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ICE - Inorganic Chemistry Exchange

ICE 2015-2016
The Inorganic Chemistry Exchange program offers summer employment opportunities to undergraduate students in chemistry, who will have completed the equivalent of two or three full years of study as of May 2016. Up to six qualified candidates from across Canada will be awarded employment as a summer research assistant at an institution other than their own, in the laboratory of one of these ICE faculty members:

Johanna Blacquiere University of Western Ontario, London, ON
The Blacquiere group develops new transition-metal catalysts for applications in organic synthesis, particularly those that use abundant and sustainable reagents such as dioxygen and water. Through our expertise in organometallic chemistry we design cooperative-type ligands that assist the metal centre in substrate activation processes. We use air-sensitive synthetic techniques and characterization involves a range of methods including NMR spectroscopy, MALDI MS, XRD and GC-MS.
Martin Stillman University of Western Ontario, London, ON
Metals are intimately connected with all life's processes.  We are studying three facets of metal-based biology: i) the role of the colourful porphyrins, ii) iron-uptake by Staphylococcus aureus, a pathogenic gram-positive bacteria, and iii) metallothioneins, a protein found in all organisms that controls copper and zinc levels.
Mario Bieringer University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB
The Bieringer research group at the University of Manitoba is working on the synthesis and characterization of novel inorganic materials. The ICE project is concerned with the preparation of novel high-performance oxide ion conductors. In an interdisciplinary setting the student will explore the formation and stability of oxide defect structures, determine structural details and characterize their physical properties and function.
Tim Kelly University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK
Research in the Kelly group focuses on the development of high efficiency organic and hybrid solar cells. The ICE scholar will be involved in the synthesis and characterization of new light absorbing materials for solar energy conversion, and time permitting, the fabrication and testing of prototype devices.
Vladimir Michaelis University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
Research interests within the Michaelis Group encompass the synthesis and structural investigation of biomaterials, including bioglasses, ceramics and cements. Historically, advances in these materials have been hindered by the lack of structural understanding. Our principal characterization method is solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance to draw insight into the structure-property relationship of these materials (e.g., bioglass 45S5, apatite and glass ionomer cements). Our members typically have interests in oxide chemistry, high temperature synthesis, solid-state NMR spectroscopy and/or quantum chemical calculations.
Jennifer Love University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
The goal of my research program is to discover fundamental reactivity of transition metal catalysts and to use this knowledge to develop useful and efficient reactions of broad utility in the synthesis of chemicals with interesting biological or materials properties. My group spans the traditional boundaries of inorganic and organic chemistry. We are exploring how catalysts work in an effort to improve reaction efficiency, thereby cutting cost and waste production two key goals in catalysis research. Our ultimate goal is to utilize this knowledge to develop fundamentally new catalytic transformations. Our main areas of fundamental research include (a) organo- and organometallic fluorine chemistry, (b) development of new olefin functionalization reactions, (c) efforts toward catalytic functionalization of methane, and (d) organo- and organometallic sulfur chemistry.

As you can see, the specific interests of the faculty participants vary considerably there is a whole periodic table out there! Projects will range from synthesis and catalysis to materials science to bioinorganic chemistry. The ICE Program will wrap up with a conference for all participating students and faculty at the University of Western Ontario in London, ON  on August 18-19, 2016.


download the application form  (pdf

Full time students enrolled in an undergraduate program in the chemical sciences can apply to the ICE program if they (i) have completed, or will have completed by the time the research position starts, a minimum of four terms of study; (ii) will be returning to full time undergraduate studies in the autumn after the research position ends; and (iii) have achieved a minimum GPA of B+ since starting their undergraduate program. An interest in the study of inorganic chemistry is essential!

ICE research positions are normally recognized as Co-op placements for students enrolled in Co-op programs.


A salary will be provided by the faculty supervisor at the host institution to which the student is assigned. The monthly stipend, which is set at competitive rates, is specified in the letter of offer. Expenses (airfare and up to $50 ground transportation) will be covered for travel (i) between the home and host institutions and (ii) to the ICE Conference in August. Details of travel reimbursement will be negotiated at the time of acceptance of an ICE award.

All ICE Scholars are expected to apply for NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Awards (USRAs) through the host institution, but their ICE position and salary is guaranteed regardless of whether they are successful in obtaining the award.

Research Topics
The research projects are determined by the host group. These will vary enormously, given the wide scope of the field of Inorganic Chemistry. Information on the research programs of the participating ICE Faculty can be found on their homepages. Your local ICE Faculty can also tell you about these research programs and direct you to the appropriate websites.

You must apply to the ICE program through a local ICE Faculty member at your own institution. Application forms and information on the Faculty participants for the upcoming year are normally available by the end of September. Here's the 2015-2016 application form. You must complete it electronically using Adobe Acrobat, print out the completed form, and submit it to your local ICE representative, along with a copy of your current academic transcript.

To participate in ICE, you must be willing to travel to one of at least three different host locations, away from your home institution and your home town, normally to a different province. Successful applicants will be assigned to a host institution, with every attempt being made to accommodate the student's preferences. Flexibility in terms of where you are willing to go is definitely an asset in the ICE competition. The number of successful applicants is determined by how many ICE Faculty are participating each year, typically between 8 and 15.

Deadlines and other important dates

For the 2015-16 ICE competition, you must submit your application directly to your local ICE Faculty member by November 2, 2015.  Decisions on successful applications will be announced, through your local ICE Faculty member, approximately three weeks later. Formal acceptance of the offer of a research position by the successful applicants is required before the end of the Fall term.

ICE research positions are to be held for at least 16 weeks between May 1 and August 31 each year.

Attendance at the ICE Conference in August is mandatory.