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Rehabilitation Research Experience for Medical Students (RREMS)

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Recommendations for Creating a Strong RREMS Application

  • Role of the student: The role of the student should be clearly outlined in the proposal. The role of the student should also be realistic for what the student can achieve, given the student’s background. If the student cannot complete some tasks independently, it can be noted how the mentor and co-investigators will assist the student on those tasks.
  • Ethical approval: Projects that have already attained IRB or Animal Committee approval are usually recommended, since delays in approval can be barriers to successfully completing the summer project.
  • Timeframe: The student must be able to gather and/or analyze data and be able to write up the results by the end of the two month experience. The only acceptable projects are those for which it is feasible for the results to be available by the end of the summer. If the student will have a steep learning curve to overcome prior to being able to participate in the project, there may not be sufficient time to complete the project successfully.
  • Size of the study: The student is not expected to be present for every portion of the study, from subject recruitment to analysis of data. In fact, this may be quite unrealistic. Proposing a full clinical trial is therefore not generally feasible or appropriate as a summer projects since it would not be able to be completed in two months, unless part of the trial is already underway. Having the student work on a pilot project, or a subcomponent of a larger clinical trial, may therefore be more appropriate. The study should be ambitious, but not overly ambitious.
  • Commitment of institution and mentor: the mentor’s biosketch and letters of recommendation are opportunities for the mentor and site sponsor to show that they are devoted to providing the student with a good educational experience and also a means to show that they have worked with the student to draft the proposal. Mentors who have a track record of mentoring students in the past are favorable. It is also important that the mentors have a track record of conducting research and publishing in the topic area of the project.
  • Commitment of the student: the student’s personal statement affords the opportunity for the student to highlight his or her interest in rehabilitation research and show the reviewers why funding their proposal will lead to their own academic development.
  • Science of the application: The application should be well written and referenced. It is essential for projects to be hypothesis-driven.  Proposals that simply are data-gathering opportunities are not viewed as favorably as those that attempt to answer a research question with strong scientific methods.

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