A decade of support for undergrad research

- Jennifer Kwan

Kiera Powell Smith's JCURA presentation on tree rings

Annual JCURA spotlight now a fixture of Ideafest

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards (JCURA) have supported 1,013 undergraduates in every discipline on research topics ranging from mindful meditation’s effect on stress, attention and exam performance to the biological impacts of a transition to solar energy.

Established in 2009 by the Vice-President Academic and Provost—a position then held by UVic President Jamie Cassels—the goal of the $1,500-a-year award is to encourage undergraduates to pursue innovative and original research, to enhance learning and to lay the groundwork for graduate studies or a research-related career. Senate named the awards at the end of Cassels’ term as Provost in recognition of his commitment to the integration of teaching and research.

UVic’s vision is to integrate outstanding scholarship, engaged learning and real-life involvement to contribute to a better future for people and the planet. The JCURA awards program is one way to achieve that vision—by helping to provide a dynamic learning environment for students.

“UVic has invested in this program over the past 10 years because we are committed to providing students with a rich, highly engaged research experience they can take forward in their academic careers and the community,” Cassels explains. “The awards reflect our commitment to being Canada’s leader in research-enriched and experiential learning.”

The program, which provides students with a faculty supervisor mentor, can open other doors as well. Last year, three UVic students received the 3M Canada National Student Fellowship, helping the university clinch an unprecedented triple win. It was the first time in the award’s history that three students from the same post-secondary institution won in the same year. Two of those recipients—economics student Maxwell Nicholson and anthropology and environmental studies student Michael Graeme—were also JCURA recipients.

For 2018-19, 128 students were funded—more than double the number of awards granted in the program’s first year.

The 10th annual celebration of undergraduate research awards takes place during this year’s Ideafest on Wednesday, March 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event will be held at the Student Union Building, Michele Pujol Room and Upper Lounge.


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Keywords: research, student life, ideafest

Publication: The Ring

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