School of Medicine

Student Opportunities for Advancement in Research


SOAR Office

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences along with the School of Medicine has established the Office of Student Opportunities for Advancement in Research (SOAR). The purpose of the SOAR Office is to educate and support all BCM medical students interested in pursuing research opportunities offered at Baylor College of Medicine and its affiliates. The SOAR database provides students with an opportunity to identify research projects and gain valuable research experience while pursuing their medical studies. The SOAR Office also offers SOAR Travel Awards to support medical student research presentations at scientific and medical conferences.

SOAR Database 

The simple-to-use, searchable SOAR database medical students to identify projects in their area of interest and to connect with faculty willing to serve as mentors for their research experience. BCM Faculty can list projects in the searchable database as a means to attract medical students to their labs. Once a project has been selected, students must complete the NICER Authorization for Research Activities Form before starting their research. More information about NICER is available.

Project Notifications

Use of the “My Account” tab gives you the option of setting alerts for keywords. Once you have created your keyword profile, you will be alerted by the database each time a project containing your keyword(s) of interest is posted. You may also bookmark projects for later review. Instructions outlining steps for searching the database, registering keywords or bookmarking projects of interest is available.

Posting a Project?

BCM Faculty members can list projects in the SOAR database. Click on the ‘My Projects’ tab in the SOAR database then select ‘Add New Project Listing’ and begin submission of your project information. Step-by-step instructions for entering a project are available. You can start a submission, save, and return to your draft submission. A project title, project description (2,500 characters or less), contact information, and project time frame are necessary to post a project. Once your project has been submitted, it will be reviewed by the SOAR office, and once complete, it will be posted.


SOAR Travel Awards


Medical Student Research Travel Fund Application Information

BCM SOM students seeking their M.D. are encouraged to pursue research and present their scholarly work at conferences. Faculty research mentors are expected to provide support for students who conduct research under their guidance to attend meetings where students are presenting their work. If mentors or student organizations do not have resources to cover their expenses, students may apply for assistance from the Office of Student Opportunities for Advancement in Research (SOAR).

The following criteria must be met before requesting funding:

  • The student must submit the application a minimum of six weeks prior to the Conference/Meeting date (including a letter of acceptance or invitation to participate in meeting/conference).
  • Conference/Meeting must take place in the Continental United States.
  • Research being presented must have been conducted while in medical school.
  • The student must be the first author on the paper/poster/abstract
  • Only one award per presentation (i.e. if co-presenting, only one student is eligible).
  • The student must not be on “at risk” or Probation academic status.
  • The student must be currently enrolled in the SOM to receive the funding (e.g. not graduated).
  • The student must not be on leave of absence at the time of application for any reason.
  • This award is not meant to support dual degree students who performed research as part of their dual degree training, including for dual degrees.

Expectation of Students


Students are expected to follow the SOM Academic Attendance and Absence Policy.

  • Students will need to contribute to their travel costs as it is unlikely the travel funds will cover all costs.
  • Students must have a receipt and must submit all receipts within two weeks of the travel date or reimbursement requests will be denied.
  • Students must notify SOAR before the planned travel date, if they decide not to travel or if the travel is cancelled.

Funding Availability and Notification

  • Funding is available for a maximum of one trip per student per academic year (July 1 – June 30), not to exceed $1,000.
  • The SOAR committee will review student applications on a monthly basis; funding will be awarded based on the information in the application as well as available funds.
  • Students can expect a response from the SOAR committee within one week of the review meeting.
  • Meeting dates are on or around mid-month (15th).
  • Funds are awarded after travel has occurred. However, application must be sent in at least six weeks prior to conference.
  • A receipt must be provided, or no reimbursement will occur.

What is eligible for reimbursement?

  • Conference registration, airline/mileage and/or hotel expense (maximum of two nights) will be supported
  • Meals will not be reimbursed

Application Process


Complete the SOAR Travel Award application and submit to the SOAR Office at The following documents must be attached to the Student Research Funds Application cover page, and submitted as a single, combined PDF:

  • Letter of support from the medical students’ research mentor
  • Letter of release from the medical students’ clerkship director (if applicable)
  • Notice of acceptance of abstract
  • Copy of the abstract