Funding for summer projects

I have had quite a few recent questions around this recently so thought I’d highlight some key sources and thank my colleague Deborah Fowlis for her suggestions.

Some organisations offer small bursaries to enable undergraduates to work in research during summer vacation. Successfully applying for your own funding looks impressive on your CV. Your first step should be asking the School and your potential supervisor if they can access/apply for any other funding on your behalf.

The University’s Academic Affairs Scholarships Sharepoint site highlights the Research Council’s EPSRC undergraduate vacation scholarships but closing date is quite soon (20 March) according to the EPSRC.

As well as the EPSRC one, the Sharepoint site flags up the College Vacation Scholarships. Closing date 27 March. College Scholarships are good for summer research funding. Find a potential supervisor and write a proposal yourself (often with help from the supervisor).

The Wellcome Trust offers what they call biomedical vacation scholarships. Details here show that physics is one of the eligible degrees although success may be more likely for those applicants doing research with some biophysical/biological aspect or context. The Wellcome Trust also offer opportunities in science policy.

The Carnegie Trust Vacation Scholarships is one to look out for. Closing date is past for this year but one to know about for next year

The Student Experience Grants from UoE are one-off contributions of up to £5,000 to support innovative projects that will “enhance students’ social, academic, intellectual, entrepreneurial, sporting or cultural development”. Summer lab research is eligible for funding (though you need to demonstrate the benefit to others) and any current student can apply. Twice yearly deadline

Finally, my Work Experience Resource for Physics and Astronomy students on MyCareerHub has more suggestions.

The Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest research organisations and offers funded summer placements at its three sites including at Edinburgh

For some funders you need to be second year or beyond in your degree. The bursaries are administered in myriad ways – sometimes it is YOU who applies once you have found a willing academic, sometimes it’s the participating academic .Sometimes you will have to come up with your own research proposal, but the academic will usually be willing to help (if you ask nicely). 

There is advice on the process of writing research proposals on the Prospects website (UK centred, aimed at PhD candidates – just need to scale it down a bit for undergrad projects) and also the Northwestern University website (USA centred, but same structure, and aimed at undergrad projects).

Looking for MSc funding?

My colleague in our Information Team, June Maguire has highlighted this funding:

We’re seeing quite a few students still looking for funding. Some of these are Masters students who’ve came from other universities, and they haven’t heard about the postgraduate student loans that have now been introduced in all parts of the UK.

Thought it was worth sending a reminder about this funding as students can still apply for it (unlike most other funding e.g. research councils, where the next round of funding will be for 2018/19 courses). For example, if you are eligible for funding by SAAS (the Scottish funding body), you can apply for funding up until the end of March 2018. The loans are up to £10,000 pounds, with up to £5,500 for fees and the rest for living costs.

Each country has its own system, and there are some significant differences in the level of courses funded, as well as the repayment systems. You’ll find comprehensive guides to these loans and how to apply here.

Students will also find information and links to the guides/application info on our website. We can also direct them to the funding section of our website to access other useful sources. Some examples:

Edinburgh 4 Learning, online portal for current students, undergraduate and postgraduate, providing details of funding opportunities available to support you through your studies. You must register with your university email address to access this database.

Research Professional – a vast, up-to-date database of research-based funding opportunities, including doctoral and postdoctoral awards, travel and conference grants, prizes, and hardship grants, and news about research policy. Staff and students of the University may register free of charge (email address must end @ed.ac.uk) to access the databases, receive daily email updates and alerts, and save interesting items and searches.

More details here

Volunteering opportunities with the Royal Meteorological Society

The Scottish Centre of the Royal Meteorological Society meets in the Geography Building on Drummond St once a month during the autumn & winter, with a guest lecture each time. They need volunteer ‘Student Ambassadors’ to help with maintaining the branches’ website and to live tweet during lectures as well as potential for more if you are interested.

Volunteering as a Student Ambassador helps promote meteorology as a science, profession and interest, while improving your employability skills and boosting your CV.

The post is totally flexible around your academic studies and you will  get free Student Membership with the Royal Meteorological Society.

They ask that you commit around 2-3 hours each month. Closing date 1 May.

Please see attached for the RMetS Student Ambassador leaflet, which explains more about the Ambassador role and how to apply.

rmets-student-ambassador-guide-scotland

New student loans for taught postgraduate courses

The Scottish government has now introduced the new student loans for taught postgraduate courses up to Masters level, available from 2017-18 academic year. The maximum loan is £10,000, with up to £5,500 for tuition fees and £4500 for living costs, and there’s no limit on the funded places.

They are for UK students who meet the residency requirement (must have been resident in Scotland for 3 years, not including for periods of study). EU students will be able to apply for tuition fee loans from 2018 academic year. Applications open in April.

There’s more information now on the SAAS website