Are you curious about the delivery of interventions to those who are most in need? Does the idea of conducting world-class research in a global, interdisciplinary setting get you excited? If you answered ‘yes’ to both, you might want to apply for a spot in our 2019/20 Reach Project cohort.

Led by principal investigator Joseph Wong and other advisors and faculty mentors, our student researchers have uncovered new insights into how we can address important challenges, such as HIV transmission from mothers to their children in Thailand, or providing hard-to-reach populations in India with access to government services through biometric proof of identity.

You can learn more about the Reach Project through the links below:

Who can apply?

All current undergraduate and graduate students from across U of T* can apply. Previous Reach Project researchers have come from a variety of different academic backgrounds, including law, global affairs, health, economics, genome biology, business, engineering, and much more. What we’re looking for is a diverse mix of curiosity-driven researchers.

*You need to be enrolled during the 2019/20 academic year to be eligible.

Please note
the Reach Project has not yet confirmed its funding for the 2019/20 academic year. The development of these case studies is dependent on the confirmation of funding.

Admissions process

The first step in the admissions process is to submit an application. Your application includes four parts:

1. Your cover letter: We’d like to know more about you. Tell us what experience, interests and skills you could add to the team.
2. Your resume: Please outline your accomplishments, skills and abilities to date.
3. A short writing sample: This could be a blog post, a short essay or a memo (3-page maximum) that demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely.
4. An unofficial transcript: Please provide a copy of your unofficial transcript.

Please submit all four items as one single file (either PDF or word document). Please ensure each part of your application is provided in the order listed above (with cover letter first, and unofficial transcript last).

Please send your application to When submitting your application, please use the subject-line:  REACH APP – (Your name)

Applications are due by 10 April at 1:00 PM EST (13:00 EST). Late applications will not be accepted.

The second step in the admissions process is a group interview. Group interviews will take place during the last two weeks in May. Candidates who are selected for the group interviews will have the option to participate in-person or by video call.


As a Reach Project researcher, what am I expected to do?

You will conduct secondary, data-driven research on development initiatives that have done well at reaching marginalized, underserved communities, before spending time in the field, conducting in-depth interviews with stakeholders. After your field research trip, you are going to generate a case study, shining a light on the tools for success behind a particular service or development intervention.

What country will I go to for my fieldwork?

Where your fieldwork takes place is going to depend on which case study team you are placed on. So far, Reach Project researchers have travelled to Brazil, Thailand, Rwanda, India, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, and South Africa.

Do I have to pay for costs associated to my fieldwork?

No. The Reach Project pays for your travel costs*, including flights, accommodation, vaccinations** and visas. We also provide a per diem to cover expenses that occur on the ground.

*As stated above, the Reach Project has not yet confirmed its funding for the 2019/20 year. Fieldwork is dependent upon the confirmation of funding.

**Students are expected to have health insurance, travel insurance, and a valid passport. The Reach Project will cover the difference between the actual vaccination cost and the amount covered by your health insurance.

Will I be paid for my work with the Reach Project and/or receive academic credit?

This is an unpaid research position. Please also note that we can’t provide academic credit for work as a Reach Project student researcher.

How much time do I have to commit?

During the academic year, you will meet with your case study team on a bi-weekly basis at minimum. These meetings typically take place during business hours or in the evenings, but meetings can also take place in the morning and occasionally on weekends. You will also be expected to attend a series of workshops and seminars, hosted during the workday, in the evenings, and occasionally on weekends. The workload will increase as we approach fieldwork and have to coordinate with participants, develop a schedule, develop and refine our interview instruments, and sort out logistics. This busy time period will overlap with your final exams and assignments in the winter term, so researchers will need to possess excellent time management skills.

Fieldwork is expected to place during April or May 2020, so researchers have to be willing to travel during those months. Fieldwork typically lasts 1-2 weeks.

After fieldwork, student researchers work with their team to complete the case study report. The case study report will be written over the summer of 2020. The report will be finalized in fall 2020.

I will be on exchange for a semester. Am I still eligible to apply?

Due to the demanding workload, and the requirement for ongoing communication among teammates, we, unfortunately, can’t accept researchers who will be on exchange.

Will my research be published in an academic journal?

Reach Project case studies are not intended for publication in academic journals. Your team will prepare a written report that is made available online for free. Reach Project students can collaborate on developing a manuscript for a journal after their case study report is completed. However, the development of a manuscript for an academic journal is not a component of the Reach Project program.

Do you have other questions?

Please contact the Reach Project at

Deadline: April 10, 2019