RISE is a summer exchange program for undergraduate students in the 2nd or 3rd year of an Honours program in the chemical sciences at one of the 19 Canadian universities participating in the program. Successful applicants will be awarded summer employment in the research group of a RISE group member at one of the participating institutions (not their own), and a small travel allowance. Universities with Coop programs normally recognize the RISE summer placement as the equivalent of a Coop work term.

The RISE Group is a collection of scientists at twenty institutions across Canada, whose research emphasizes the study of chemical or biochemical reaction mechanisms. While the research interests of the individuals in the group vary widely, all group members are committed to providing dedicated undergraduate students with opportunities to carry out original research and gain hands-on experience in the use of modern instrumental and other experimental techniques for the study of reaction mechanisms and reaction intermediates.

The RISE Group

Professor Kim Baines (Western University, London ON): Mechanistic chemistry of unsaturated main group compounds, particularly those of silicon and germanium. Development and application of cyclopropyl-based mechanistic probes. (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor Cornelia Bohne (University of Victoria, Victoria BC): Supramolecular dynamics, kinetics, photophysics, photochemistry, cyclodextrin, bile salt aggregates, DNA, proteins. (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor Gonzalo Cosa (McGill University, Montréal, QC): Novel fluorescence-based imaging strategies: Single Molecule Spectroscopy studies on protein/nucleic acid/lipid membrane interactions, design of fluorescent probes for in vivo imaging of oxidative stress, high throughput biosensors. (2019-20 Participant)
Professor Fran Cozens (Dalhousie University, Halifax NS): Organic photochemistry; free radical chemistry; reactions in zeolites and other organized media. (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor David Cramb (University of Calgary, Calgary, AB): Photochemistry, photophysics, photodynamic therapy, nonlinear laser spectroscopies and imaging, excited state dynamics, protein-protein, protein-lipid, lipid-DNA and small molecule - biomolecule interactions. (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor Mathieu Frenette (Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, QC): Preventing degradation reactions in organic and biological materials; high-throughput oxygen uptake kinetics; spectroscopic investigation of free-radical reaction mechanisms (2019-20 Participant)
Professor Robert Godin (University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus):Transient absorption spectroscopy/microscopy to determine the charge carrier dynamics of materials for solar energy conversion; photochemistry and photophysics; carbon-based photocatalytic materials; sustainable energy and material production.(2019-20 Participant)
Professor Geniece Hallett-Tapley (St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS): photochemistry, photocatalysis, noble metal nanoparticles, semiconductor and supramolecular niobium oxide catalysis (2019-20 Participant)
Professor Eva Hemmer (University of Ottawa, Ottawa ON): Materials chemistry; lanthanide-based luminescent nanomaterials; optical properties; near-infrared based bioimaging; nano-bio interactions; energy conversion. (2019-20 Participant)
Professor Belinda Heyne (University of Calgary, Calgary, AB): Free radicals and reactive oxygen species in the development of cancer. (2019-20 Participant)
Dr. Linda Johnston (National Research Council, Ottawa, ON): Reactive intermediates in biological systems; photochemistry in organized media; interfacial processes at biomembranes. (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor Pierre Kennepohl (University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC): electronic structure and reactivity in catalytic systems, x-ray absorption (XAS) and x-ray emission spectroscopy (XES), epr spectroscopy. (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor Willie Leigh (McMaster University, Hamilton ON): Reactive intermediates in organosilicon, organogermanium, and organotin photochemistry, photochemical pericyclic reactions; far-UV photochemistry. (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor Glen Loppnow (University of Alberta, Edmonton AB): Biophysical Chemistry; photochemistry and photophysics of nucleic acids, proteins, and other biomolecules; resonance Raman and optical spectroscopy; DNA and protein microarrays and microfluidics; microspectroscopy. (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor Matt Lukeman (Acadia University, Wolfville, NS): Organic photochemistry; photocages; carbanion chemistry. (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor Scott Murphy (University of Regina, Regina SK): Supramolecular oganic photochemistry; photophysics; photochromism; kinetics; photoresponsive liposomes; drug delivery. (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor Xavier Ottenwaelder (Concordia University, Montréal QC): Oxidation chemistry with metal complexes; tracking reactive intermediates in oxidation catalysis (nitrenes, oxygen transfer, metallo-radicals); low-temperature spectroscopy and spectro-electrochemistry; kinetic studies (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor Matthew Paige (University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK): Single-molecule and ensemble fluorescence spectroscopy; excited state dynamics; photophysics of fluorescent nanoparticles; spectroscopic properties of aggregated molecules.  (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor Christian Reber (Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC): Spectroscopy and photochemistry of inorganic and organometallic compounds; luminescence, absorption and Raman spectroscopy at variable temperatures and pressures; modeling of excited-state processes. (not participating in 2019-20)
Professor J.C. (Tito) Scaiano (University of Ottawa, Ottawa ON): Kinetic and mechanistic studies of organic reaction intermediates; organic photochemistry; two photon processes; photoreactions in organized media; laser techniques; chiral recognition; magnetic field effects; photoresists. (2019-20 Participant)
Professor Dwight Seferos (University of Toronto, Toronto ON): main group chemistry; polymer chemistry; nanomaterials. (2019-20 Participant)
Professor Will Skene (Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC): Light shuttling materials; dynamic polymers; snap-on conjugated polymers; luminescent materials. (2019-20 Participant)
Professor Brian Wagner (University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PEI): Fluorescence spectroscopy of supramolecular host-guest systems.  (not participating in 2019-20)

The 2018-19 Programme

The 2019 RISE Conference - August 25-27, University of Ottawa

The 2019 RISE Scholars

The RISE Archives - A record of RISE Programs from previous years.

RISE Publications

A partial list of publications that were made possible by the RISE programme.


In order to be eligible, students must be enrolled in a full time undergraduate program in the chemical sciences at one of the nineteen participating universities. They must have completed, or expect to complete by the time employment commences, a minimum of four terms of study and achieved a GPA of at least B+ over their university career to date. An interest in the study of the kinetics and mechanisms of chemical reactions is essential.


Salary will be provided by the group member at the host institution to which the student is assigned. It is set at competitive rates and is specified in the offer letter. Travel expenses will be awarded (fare only) between the home and host institutions and to the end-of-summer RISE Conference. These will be negotiated at the time of acceptance of the RISE award.

Field of Research

This will be determined by the host group, although all projects will have as a common theme the study of reaction mechanisms in organic, inorganic or biological chemistry, or chemical biology. Information on the individual research interests of the RISE group members is available through their home pages on the Web, links to which can be found above.


Applications are available online in October-November each year, at tinyurl.com/RISECanada2020. Applicants are asked to please contact the RISE group member at the University where they are enrolled to confirm their application.

Willingness to travel to at least four different host locations, away from your host institution and your home town, is essential. Successful applicants will each be assigned a host University, with every attempt made to accommodate the student's preferences. Flexibility in this respect would be an asset. The number of successful applicants each year will depend on the number of group members participating that year, but will generally range between 10 and 20.

Application Deadlines and other "timely" information

For the 2019-20 competition, applications are to be submitted online by December 4, 2019 at tinyurl.com/RISECanada2020. Decisions will be announced 3-4 weeks later. Formal acceptance by the successful applicant is required in January, 2020. Tenure period: at least 16 weeks between May 1st and August 31st, 2020; attendance at the end-of-summer Conference is mandatory.

Financial Support

The 2019 RISE Conference was supported by generous grants from the Centre for Advanced Materials Research (CAMaR), the Vice-President (Research), and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Ottawa.

For further information...


Professor Pierre Kennepohl, Coordinator
Reactive Intermediates Student Exchange
Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia
2036 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC  V6T 1Z1

Phone: 604 822-3817
E-mail: pierre(at)chem.ubc.ca

Students interested in the programme should contact their local RISE (faculty) group member.

20nov2019; wjl