The following links are to help you navigate through the sections of this page:
- Introduction and General Information
- How a Research Placement Works
- How to Apply (8 Easy Steps!)….
- Step 1: Identify your Potential Host Professor
- Step 2: Contact your Potential Host Professor
- Step 3: Contact OBW Program
- Step 4: Application to OBW Summer Research Program
- Step 5: Notification of Decision
- Step 6: Finalize and Submit SRP Duties Agreement
- Step 7: Apply for Admission to Host University
- Step 8: Get Ready to Go to Germany
Introduction and General Information
The Ontario/Baden-Württemberg Summer Research Program is open to Ontario graduate and undergraduate students in science, engineering, and health science disciplines. Each successful applicant will spend either two calendar months (minimum) or three calendar months (maximum) in summer 2023 at a university in Baden-Württemberg (southwest Germany) engaged in research projects relevant to their studies in Ontario.
Applicants to this program are eligible for scholarship support from OBW. Students may wish to ask about possible sources of funding for their proposed stay in Germany through their home university and elsewhere.
Undergraduate students must be in at least the second year of their studies when applying, and graduate students may apply at any stage of their studies. With regard to undergraduate students, some priority will be given to students who are at more advanced stages of their studies.
Appropriate academic credit may be granted for participation in this program at the discretion of the student’s home university.
How a Research Placement Works
The OBW Summer Research Program offers international educational opportunities. Participants are officially considered to be students and are not considered to be in either an internship or an employment relationship with the host professor or university. Students should not expect any financial remuneration from the hosting professor or university.
Throughout the period covered by their scholarship, participants should expect to commit at least 30 hours per week, on average, to tasks assigned to them as part of their placement.
These tasks should constitute a meaningful and beneficial learning experience for the student, should provide them with the opportunity to interact with and learn from researchers in their area, and should be appropriate to their level of study. Successful applicants will be required to negotiate an agreement defining their responsibilities before beginning the placement and to provide a copy of this agreement, signed by the host and by the participating student, to the OBW Program Office before the placement commences. Please use one of the downloadable forms designed for this purpose (links at the bottom of this page).
For practical reasons (not least with a view to paying rent for private accommodation) placements should be planned to coordinate with calendar months (e.g., June 1 to July 31, not June 15 to August 15). Participants are required to actually begin their placement by the 5th day (NB. that does not mean the 5th working day!) of the first month and to remain in their placement until the last day of the final month.
Participants who wish to travel extensively in Germany and beyond should schedule such travel outside the period of their placement.
Knowledge of German is not required for participation, so long as the receiving professor is aware of the level of the nominee’s language skills and agrees to host the student. Some knowledge of German would of course enhance the student’s experience. (Given the individual nature of the research placements, the OBW Program is unable to organize any German language instruction for Summer Research Program participants.)
The International Office of the hosting university will, where possible, assist the participating student in the search for accommodation (in some cases in a student residence), but the provision of accommodation cannot be guaranteed. Participants should enquire with the hosting professor/department about any other possibilities.
Students may not participate more than once at any given level (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate) of their studies. Preference will be given to applicants who have not participated previously.
Following their research stay, participants are required to submit a report to the OBW Program on their activities and experiences in Baden-Württemberg.
How to Apply (8 Easy Steps!)….
If you wish to prepare and submit an application, please follow these steps carefully:
Step 1: Identify your Potential Host Professor (Fall Term)
You must have a prearranged placement when you apply to the Summer Research Program.
Your first responsibility is therefore to identify a potential host professor at one of the nine (9) universities in Baden-Württemberg. That professor should be engaged in research in an area that is relevant to your program of studies. The objective is to identify a situation where you will both contribute to and learn from ongoing research activity in Germany. Your resources in looking for a potential host should be:
- Professors in your area of study at your home university; you will need to ask around: in many cases, students have secured placements with the help of Ontario professors who have academic contacts with a university researcher in their own discipline at a university in Baden-Württemberg; and/or
- Your own research skills, primarily using the links to the Baden-Württemberg universities on this website; you may also try asking other exchange students from Germany in the OBW facebook group (if you do this, you should explain that your specific interest is in the Summer Research Program).
Step 2: Contact your Potential Host Professor (Fall Term)
This is not particularly complicated or difficult, but it will be your responsibility to initiate contact with the professor directly. It is perfectly acceptable for you to write in English, and professors at all 9 Baden-Württemberg universities have generally been very receptive to Ontario students’ requests for research placements. Professors are accustomed to receiving such requests, and after all, what professor wouldn’t be pleased to hear from someone far away who is interested in her/his research? There are however certain points that are especially important to emphasize:
- You should state clearly that your enquiry is related to the application that you are preparing to the Summer Research Program operated by the Ontario/Baden-Württemberg (OBW) Student Exchange Program. Since individual professors may not be familiar with the OBW Program, the following language may help you explain the official status of the OBW program:
The Ontario-Baden-Württemberg Student Exchange Program (OBW) is a collaborative project of a consortium of universities in Ontario and all 9 research universities in Baden-Württemberg. It is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and by the Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg. Further information on the program is available online at www/yorku.ca/ouinternational/obw and from every Baden-Württemberg university’s International Office.
- In addition to describing yourself (it is a good idea to attach a cv) and your academic/scientific training and experience, you should consider what skills and background you can offer that would make a professor’s experience of hosting you, an international student from Ontario, a positive one.
- While explaining that you hope to secure a position in which, in a supervised environment, you will be able to contribute to research that is ongoing at the host university, you should make it absolutely clear that you are not looking for remuneration from your potential host.
In making these contacts, there are two general principles to keep in mind:
- You are strongly encouraged not to make parallel enquiries regarding different potential placements; and
- Your objective at this point is to secure a concise confirmation (usually by email) that the professor/institute agrees to host you for a stated period, should your application to the Summer Research Program be successful; if your application is successful, you will subsequently be required to conclude a more detailed, formal duties agreement with the host professor.
Step 3: Contact OBW Program (Fall Term)
As soon as you have a potential placement secured, you must inform the OBW Program Offices in both Ontario and Baden-Württemberg of the details. This is a required step in the application process. If you omit this step, your application will not be considered. Those offices will together advise you whether your proposed placement meets the basic criteria that govern eligibility for the OBW program. It is therefore in your interest to take care of this step as soon as possible.
Step 4: Application to OBW Summer Research Program (Deadline Set by Home University)
The complete application must be submitted to the International Exchange Office of the applicant’s home university in Ontario. Each participating Ontario university has its own application process and sets its own application deadline. Applicants should enquire about the local process and deadline at their home university.
The OBW application should consist of:
- The York University students online application form or Ontario university students online application form, completed and signed by you;
- Copies of academic transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended since September 2018;
- A letter of nomination from a professor in your home department/program briefly explaining the importance of participation in the OBW Summer Research Program in the context of your degree program , the reasons for nominating you, and, if appropriate, the kind of credit you might receive for the work done in Germany (please advise your nominating professor that her/his letter must contain the information listed here, that this is not a letter of reference, and that its purpose is to provide assurance that your department/program is aware of and supports your application);
- A letter (or e-mail) from the professor at a Baden-Württemberg university stating a willingness to involve you in an ongoing, relevant research project in a meaningful capacity for either two calendar months (minimum) or three calendar months (maximum); this letter must indicate the precise start- and end-dates of the research visit and outline briefly the activities in which the student will be engaged; and
- Your own statement of a) your reasons, personal and/or academic, for wishing to participate in this international program; b) what experience qualifies/prepares you to undertake the work outlined by the proposed host professor, and c) how you expect the experience in Germany to contribute to your academic/professional development.
Students must submit their complete application by the deadline set by their home university.
Step 5: Notification of Decision (February)
You will be notified of the outcome of your application as soon as possible in February. You must then inform the people (professor and/or international officer) with whom you have been in contact at the potential host university of the result, be it positive or negative.
If your application is successful, you will be required to complete the following steps.
Step 6: Finalize and Submit SRP Duties Agreement (by March 15)
If your application to the Summer Research Program is successful, you will be required to conclude an agreement with your Host Professor describing your duties. It is the participating student’s responsibility to make sure this step is completed promptly and to forward the completed and signed document to the OBW Program Office in Ontario. This is required as a condition of eligibility for the scholarship. You should use the following form:
And, at this point, we also request that you read carefully, complete, sign, and return to the OBW office this important form:
Step 7: Apply for Admission to Host University
Yes, there’s a little more paperwork (but it’s worth it). Your host university will advise you on the local process for applying for admission to the university. This should not be too onerous, since you will already have provided most of the necessary documents with your OBW application.
This is also the time to begin making housing and travel arrangements. The international offices of the host universities that are able to help will advise you how to proceed at this point.
Step 8: Get Ready to Go to Germany
To help you with this, the OBW program intends to hold an online orientation workshop probably in early March. Participants will receive a personal invitation and are strongly encouraged to participate.