The purpose of a vacation studentship is to give you a chance to experience first-hand what working in a research laboratory is really like and to encourage you to consider a career in research when you graduate.
You will be supervised in a self-contained research topic and will be expected to produce a report describing the project you have undertaken. You are asked to provide feedback on the experience and may be asked to give a poster presentation of the results.
This can be a very useful exercise in determining whether you wish to pursue a PhD and can be a prestigious award to have on your CV. You will also find that this experience prepares you well for your final year project.
These studentships are limited and made through open competition. The sponsors fund a maintenance fee for between 8 to 10 weeks.
The closing dates for application usually vary from February to June. The studentships are held sometime between June and September.
How to apply
If you are interested in applying for a studentship you need to speak with the academic in whose research area you would like to work. Applications are made by academic supervisor for a particular research project. Therefore, it is advisable to allow time for the application to be processed.
To apply, you will normally be in the middle (preferably penultimate) year of your first degree. Most funding bodies state that you have to be in year 2 of study, or beyond, to be eligible for funding.