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Home » CVR – VISTA Vision Science Summer School

CVR – VISTA Vision Science Summer School

July 5th - 9th, 2021

This program will be held virtually

The summer school features talks by our faculty, who are world leaders in vision science research. The curriculum reflects the wide range of research areas at CVR, and includes research on human visual perception, computer vision, machine learning, visual neuroscience, 3D film, immersive environments, disorders of vision, and more.

While this year's program will be virtual, we are working to create an interactive program, with hands-on research experiences, opportunities to talk to our graduate students and faculty, and social events with your fellow students.

This program is designed for undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing graduate studies and research in vision science

Thank you for your interest. Applications for the 2021 summer school are now closed.

Instructions for Applicants

  • Your statement of interest is the most important part of your application. We want to know why you want to attend the program, how this program fits into your academic plans, why we should pick you for the program, whether you have had the opportunity to engage in research, and anything else you think is important for us to know.
  • Please make sure you have your transcripts in unsecured PDF form before you begin to fill out the application form. We cannot put your application folder together if your transcripts are locked.
  • If you are applying from outside Canada or the USA, please calculate your GPA using this tool.
  • You will also need an academic reference letter from one of your professors.
    • The reference letter is the second most important piece of your application. It should include how long the professor has known you, your relationship (is/was the referee your teacher? someone you did research with/for?), and the professor's view of your academic ability and research potential.
    • Please do not send an employment reference letter.
    • Ask your referee to send the reference letter directly to
    • The email subject should be "reference letter - <your name>".
    • The deadline for the reference letter is March31st, 2021. It is your responsibility to make sure we get it on time.
  • You can access the application form here.

Gathertown is a virtual meeting space that (almost) replicates the experience of walking around a conference as an avatar. You can join group discussions, catch up with people you know or meet new people, or participate in games.

Getting Into Gathertown
Passcode: 4559


Basic Gathertown Instructions: Download the PDF here.
Our CVRSS Gathertown Help Page contains a troubleshooting & FAQ section and links to detailed instructions about certain features.

Technical Support

  • Our technical support assistant will be available to assist you with Gathertown issues you may during the event. Email with a description and (if possible) screenshots of your issue.
  • You can also get technical support at the Help Desk in the space's Lobby Room or by sending a message to the space's chat window.
  • In this handout, there's also a Gathertown troubleshooting & FAQ section (scroll down).

Having Connection Issues?

  • Gathertown recommends these system specifications:
    • 2.4GHZ dual core
    • 8GB RAM
    • 10 Mbps download speed
    • 3 Mbps upload speed
  • Lag increases as you connect to more Gathertown video streams. When connecting with 20 or more Gathertown video streams, Gathertown will be heavier on your system.
  • Download, install, and use the Gathertown Desktop which may help performance: (
  • Turn off HD video or smooth movement:
    • When you're in our Gathertown space, go to Settings > User Tab > Use HD Video Quality or Smooth Movement then turn one or both of the settings off.

Instructions for Using Gathertown

  1. Gather is available to Chrome and Firefox users. It may not work, or work as well, on other browsers.
  2. After you click our Gathertown link and enter the password, you'll see a screen where you can enter your name (use your full name so others can find you easily) and specify audio/visual preferences.
  3. Next, when you enter the room, there's a tutorial (takes less than a minute) to familiarize yourself with Gather Town. It covers:
    1. Moving around using your keyboard.
    2. Muting and unmuting yourself.
    3. Interacting with objects.
  4. Once you enter the space itself, you can move around the room with your mouse cursor/pointer. You can't walk through walls, but you can walk through people by holding down G on your keyboard while you move.
  5. You'll find a toolbar on the bottom of the screen with a few icons:
    1. Note that there's a little lag as people move in and out of conversations, so be patient.
    2. Share screen allows you to share the screen with those in your circle of interaction. You can use this function, or you can use a document/slide deck in the shared google folder that you can each open and edit together like a whiteboard.
    3. Minimap gives a broader view of the room you're in. The Minimap is not working as it should at the moment, so do not use it — Instead, interact with the "Map" object in the space.
    4. Use the avatar icon in the toolbar to switch your avatar’s appearance.
  6. Click on the participant list to see who's in the room. To locate participants, click on their names and use “locate”. Follow the line that locates where they are.
  7. If you're totally surrounded by people or furniture and cannot move, hit space bar to “unblock” and it'll move you a few spaces away.
  8. Use two fingers up and down on trackpad to see the videos of people in your circle of interaction.
  9. Conversations with more than 20 users tend to lag, so if you experience such delays, break your conversation into 2 smaller groups.

Navigating our Gathertown Space

  • Lobby Room: You can find information, teleport to rooms, and get technical support here.
    • Help Desk: If you have a Gathertown issue or an issue with our space, go to the Help Desk to speak with our technical support assistant.
    • Map Poster: View this poster to see a full-scale map of the lobby.
    • Information Poster: View this poster to see this information handout.
  • Meet-the-Profs Room: To be used for the Meet-the-Professors event.
  • Hangout Room: You can hangout with other attendees here.
  • Game Rooms: You can play all sorts of games (poker,, and more) with other attendees here.

Is this program only for undergraduate students?
Most of our applicants are undergraduate students, but anyone who is considering applying to a vision-related master's or doctoral program is welcome to apply.

Is this program only for Canadian students?
We accept applicants from all around the world.

Is this program only for students with a background in biology, computer science, kinesiology, or psychology?
Vision science is a highly interdisciplinary field, and anyone with a strong interest in pursuing graduate studies in a vision-related research program is encouraged to apply.

What grades do I need to be accepted?
Admission is highly competitive, and most of our attendees have GPA's in the 4.0 range. However, other strengths such as laboratory experience, excellent quantitative skills, or an outstanding statement of interest can make up for average grades. To calculate your GPA, please use this tool.

I'm planning to go to medical school.  Is this program suitable for me?
The program is for students who plan to engage in a vision-related research program. If you plan to do vision-related research in medical school then you are welcome to apply.

I'm a professor, graduate student, etc.  Can I audit the program?
We are sorry, but in order to keep the group small and personal, we only allow admitted students and CVR members to attend the program.

Do I need a visa to travel to Canada?
This year's program is virtual. We will not be supporting travel to Canada.

Do I have to stay on campus?
This year's program is virtual. We will not be housing any students.