decision (February)

You will be notified of the outcome of your application as soon as possible in February. You must then inform the people (professor and/or international officer) with whom you have been in contact at the potential host university of the result, be it positive or negative.

Please note that the OBW Program reserves the right to determine the maximum length of participants' placements (and therefore the level of the scholarship awarded) when it notifies successful applicants of their acceptance into the program.

If your application is successful, you will be required to complete the following steps.

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6. Finalize and Submit SRP Duties Agreement (by March 1)

If your application to the Summer Research Program is successful, you will be required to conclude an agreement with your Host Professor describing your duties. It is the participating student's responsibility to make sure this step is completed promptly and to forward the completed and signed document to the OBW Program Office in Ontario. This is required as a condition of eligibility for the scholarship. You should use one of the following .pdf forms:

At this point, we also request that you read carefully, complete, sign, and return to the OBW office this important form:

In due course we will require that you send a completed, signed copy of our standard scholarship agreement to the OBW office:

And, on the subject of paperwork, you'll need to take this form to the international office at your host university when you have arrived in Germany:

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7. Apply for Admission to Host University (by March 1)

Yes, there’s a little more paperwork (but it’s worth it). Your host university will advise you on the local process for applying for admission to the university. This should not be too onerous, since you will already have provided most of the necessary documents with your OBW application.

This is also the time to begin making housing and travel arrangements. The international offices of the host universities that are able to help will advise you how to proceed at this point.

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8. Get Ready to Go to Germany

To help you with this, the OBW program is planning a half-day orientation workshop on Saturday, March 8 at Glendon College in Toronto.

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