Self-directed Research Abroad

UBC graduate and undergraduate students are eligible to receive funding for international research placements.

Self-Directed Research Abroad Award paused until April 2024

The Self-Directed Research Abroad Award has been paused until April 2024. More information for summer 2024 applications will be available in January 2024. Please find additional opportunuities on our Summer Programs page and the Non-Go Global Opportunities page. 

What is self-directed research abroad?

Students take part in research at a recognized university or research institute under the supervision of a host academic. A student or UBC faculty member wishing to send students abroad for the purposes of academic collaboration can start a placement. While away, students build an international network of academics in their research area. There is no set time frame or deadline for planning and doing research abroad; however, it's recommended that students begin preparing 3 to 6 months in advance of anticipated departure.

Funding: Go Global Self-Directed Research Abroad Award

Go Global offers a Self-Directed Research Abroad Award valued at $1000 to support students participating in self-directed research placements on a competitive basis.

Placements starting during UBC term:  Application deadline Award decision made by: 
Summer 2023
(May - August)
March 23, 2023  Mid April 
Winter Session Term 1
(September - December 2023)
Applications open in June
Application deadline July 13, 2023

Mid August

Winter Session Term 2
(January - April 2024)

Applications open October 5 
Application deadline November 16, 2023
Mid December

Eligibility criteria

  • UBC degree-seeking student in good standing
  • Research activity takes place at a recognized university or institute outside of Canada (i.e. accredited university, or university- or government-affiliated research institute)
  • Obtain an academic supervisor at the host institution (supervisor must hold a Ph.D.)
  • Placement must be at least 4 weeks in duration
  • Preference is given to students participating in unpaid, full-time research (30 – 40 hours per week)
  • Obtain support or supervision from a UBC faculty member
  • Meet the requirements of the host institution to be a visiting researcher or student (vary by institution)
  • Students must review the UBC Student Safety Abroad Learning Modules, attend a UBC Student Safety Briefing offered by Go Global, and complete the UBC Student Safety Abroad Travel Registry prior to departure
  • Submit a completion survey one month following the research placement
  • Students are eligible to receive one Self-directed research abroad award per UBC program

What type of activity is not eligible for this award?

  • Field research that is not specifically supervised by a host supervisor at a recognized research institution (e.g. data collection in the field)
  • Attendance at research conferences or workshops
  • Academic courses
  • Internships at community organizations, businesses or governmental agencies

Selection Criteria

Awards are offered on a competitive basis to students that demonstrate how the research experience connects with their educational and career goals. Students should demonstrate financial need through the submission of a detailed budget accounting for all funding sources and costs.  

How to apply

Students are encouraged to review the Mitacs Globalink Award to determine if your research experience may be eligible for 

Apply online using Go Global’s Gateway System by searching for the “Self-Directed Research Abroad”. You will need to include:

  • A research plan outlining your duties and role at the host institution
  • A personal statement describing the value of the research placement as it relates to your academic studies and career goals
  • The location and dates of your research visit
  • Host supervisor contact information
  • A letter from your research host supervisor confirming their supervision of you during the research period
  • A detailed budget outlining the projected costs associated with the placement listing any other sources of funding (i.e. salary, stipend, other funding). 

Budget Template (xlsx)

Faculty Endorsement Form 2019 (pdf)

Additional Funding Sources: 

Mitacs Globalink offers additional funding for student research abroad. Please review this site to learn more about the eligibility criteria and how to apply. Any questions related to Mitacs awards should be directed to the team at Mitacs. 

 How to find a host supervisor

Tips on finding a supervisor

Students are responsible for arranging their own host supervisor.  Go Global can help you strategize and plan your supervisor search, and research experience.

  • Consider your areas of interest, the type of research you’d like to do, and potential locations
  • Begin exploring potential supervisors or host research labs/groups
  • Contact potential supervisors to discuss your interests, confirm supervision and agree on dates. See below for tips on how to obtain a supervisor at a host university
  • Use your network – talk to professors here on campus about their international networks in their field
  • If you want to go to a specific university, check its faculty listings and contact a professor who is doing research in your area of interest
  • Search online for labs or research groups that are currently looking for new members – often they will have extra work that needs to be done
  • Read research papers and contact professors whose research interests you
Responsibilities of a host supervisor

The role of a research supervisor can vary depending on the situation. But there are some basic responsibilities expected of a host supervisor and their department or lab staff:

Provide a letter of invitation to the student listing details of supervision, dates of research and a description of the student’s activity at the host university

Provide other documentation that may be required for visa purposes

Ensure that the student has access to the appropriate lab and/or working space, internet access and computing facilities

Discuss the objectives and outputs expected for the student’s project

Meet with the student regularly to discuss progress and provide guidance

Safety orientation, if applicable

Helps the student navigate the university and communicate with administrative officials if needed.


Host universities may charge administrative or registration fees to visiting students. In some cases, these fees can be waived under the terms of an existing agreement between UBC and that institution. Please contact the Research Abroad Advisor for further information.


In-person and Virtual Drop-in advising hours

  • Tuesday: 1:00 - 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Go Global offers both in-person and virtual drop-in advising through Zoom during the times listed above.