May 18, 2023

Badge program inspires students to become innovators

Ready for Research introduces research skills to undergrad students through dynamic programming
A group of students and staff pose together in a brightly lit classroom.
Ready for Research students and staff pose for a group photo at a year-end meetup. Elyse Bouvier

What was it that first sparked your interest in research? Was it a mentor? A big question? Or was it simply fuelled by a desire to learn something new?

For many students, research is unfamiliar and getting started appears daunting. This is a problem that Ready for Research — the first undergraduate-focused badge program offered by the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning — sets out to solve.

Offered for the first time in the 2022–23 academic year, the program saw more than 700 students enrol and engage in a series of workshops and reflection exercises about research. Dr. Kyla Flanagan, PhD, academic lead for the College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation and associate professor (teaching) in the Faculty of Science, says the enthusiasm from students about research has been exciting.

“We had heard all kinds of stories from students that they didn’t know where to start. They knew they wanted to do research, but it was just this complete mystery to them," she says. “So it spurred the idea that we could offer some basic tools and ways that students can get involved in research and start to understand it.”

The program takes students through how to get involved with research at UCalgary, ethics of research and applying for funding, as well as a variety of current topics like project management, visual presentations, finding sources and more.

Upon completing their final reflections, students can apply for an official digital badge. The program has undergraduate students keen to keep going on their research journeys.

A young student with long hair and a young student with short hair look at a laptop and talk in a classroom.

Ready for Research students Fatima Jarid, left, and Mohammed Jasim talk during a meetup for the cohort.

Elyse Bouvier

“This program has gotten me more excited about what I want to research. It’s inspired me to go ahead and look for different types of research that are out there,” says Fatima Jarid, a first-year biological sciences student.

For Jasmine El-Hacha, a fourth-year student in concurrent Bachelor of Education and Arts studies, research hasn’t been discussed as openly as in other programs. “Ready for Research has not only opened me up to the idea of pursuing research myself but shown me that it comes in different forms and all of them are necessary and exciting.”

After a successful first year, the program will be offered to undergraduate students again in fall 2023.

Any instructors interested in getting involved in leading research-related workshops for students as part of the badge can reach out to Kyla Flanagan at the College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation directly at

Learn more about the Ready for Research program.