The Biochemical Society sets aside as much funding as possible for its annual Summer Vacation Studentship Scheme. The purpose of the Scheme is to provide undergraduate students in biochemistry and related subjects with hands-on experience of laboratory research. Studentship experiences are hard to come by and, if awarded, the experience can benefit a young researcher and their supervisor greatly.
Competition for places is fierce - generally most of the applications are of high quality.
Applications must be made on behalf of the student by the supervisor. Each applicant (the supervisor) may only apply for sponsorship of one student per round of application. The applicant (supervisor) must be a current member of the Biochemical Society for at least 12 months prior to the closing date of the grants.
Once an award has been offered to a named student it cannot be transferred to another student.
Applications will be assessed according to three criteria:
This refers to the academic quality of the project. Key points to note or incorporate into the application include:
- The project must be underpinned by good scientific reasoning.
- The project must be achievable within the timescale (timetable of activities for the 6-8 weeks should be included).
- The proposal should highlight the role of the student working on a summer bursary, not a research proposal
(N.B. it should be made clear that the academic supervisor has already discussed matters with the student and had developed a project to consider their interests, abilities and career aspirations).
- The value of studentship to the supervisor.
- References to relevant publications.
The project should provide a defined training path for the student and should offer clear added value to the student’s degree experience, including:
- What work will be carried out that will complement what is available as part of the degree programme?
- Is the research question asked one that is unlikely to present itself on an undergraduate programme outside a 30 to 40 credit final year project?
- Will the student be trained to use new equipment or to develop new techniques?
- How will the student interact with the rest of the research group?
Support provided to the student
This refers to the research environment and level of support offered to the student. Key points that should be incorporated in the application include:
- Programme of supervision for the student (including details of who will supervise the student on a day-to-day basis).
- Details of the induction process (e.g. provision of health and safety information, Ethics, good lab practice).
- How much interaction there will be with other researchers (this can include attendance at meetings, seminars or conferences in addition to working with other members of the research team).
- Description of who will pay for ongoing consumables (N.B. this does not form part of the studentship provision).
- Whether there is an opportunity for the student to present their work during or at the end of the project.
Academic ability of the student
This refers to the student’s academic performance and their capability to carry out the project proposed. Key points to note or incorporate into the application include:
- Pre-University qualifications and details of marks so far achieved on the degree course, e.g. a Grade % for each module studied on the course. Ranking within the year would be useful.
- Students must have performance at the level of an Upper Second Class Honours or better. (N.B. Students with a low result in their pre-University qualifications will still be eligible to apply for a studentship if they have done well in their university course, but applicants who are only likely to achieve a 2ii (whatever their pre-University qualifications) will generally not be favoured).
The student should indicate:
- Why they wish to work with the laboratory in question and on the project proposed.
- Why the studentship will be useful to their future career.
- What they hope to gain from the experience.
Please note: The Summer Vacation Studentship scheme is open to overseas students and mature students.