About Indicium

Indicium is an annual research competition geared towards introducing inexperienced students to the process of independent research. Through our mentorship program, we group undergraduate students with researchers/graduate students/PhD students/medical students/professors, etc. who are experienced in STEM research fields. Mentors actively guide and support students through a research project in their field of expertise through a literature review, research proposal, and poster presentation.

Projects get showcased at their university-specific Indicium Research Conference for the chance at an abstract publication as well as a spot at the National Indicium Research Conference. Winners of the National Competition are granted a full manuscript publication in the STEM Fellowship peer-reviewed Journal.

In addition to the project, students are offered a multitude of informative workshops and networking opportunities outlining effective project development and pathways into future careers in research.

Currently, Indicum is offered at York University, McMaster University, University of Toronto St George, and University of Toronto Mississauga.

Why join Indicium?

As a mentor:

  • Take on a unique leadership position and guide a group of undergraduate students in your field of expertise.

  • Design a research project that aligns with your current work or take on something new altogether.

  • Have your name listed as first author in a guaranteed abstract publication or allocated manuscript publication in the SFJ.

As a mentee:

  • Gain research experience by working with a mentor specialized in their field and attending our project development and career-building workshops.

  • Develop teamwork and leadership skills working alongside a team of other undergraduates.

  • Have your name listed as an author in a guaranteed abstract publication or allocated manuscript publication in the SFJ.


The Indicium 2022 season was in collaboration with five universities across Canada including McMaster University, University of British Columbia, York University, University of Toronto St. George, and University of Toronto Mississauga. Every participating team was granted an abstract publication in the National STEM Fellowship peer-reviewed Journal.

From their branch-level conference, 8 teams were selected to participate in the National Indicium Research Conference on July 9, 2022 for our three allocated full manuscript peer-reviewed publication opportunities.

It was our pleasure working alongside an incredible group of mentors, mentees, judge panel,and executive team on this initiative. Indicium would not be possible without the drive, engagement, and active participation of all those who were involved to help advance knowledge, mentorship, and future opportunity.

Winning posters

First place

Team Daniel Wang

Daniel Wang, Ethan Lam, Grace Yu, & Sabrina Zhu


Second place

Team Karol Buda

Karol Buda, Sze Lok NG, Arnaz Dhalla, & Ryan Vethanayagam

Third Place

Mentor Justin Van Houten

Justin Van Houten, Parmeet Singh, Nikita Ibrahimi, & Todd Tento


Proceedings from the 2022 Indicum Conference

National Indicium Conference


“Indicium was my first research experience. It is a great program to explore STEM research and find your interests. Working and presenting the poster was a rewarding experiences as I honed in on my written and oral communication skills while learning to work as a group.”

Testimonial 1, Your Content Goes Here

“An awesome experience to meet new people and work with industry professionals. You gain such valuable knowledge while learning the ins-and-outs of research. Highly recommend!”

Testimonial 2, Your Content Goes Here

“Participating in Indicium was something that I have absolutely no regrets for. I had an amazing time collaborating with fellow driven and like-minded students under the guidance of our mentor. This was an experience that really challenged me to grow as a person and learn more about a topic that I inititally didn’t really know much about. I would definitely consider doing this again!”

Testimonial 3, Your Content Goes Here

Project Timeline

The first step of your project is to complete a literature review! The purpose of this component is to familiarize yourselves with your mentor’s field of study and to inspire potential research questions and hypotheses. A literature review consists of a brief background of the topic, a summary of the current research, and an identification of the gaps in the research. Be sure to include in-text citations and a references list in the proper citation format (ie. APA). For more tips, check out the poster below!

Literature reviews are 2-3 pages (not including references list), Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, 1-inch margins.

Before any experiment is carried out, scientists must develop a research proposal to justify why the research is important and/or why their project should receive funding. For your group’s purposes, this component will consist of a brief background of the topic, a research question and hypothesis, some real-world applications for the research, the research methods your group plans to use, and if applicable, any inclusion/exclusion criteria. Be sure to include in-text citations and a references list in the proper citation format (ie. APA). Stay tuned for more tips!

Research proposals may be 3-4 pages (not including references list), Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, 1-inch margins.

Now that you have all the background information and your project is approved, you are finally ready to begin the actual research! The nature of this component will vary depending on your group’s experiment idea. However, some examples include systematic reviews, meta-analyses, statistical analyses of pre-collected field data, computational analyses, etc. Your mentor may ask you to develop a simplified report including a results + data analysis section and discussion in order to organize your findings in preparation for the conference. Be sure to include in-text citations and a references list in the proper citation format (ie. APA).

This is an ongoing self-directed component of the project. Submissions and deadlines are determined by the groups and their mentors. 

Now that you’ve completed your projects, it’s time to present your findings. In the scientific community, learning how to effectively present your research to your peers is essential to promote scientific discussion, get academic/professional degrees, and possibly receive more funding for future research!

Your poster should include a compelling title, some background information, the research question + hypothesis, methods, diagrams, conclusions, and acknowledgements of mentor affiliations/funding/etc. Be sure to have minimal text and an organized flow throughout all the components.

Your slideshow should consist of the different parts of your poster zoomed in for ease of presenting during a virtual conference. Edits permitted involve those of formatting (ie. image placement, font size, section splitting, etc.) and not those that add/remove content from submitted poster.

Posters may be horizontal (48×36”) or vertical (36×44”).

Research Poster Templates (note: you are not required to use these templates): https://brand.ubc.ca/guidelines/downloads/print-and-presentation-templates/


The abstracts of conference proceedings should be concise and structured. They should be no more than 250 words with the following sections:

1) Introduction
2) Methods
3) Results
4) Conclusions

250 words max., Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, 1-inch margins.

Bibliographic citations in the reference list and their call-outs in the text should conform to the Vancouver style. For more information on this style, see this page. In-text citations to references should be numbers in square brackets; e.g., [1]

For more information, please visit the STEM Fellowship Journal website at: https://journal.stemfellowship.org/authors/instructions-to-authors

This is the main event you’ve all been waiting for! Now that you’ve officially completed your projects, it is time to showcase your work to a panel of judges and your fellow peers. Judges will focus on the project’s originality and content as well as the quality of your posters. Winners will have the opportunity to move on to a National Indicium Conference for a chance to be granted a manuscript publication in the National Peer-Reviewed STEM Fellowship Journal! Not to mention, all projects will be offered an Abstract publication in the SFJ.

Teams selected for the National Conference will be required to submit a Project Report. Details are provided to mentors and their teams.

For Mentors


  1. Currently enrolled in or completed a Master’s, PhD, or professional program relating to a STEM field.

  2. Commitment of 1-2 hours/week for team meetings and project work.

How to apply to become a mentor

  1. Choose a participating university corresponding to your place of work or study. If you do not work or study at these branches, you may apply to your nearest location.

  2. Fill out this quick Google Form to be added to our mailing list and you will be contacted in September – December prior to the upcoming Indicium season. Please note, Indicium begins in January.

  3. Questions? Email us at indicium@stemfellowship.org

For Mentees

Recruitments opens in January


  1. Enrollment in an undergraduate program at one of Indicium’s participating universities at the start of the competition.

  2. Commitment of 2-3 hours/week for team meetings and project work.

  3. $5.00 participation fee


Check out your university’s web pages for specific information regarding mentor biographies, mentee application forms, workshop and conference dates, and contact information.

McMaster University

York University

University of Toronto St. George

University of Toronto Mississauga


Check out your university’s webpages for specific information regarding mentor biographies, mentee application forms, workshop and conference dates, and contact information.

Muskan Tuli

National Indicium, Director


Serah Saber

National Indicium, Internal Operations