College of Veterinary Medicine

WU-VSP: Merial Sponsored Program


Program Mission:

Merial LogoThe mission of the Merial Veterinary Scholars Program (MVSP) is to provide an opportunity for veterinary schools to expose first and second year veterinary students to biomedical research through a scholar internship program. By providing a supportive research environment in an established laboratory together with seminars and discussion groups on careers in science, it is hoped that students will consider the pursuit of a career in biomedical research as one of their options after completing their veterinary degree.

Expectations and support:

Each scholar receives a stipend of $5,000 for full-time involvement in research during the program. Scholars are expected to attend all group training opportunities offered by the program and present a poster at the NIH-symposium meeting scheduled at the end of the summer. Registration fees, travel costs and poster preparation will be covered.

Individual projects should enable the student to formulate a testable hypothesis, identify specific objectives, conduct research, interpret data and present their findings in the form of an abstract and/or poster. Demonstration of the use of biomedical research skills in specialty fields (e.g. Pathology, Toxicology, Laboratory Animal Medicine, Pharmacology, Clinical, and Imaging) is desirable.

Students Eligibility:

Students must have completed at least one year of a DVM curriculum, be currently enrolled, and in good academic standing at their University. Students must commit to attending all training opportunities, including the Merial-NIH Symposium. One position may be filled by a student from another veterinary school as long as they can accommodate the WU-VRSP start and end dates; this student must meet the same requirements as WesternU students, demonstrate English proficiency, and have established a working relationship with one of the WesternU VRSP research mentors, as evidenced by the grant application (see selection criteria). WesternU will welcome students in the European programs as long as they meet the criteria for eligibility. This program is especially relevant to students interested in exploring biomedical research. Students without prior research experience are encouraged to apply. Mentors are limited to one application and must therefore select the trainee that they will support through this mechanism.

Application process:

Students applying for the Merial Veterinary Scholars Program will need to submit the following documents to the CVM Office of Research by February 13, 2018 to complete the application process:

  1. A completed WU-Veterinary Research Scholars Application form
  2. A project description: see template and  instructions for Scholar Research Plan for Intramural Applications
  3. A letter of support from the proposed mentor: The letter must discuss the source of funding that will cover consumables and supplies, list any funds available to support student’s stipend, along with a description of the availability of the mentor to work with the trainee during the duration of the program. The mentor is required to provide a statement identifying the student’s role in the research. Mentors should also commit to ensuring participation of their scholar to all group training sessions.
  4. For projects involving animals / human subjects, an IACUC/IRB application must be attached to the application. The protocol MUST be approved prior to the start of the project and release of funding.

Selection process:

Scholars will be selected based on the scientific merit of the project, its feasibility within the timeframe of the program, its relevance to the career goals of the student and to the field of biomedical research, and the breadth of learning objectives. The scoring system used to evaluate these applications is available here.