Collaborative Science: Student Centered Interdisciplinary Studies


1/4 Credit Course


This graduate level course is focused on developing collaborative work between inter-disciplinary scientists aimed to broaden the scope of the graduate student’s thinking, knowledge and research project. It highlights the importance of collaborations and communication with scientists outside of one’s immediate scientific community thereby, encouraging and facilitating graduate student outreach with faculty body. It also exposes students to the grant review process, from the perspective of the applicant and reviewer. This course aims to use teaching methods that will require and measure active student learning.


The course will comprise of six lectures. The first lecture will include an introduction of the course layout and a presentation of various historical discoveries that arose from conglomeration of interdisciplinary research such as the discovery of insulin by a physiologist and a biochemist. Students are assigned a one page summary of their project’s description and of their future research objectives to be emailed in one week after.

Following the first lecture, with the help of the course lecturer (Paris Boroumand), the students are given one month to find, and meet a faculty member outside of their department working on their research topic. Together they will organize a lecture on a topic that forms the basis of a collaborative project. On the assigned date, the faculty member gives a 20 min talk of their work, then the student follows with a 20 min presentation of a proposal on how their project may be expanded through collaboration with their faculty partner.

Students will be asked to submit a grant on Dec 3rd (3 pages, following a guide that will be given to the students) that incorporates methods or concepts learned in class and through working with their chosen faculty member. Students will then be assigned to be first and second readers for their classmates’ grants and will need to fill out a peer review form. On the last day, a mock panel is set up where each grant is reviewed. The discussion starts with the first reader summarizing his review, followed by the second reader, followed by a group discussion. During the discussion, a Scientific Officer (SO) (each student will take turns being a SO) will take notes. The reviews and SO notes are submitted to both the grant applicant and to the class coordinator.

Course Next Offered

Fall 2021

Course Time and Location

Online over Zoom. Fridays 9AM-11AM except for the last class

Lecture 1: Friday Sept 24
Lecture 2: Friday Oct 29
Lecture 3: Friday Nov 5
Lecture 4: Friday Nov 19
Lecture 5: Friday Nov 26
Lecture 6: Dec 10, 9AM-Noon; 1PM-4PM Grant review session

Enrollment Limit

Yes — 8


For PhD students only.

Method of Student Evaluation

1 Page Project Proposal 10%
3 Page Grant Proposal 30%
Presentation / Peer Teaching 20%
Attendance and Participation 10%
Grant Review (1st reader report, 2nd reader report, SO notes) 30%


Dr. Parastoo Boroumand


Alexander F. Palazzo

Alexander F. Palazzo

MaRS, West Tower, Suite 1500
661 University Ave.


Last Updated 16 July 2021