Research Electives

A Guide to Research Electives

 

Not all students want to do clinical electives for all their elective time. Here we aim to provide a reasonably comprehensive list of available undergraduate research programmes that medical, health science and science students are eligible to apply for.

Check out down below for some guides to funding, and some links to some first hand experience by students and a focused approach on how to sort yourself a research elective.

 

Research Programmes in Ireland
HRB Summer Student Scholarship

Location: Ireland

Duration: up to 8 weeks

Application deadline: Mid-February

Eligibility: Student in a health science / social care discipline in an Irish third level institute, but not in final year, and not having previously received an HRB summer student scholarship; supervisor must be based in an Irish third level institute, and project must broadly be definable as patient-oriented, health service-related or population health research.

Requires: CV, letter of recommendation, project proposal.

Details: The Health Research Board’s summer programme is aimed at encouraging an interest in research is students in the health sciences and social care-related disciplines. Students with little research experience are prioritised, and anyone who has previously received a summer scholarship from the HRB is ineligible. Projects can last up to eight weeks, with a stipend of 250 euros per week. The project must fall under one of the broad headings of “patient oriented research”, “health services research” or “public health research”. The HRB itself does not advertise specific projects; students are encouraged to contact labs they are interested in and to develop a project proposal for submission. This proposal includes a brief summary of the student’s previous experience and interests, an overview of the proposed supervisor’s experience supervising students and a short project proposal prepared by the student and supervisor. Applications are submitted through the HRB’s online grant management system by the hosting institution on behalf of the applicant following approval of the head of the appropriate department.. This can take some time which isworth taking into account when considering the timeline for submission. Students are required to submit a short report to the HRB following completion of the project.

RCSI Research Summer School

Location: Ireland, Bahrain, Penang

Duration: 8 weeks structured programme

Application deadline: Mid-February

Eligibility: Undergraduate student in medicine or health science degree. Project supervisor must be an RCSI affiliated Principle Investigator, on any of the RCSI campuses (Ireland, Bahrain, Penang)

Requires: Specific application form via RCSI.

Details: This structured programme includes Research Skills Workshops and the Friday Discovery Series, whereby our students directly interact with researchers from the research community. During this time students are also encouraged to participate in laboratory/clinical meetings, data analysis and journal clubs.  At the end of their eight week project, students as required to submit an abstract, a completed poster and a powerpoint presentation of their research findings. Students and projects are funded through the RCSI Dean’s Office, the Alumni Office, The Charitable Infirmary Charitable Trust, the Association of Physicians of Great Britain & Ireland, the Madeleine Farrell Bequest and the Boulos Hanna endowment for Psychosocial Aspects of Healthcare. Successful stusent are provided with a stipend for up to 8 weeks in total only. Projects range across a broad spectrum of disciplines: biochemistry, bioinformatics, molecular biology, immunology, inflammation, microbiology, molecular oncology, neurosciences and physiology,  pharmacology, and cognitive science to clinical investigation and bioethics.

HRB-TMRN Summer Student Scholarship

Location: Ireland

Duration: up to 8 weeks

Application deadline: Mid-February

Eligibility: Undergraduate student in TCD, UCD, NUIG, UL or UCC, not having previously received an HRB summer student scholarship. Project must be related to trial methodology.

Requires: Specific application form.

Details: The Health Research Board Trials Methodology Research Network has a specific summer scholarship aimed at encouraging research in clinical trial methodology. Projects can last up to eight weeks, with a stipend of 250 euros per week. Projects are pre-specified, and applicants should contact the project lead before completing and submitting the application form.

Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship

Location: Ireland & UK

Duration: 6 – 8 weeks

Application deadline: Mid-February; decision in May

Eligibility: Student in second or third year at a university in Ireland or the UK with no previous science-related degree; supervisor must be a principal investigator in a university in Ireland or the UK.

Requires: CV, letter of recommendation, project summary.

Details: The Wellcome Trust, one of the largest sources of funding for biomedical research in Ireland and the UK, offers a summer scholarship to undergraduate students. The scheme aims to promote an interest in research among undergraduates – as such, students with no previous experience of research are prioritised, and any students with a previous degree involving a substantial research project are ineligible. Additionally, first year students are not eligible to apply. Projects must be six to eight weeks in duration, with a stipend of 250 pounds per week paid to the student. The project must take the form of an independent research project, feasible within the six to eight week timeframe, to be carried out by the student in a lab in a university in Ireland or the UK. The Trust does not offer assistance in identifying potential projects; it is up to the student to find and contact labs they would be interested in working in, and to discuss potential projects. The primary element of the application is a short project proposal, to be prepared by the student and proposed supervisor. Following completion of the project, students must submit a short project report to the Trust.

Research Programmes outside of Ireland
Amgen Scholars – Europe

Location: ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Institut Pasteur (France),  Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Germany), University of Cambridge (UK)

Duration: 8 – 10 weeks

Application deadline: Late January/Early February

Eligibility: Undergraduate student in a European university without a previous degree.

Requires: Online application, CV, transcript, personal statement, letters of recommendation.

Details: The Amgen Scholars programme aims to encourage undergraduate students considering a career in academic research by providing students with the opportunity to undertake a research project in a number of highly-rated institutions throughout Europe. All projects are carried out through English, so it is not necessary to speak the language of the host country. Applicants apply directly to each host institution they are interested in, rather than to a single central entity. As such, applicants are free to apply to as few or as many institutions as they like. The specifics of the application process and the details of the programme vary slightly from institution to institution, though most require a CV, personal statement and two letters of recommendation; some additionally require a specific online form. Notably, the University of Cambridge requires students to contact potential PIs and to develop specific project proposal as part of the application. Other institutes do not require applicants to have confirmed a project prior to application, allowing students the option of specifying broad areas of interest rather than specific projects, then refining the details after they have been accepted. The programme itself consists of eight to ten weeks on an individual research project within a lab at the host institution, along with a structured programme of lectures and workshops. The specifics of these workshops varies from institution to institution, but broadly cover topics such as science communication and career development. The programme also includes social activities, providing funding for participating students to see more of their host city than the inside of their lab. Finally, at the end of the programme, all participants from all host institutions are sent to a symposium in Cambridge, where there is a series of lectures and workshops, and students present a poster on their project. Accepted students are given assistance in finding accommodation for the duration of their project, with most institutions offering to arrange accommodation for the students. Accommodation during the Cambridge symposium is organised and paid for by the Amgen Foundation. Flights to and from the host city, and to and from Cambridge, are paid for by the Foundation. The specific amount paid to students during the programme varies from institution to institution, and is roughly adjusted to the cost of living in the host city.

Amgen Scholars – Japan

Location: Kyoto / Tokyo, Japan

Duration: 8 – 10 weeks (fixed – various)

Application deadline: Early February

Eligibility: Undergraduate student without a previous degree, not in first or final year.

Requires: Online application, CV, personal statement, letters of recommendation.

Details: The Amgen Foundation’s Japan programme follows much the same format as their European programme. Students undertake an 8 – 10 week research project in a lab at one of the host institutions, as well as a structures programme of seminars and workshops. There is also a social programme, and financial support is provided to cover transport, housing and food. This is open to undergraduate students from any country, provided they are not in their first or final year. All projects are conducted through English, so speaking Japanese is not necessary. The programme takes place in Kyoto University and the University of Tokyo. As with the European programme, applicants apply directly to the institutions and can apply to both if they wish. At the end of the programme, participants travel to a symposium in Tokyo for a series of lectures and workshops, and to present their research.

Cold Spring Harbor Undergraduate Research Programme

Location: Cold Spring Harbor, New York

Duration: 10 weeks (fixed – mid-June to mid-August)

Application deadline: Mid-January

Eligibility: Students in a science discipline, not in final year.

Requires: Online application, CV, personal statement, letters of recommendation.

Details: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a private research institution in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. The institutions primary research interests are in cancer, molecular biology, genetics, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology, and is one of the leading research institutions in molecular biology and genetics. Their undergraduate programme is a structured ten-week programme running from mid-June to mid-August, and incorporates an individual research project in one of the institution’s labs as well as a series of lectures and workshops on topics such as programming for research, conduct of research and career development. The application must be completed online, and includes a personal statement and two letters of recommendation. The stipend for successful applicants is 5,000 dollars, and room and board expenses are also covered. Project topics are, of course, limited to the institution’s areas of research. Roughly twenty students are accepted each year.

Summer Research Programme for UG Life Science Students Lausanne

Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Duration: 8 weeks, fixed time frame (early July until late August)

Application deadline: January (applications open in November)

Eligibility: Students in a life science discipline.

Requires: Online application, CV, personal statement, letters of recommendation.

Details: The SRP is run by the Federale Ecole Polytechnique of Lausanne (Lausanne University). Each student will be matched with a specific laboratory based on the student’s interest and background. The student will be working as as member of the research group for a period of eight weeks under supervision of the lab head or a member of his/her research group (graduate student or postdoctoral fellow) on a specific project related to the laboratory’s research programs.  The lab assignments are decided  within a week or two after the selection process is completed. Participants attend a series of weekly workshops given by faculty and researchers from the EPFL and UNIL. The workshops cover a variety of topics ranging from presentation skills, preparing for graduate school and  careers in science. In addition, one session will be devoted to the participants presenting their own summer research project. The goals of these workshops are to broaden the participants’ scientific knowledge, to understand and appreciate the importance and impact of basic research in their everyday life and encourage them to pursue a career in science.Each participant will be required to present the results of their research at a student symposium held at the end of the program. This symposium provides an opportunity for participants to experience presenting their data to their peers and the scientific community at the EPFL and UNIL.

Biocenter Vienna Summer School

Location: Vienna, Austria

Duration: 8 weeks, fixed time frame (end of June until late August)

Application deadline: December of the prior year

Eligibility: Students, who are undergraduates of at least two years standing

Requires: Online application, CV, personal statement, letters of recommendation.

Details: Each fellow will be allocated a faculty member, with whom they will work closely. A diverse range of research projects are available in: Molecular biology, neuroscience, immunology, bioinformatics, RNA biology, stem cells, and biochemistry. The research project will focus on a current topic in the allocated lab. Supported by a member of the laboratory the scholar will be expected to perform experiments, analyse data, generate ideas, and discuss their results. In addition to practical laboratory work the scholar will also take part in lab meetings and journal clubs. The Vienna Biocenter Summer School includes a series of lectures given by faculty members on recent discoveries and state-of-the-art techniques in their respective field. The Vienna Biocenter Summer School concludes with a scientific symposium. You also get to spend an awesome summer in Vienna!

The Janelia Undergraduate Scholars Programme

Location: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Maryland, USA

Duration: 10 weeks, fixed time frame

Application deadline: January

Eligibility: Current undergraduates, must have demonstrated at least one previous research experience

Requires: Online application, CV, personal statement, letters of recommendation.

Details: This program provides an outstanding research experience, an opportunity to network with colleagues at all career levels, and a chance to form lifelong scientific collaborations and friendships. Mainly geared at science students, but some medical students have been known to get it too, but usually a computer science angle is needed for this one!

Also check out the following all based in the UK:

Cancer Research UK (Cambridge)

Crick Institute, London

Institute of Cancer Research (London)

MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College, London

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge

UCL Institute of Child Health

Medical Research Scotland Undergraduate Vacation Scholarship

The Physiological Society Vacation Studentship Scheme

Society for General Microbiology – Harry Smith Scholarship

Biochemical Society Summer Studentships

 

 

 

 

Funding Research Electives

Funding research is difficult, though most of the above mentioned programmes provide some funding – it often won’t cover travel, accommodation and maintenance, on top of the laboratory and research consumables that you’ll use for the project.

So, we’d advise having a look at our Prizes, Awards and Funding page to see where you might be able to get some extra support to fund your research elective!

 

 

 

If you think we’re missing something and have any suggestions to add to the list contact us at tsmj@tcd.ie or editor@tsmj.ie and we’ll add it!

 

 

Also check out:

Personal Experiences of Research Electives

 

A Focused Approach to Research Electives