Canadian Blood Services Fellowship for a CBR Graduate Student

This post first appeared on the Canadian Blood Services blog.

By Jenny Ryan

Canadian Blood Services’ Graduate Fellowship Program provides support for young investigators who want to initiate or continue training in the field of transfusion science. Graduate students undertaking full-time research training at a Canadian academic institution are invited to apply. The fellowship has a value of $25,000 per annum with an additional travel allowance of $1,000 per year of support. Students may be supported for a maximum of four years, with a requirement for successful renewal halfway through the fellowship.

Deb Chen, PhD Candidate in Dr. Dana Devine’s lab

Through programs like the Graduate Fellowship Program, Canadian Blood Services provides bright and eager minds the support they need to pursue careers in transfusion science and medicine.

Deb Chen is a graduate student at the Center for Blood Research at the University of British Columbia who has used the fellowship stipend to work on two major projects focusing on red blood cells. Chen’s research is helping us understand how treatments, like gamma irradiation, and various new technologies, may affect blood quality.

Established in 2000, this fellowship program provides stipends on a competitive basis to students pursuing graduate degrees in transfusion science research at Canadian academic institutions. Canadian Blood Services’ graduate fellows receive an annual stipend, with additional funds to support travel to conferences and events.

What sorts of projects fall under the umbrella of “transfusion science”? Projects funded in the 2016-2017 competition included research on antibodies that could offer alternatives to intravenous immunoglobulins, additives for storage of red blood cells at -80°C, and the development of universal blood cells.

Graduate students apply for a fellowship to support their dissertation projects, and they are evaluated on the project’s alignment with Canadian Blood Services’ Centre for Innovation research priorities, the merit of the proposed research project, and their qualifications, as well as the quality of the environment they’re training in.

The program has a global reach with a national focus. Attracting applicants from all across Canada, the fellowship is open to students of all nationalities studying at a Canadian academic institution.

An important benefit of the fellowship is the annual travel stipend that allows participants to participate in conferences, presenting their work and engaging with the national and international research community.

Chen stresses the benefits of articulating her research to a worldwide group of peers, and exchanging ideas with them.

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