Undergraduate summer placements

Summer lab projects for undergraduates

Working in a lab over a summer vacation is a wonderful way to gain experience of academic research.  It will give you useful knowledge to take into the research project component of your undergraduate degree, and if you are thinking of continuing your education on a postgraduate programme, it will provide invaluable insight into what a research lab really does.

Many of the labs that are part of Edinburgh Infectious Diseases are willing to host undergraduate students from the University of Edinburgh, or other institutions, during the summer, both on a voluntary and paid basis. 

Who provides funding for summer studentships?

Although some labs may have money in the grants they already hold to pay a summer student, most do not.  If you are looking for a paid placement, there are several external funding bodies who award competitive summer studentships - see below.

Students hoping to obtain a funded studentships should start investigating potential host labs in the late autumn, since applications for these studentships are very competitive with closing dates early in the spring.  In general the your supervisor will apply for funding on your behalf, so you will not have to write applications yourself.

Who are studentships for?

For students on a Scottish four year Honours degree course, paid studentships are generally available to applicants who will be carrying out their projects between their third and fourth years of study.  For students on three year degree courses, studentships are generally available for students betwen their second and third years of study.  However it may still be possible to work in a lab on a voluntary unpaid basis earlier in your studies.  Studentships are available for UK and EU students and for other verseas students depending on the necessary visa stipulations being met.

How to find a lab?

In the first instance students should first identifiy a lab that is willing to support them, and agree on a project, before applying to the funding bodies.  A list of labs within Edinburgh Infectious Diseases is given here.  Please read through this list and apply directly to any labs you are interested in. 

When writing to potential supervisors, be specific about why you are applying to them and what aspects of their work interest you in particular - they may recieve many enquiries and you want yours to stand out.  It is also very helpful to include a brief CV giving details of your education and the grades you have achieved - applicants who have performed well during the early years of their University career will have a much greater chance of being successful in applications for competitive funding.  

Can students work as interns on a voluntary basis?

Students are able to work on a voluntary basis to gain lab experience.  If you are looking for an internship on this basis, please make it clear when contacting potential host labs.

Leiden University Medical Centre summer placements for University of Edinburgh students

In addition to being able to apply to work in a University of Edinburgh lab over the summer, University of Edinburgh students who are in the third year of the Infectious Diseases Honours course are eligible to apply for two funded studentships to work at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands.  Projects are available in parasitiology and microbiology on 6 - 8 week placements in July and August betwen their third and fourth years of study.  We have run this very successful programme over the past two years, and it will run again in summer 2016. 

Applications for the 2016 programme open in January 2016.  Details of how to apply will be available in the New Year.

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