Self-directed Research Abroad

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

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 for 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 between $1000 -2000 to support students participating in self-directed research placements on a competitive basis. Go Global is currently accepting applications for the Self-Directed Research Abroad Award for Term 2 (January - April, 2022).  

Placements starting during UBC term: Application deadline Award decision made by:
Winter Session Term 2
(January - April 2022)
November 25, 2021 December 17, 2021 

Summer 2022
(May - August)

March 10, 2021 (Applications open in January, 2022)

April 7, 2022

Winter Session Term 1
(September - December 2022)

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 PhD)
  • 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

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

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). 

Other funding and programs

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.

    If you have questions

    You can contact Go Global by email, phone, in-person or virtually through Zoom.

    Booking a virtual advising appointment

    If you need to book an advising appointment, please complete the online request form. Appointments will be held through Zoom or by phone, and can be scheduled between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm PT from Monday to Friday. 

    If you require an appointment outside of these hours, contact Go Global and they will do their best to accommodate. Appointments outside of regular hours can only be accommodated virtually.

    In-person drop-in advising hours

    Starting Tuesday, Sep 7, Go Global will offer in-person drop-in advising at the UBC Life Building during the times below:

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

    Go Global 101: Virtual group advising sessions on Fridays

    Sign up to attend a Friday group advising session online and learn more about the programs, talk to an advisor, or meet other students interested in Go Global programs.