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Biological Sciences @ UTSC

Undergraduate Research Events & Prizes

The University of Toronto is well-known for its dynamic research environment, and U of T Scarborough is committed to fostering opportunities for undergraduate research experiences. As part of this commitment, the UTSC Office of the Vice-Principal Research and the UTSC Library launched two research initiatives in 2016: the UTSC Undergraduate Research Poster Forum and the UTSC Undergraduate Research Prize. A third opportunity for recognition exists through the U of T Library system's Research Prize.

Each program provides an opportunity for students who have excelled in research, scholarship and creative activities to showcase their research and win cash prizes.

More Information

UTSC Undergraduate Research Poster Forum - Application deadline: February 24, 2020 at noon (firm deadline)

UTSC Undergraduate Research Prize - Application deadline: April 2, 2020 at 11:59 pm

University of Toronto Libraries Undergraduate Research Prize - Application deadline: TBD

UTSC Undergraduate Research Poster Forum

The UTSC Library and the Office of the Vice-Principal Research proudly sponsor the Undergraduate Research Poster Forum to showcase the significant research contributions of talented UTSC undergraduates. The forum is a competitive, adjudicated event that promotes intellectual exchange and gives students an opportunity to develop presentation skills by disseminating new research and creative activities both to academic communities and non-specialists. The forum provides the perfect opportunity for students interested in becoming involved in research to learn more about what other students have already done.


The forum is appropriate for all UTSC undergraduate students who:

  1. Are in the latter or final stages of a research or creative project,
  2. Have at least preliminary results to report, and/or
  3. Are ready to publicly present their research or creative project in a juried setting.


What are students being judged on?

Students are invited to submit proposals that demonstrate research that addresses issues of local, national and global importance, and that connect with the University of Toronto’s Strategic Research Plan. This year the focus is on Knowledge Translation (KT), which refers to the translation of research results into knowledge available to others beyond academia. KT moves research from the laboratory, the research journal, and the academic conference into the hands of people who can put it to practical use. It includes synthesis, multiple ways of presentation and distribution, exchange, and ethical application of knowledge for the purpose of benefiting knowledge users and improving lives. Research results must be presented in accessible, non-technical language, images and graphs that can be understood by a layperson or non-specialist as well as by the expert. One main objective is to make research understandable without trivializing or over-simplifying. Such is the challenge of Knowledge Translation!

A panel of judges will evaluate each poster presentation based on students' presentation of their work, based on the following evaluation criteria: Content & Comprehension; Visual Information & Organization; Communication; Engagement; Citations, References, & Context. Students should be prepared to explain their poster to a judge who is not familiar with their field. Please refer to the detailed judging rubric (pending) for additional information.

Application Process

Students will fill out a poster proposal submission that includes a short description of their topic and a 250-300 word abstract of their work, together with a faculty support form. Once complete, both documents should be emailed to Nina Adamo.

Twenty proposals will be selected from among the submissions for the Research Poster Forum. Successful applicants will be contacted by March 5th. To help prepare for the Forum, students will be invited to participate in a mandatory research skills and poster workshop on either March 7th or 8th.

Important Dates

  • Submission deadline: February 26, 2019 at 8:00am (firm deadline)
  • Finalists contacted: March 5, 2019
  • Research Skills and Poster Presentation Information Session for finalists (mandatory): March 7 or 8, 2019 - invitation will be sent to the finalists with details of time and location.
  • Final Poster submission deadline: March 25, 2019 at 8:00am sharp
  • Research Poster Forum:  Tuesday, April 2, 2019 in the UTSC Library Makerspace and Reading Room

Students are also encouraged to work with their liaison librarians


Cash prizes of $1000, $500 and $250 will be awarded to first, second and third place winners, who will also be invited to have a digital version of their poster available in TSpace

All twenty final participants will receive a Certificate of Participation and will receive a notation on their transcript as part of Co-Curricular Record program.  

Prizes are jointly funded by the UTSC Library and the Office of the Vice-Principal, Research.

More Information

Contact your liaison librarian or review our Frequently Asked Questions.

If you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please advise Nina Adamo or the AccessAbility Services Office before the submission deadline.

UTSC Library Undergraduate Research Prize

The UTSC Undergraduate Research Prize honours UTSC students who have excelled in research, scholarship and creative activities in the classroom and beyond. This prize will recognize the research and creative activities of undergraduate students, their overall contribution to the University of Toronto Scarborough, and illustrate the role of the library in the research process. The project may take many forms such as a traditional paper, a database, a website, digital project or creative expression. 

The UTSC Undergraduate Student Research Prize is a financial prize sponsored jointly by the UTSC Library and UTSC Office of the Vice-Principal Research. It is open to all students who are currently registered as UTSC students and have completed their first year of study. 

Recipients of the UTSC Undergraduate Research Prize will be recognized at the UTSC annual faculty and staff Celebration of Distinguished Services in June. Prize winning projects and/or recipients will also be featured on the UTSC Library website and OVPR website and invited to be archived on TSpace.


The prize is open to all undergraduate students who meet the following criteria:

  • currently enrolled at UTSC;
  • completed their first year of study (completion of 3.5 credits)
  • student is principal investigator;
  • individual or group research projects completed within the previous year (Spring 2018/Summer 2018, Fall 2018 or Winter 2019)
  • participated in meaningful engagement with their liaison librarian (for example active participation in course research workshops or in depth research consultations)


What are students being judged on? 

The prizes(s) will be awarded primarily on the basis of the quality of the research project(s) and the illustration of the use of scholarly resources in the research process. Please refer to the detailed judging rubric for additional information.

The Judging Committee shall consist of UTSC faculty members, librarians, and representatives of the Office of the Vice-Principal, Research and Office of the Chief Librarian, who will act as Committee Co-Chairs.

How to Apply

Application for the UTSC Undergraduate Research Prize will be made by the undergraduate student and will consist of the following:

  • Personal data: Full name, UTSC department, current program, unofficial transcript, dates of library research workshop/consultation(s);
  • 2-page description of research project using clear, non-specialist language such that a general scholarly audience can understand the research. Include also the wider implications of the project as well as a note on the student's other research accomplishments;
  • A written statement (letter or email) by a librarian familiar with the applicant regarding the student's engagement in the research process (e.g. active participation in course research workshops or in depth research consultations);
  • A signed reference letter on departmental letterhead from a U of T Scarborough faculty member or course instructor regarding the student's engagement in the research process as applicable (e.g. conceptualization of research design, execution of research, data collection, interpretation of data, etc.);
  • A copy of the submitted research assignment (e.g. paper, website, presentation). If the research assignment cannot be submitted in an electronic format (e.g. a video, music performance, artwork) please email Sarah Guay.

Applications must be submitted electronically as a single PDF file to

  • April 8, 2019, 11:59pm EDT -- Application deadline
  • End of May/Early June 2019 -- Winners announced
  • June 2019 -- Prizes awarded


Up to 3 cash prizes of $1000 will be given out annually, one each for projects in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences. The judges evaluate the projects on their quality and reserve the right to award prizes in one, two, or all three of these categories.

More Information

Contact your liaison librarian or review our Frequently Asked Questions.