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The Brookes Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme

The Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme is a new initiative sponsored by the Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research at Brookes. Its main aim is to enable students to become directly involved in the research work of the University, experience what it's like to be a member of a research team and take part in cutting-edge research.

By doing this students will:
  • gain an understanding of the nature of academic research work
  • learn how a research team or group operates
  • have the opportunity to contribute to the development of new knowledge in their area
  • gain an awareness of career options in the field of academic research
  • gain experience of using some specific research skills
  • develop valuable transferable skills which will be of benefit to them, such as project management, oral and written communication skills and teamwork
  • gain experiences which will help them with their final year projects (in other such schemes in other universities bursary holders have achieved very high marks and both they and supervisors attribute this to the experiences they gained on the scheme)
  • enhance their employability and cv
  • meet other bursary holders in other disciplines and have fun


How the scheme works

Members of staff are invited to submit proposals for student projects or research activities supporting research currently being undertaken within the University. Successful bids will be awarded funding to provide bursaries for nominated students (up to £1,700 each) to take part in the Scheme and, in some cases, may be awarded funding to contribute to the costs of any materials required (up to £300). Bursaries will be equivalent pro rata to the current ESRC research scholarship award i.e. £168 per week for full time study (30 hours), or up to £56 per week for part-time study.

Student projects may last for between 4 and 10 weeks' full time, or 8 and 20 weeks' part-time. Projects may be undertaken by students either full-time in vacation, part-time in semester alongside their studies or part-time in vacation. Where a student undertakes a project part-time in semester, the weekly effort expected of a student should be no more that 10 hours.

It is likely that bursaries will be awarded to projects from a range of academic areas and a range of types and lengths of projects.

Proposals will then be considered in relation to the criteria listed below by an appointed panel, and bursaries will be awarded to those which, in the panel's view, best meet these criteria.

Criteria for the evaluation of proposals are the extent to which the project will be of evident benefit to the student/s, and provide the opportunity to:
  • develop a range of research skills
  • develop a range of transferable skills
  • work as a member of a research team or group and develop awareness of academic research
  • achieve clear outcomes which can be attributed to the efforts of the student
  • where possible, to participate in interdisciplinary work

In addition, departments are required to give an undertaking that students will:
  • receive regular supervision (normally one meeting per week in the case of students carrying out a project full time and one meeting every two weeks for part-time students)
  • be allocated a space in which to work on their project in the department
  • receive training necessary to carry out their project, including health and safety briefing
  • will ensure written feedback is given to the student on completion of the project (with a copy sent to the Reinvention Centre)


Applications for funding should be made using the official Application Form, either electronic or paper, which can be obtained from the Reinvention Centre (see below).

 

How do students get involved?

Students may get involved in any of the following ways:
  • students should ask staff if there are any projects in the department they could get involved with; if several students have expressed an interest, departments may select those with the most convincing reasons for participating in the scheme (see "student's statement" part of the application form)
  • departments may invite applications from students
  • there may be a student with particular skills or research interests whom a department may wish to nominate.
  • students may approach staff with a specific project they are interested in undertaking, or ask Sue Holton in the Careers Centre or Pete Smith in the Reinvention Centre if they can suggest staff who might be interested in supervising them
  • Sue Holton in the Careers Centre will also put students who have a general interest in the scheme in touch with staff looking for students.


It may be appropriate for staff to informally canvass interest from students at any early stage and/or to contact the Careers Centre.

 

Bursary payment

Normally, 80% of the total bursary will be paid to the student in advance, and the remaining 20% will be made available following submission of a poster (see below) and a short evaluation report.

 

Getting the project started

Students will be sent a URSS Student Guide. Supervisors will also be sent a copy of this for reference, along with a URSS Supervisors Guide.
Each student, in negotiation with their supervisor, will then complete a project plan, which both will sign, and retain a copy of, and a further copy will be sent to the Reinvention Centre.

 

Carrying out the project

Following this, the student will undertake their research project under supervision. During this time, advice and support can also be obtained from staff in UpGrade (up to a maximum of 5 hours).

After the agreed period of study is complete, students are asked to prepare a high quality poster for an annual URSS student exhibition. This is intended to be an enjoyable and important event at which students get to celebrate their achievements and receive recognition for them from the University. Details of this, and the short evaluation report needed, are included in the information sent to supervisors and participating students. On receipt of the poster and the report, arrangements will be made for students to receive the remaining portion of their bursary.

 

Independent study module and academic credit

If there is provision in the School for students to undertake a module by independent study, it is hoped that the student will be encouraged and supported to use that opportunity to gain academic credit for their work on the Scheme. If possible, it is recommended that the assessment for the module might be to write up the research undertaken as an article for publication in the Reinvention Centre’s e-journal.

 

Contact

For an application form and guidance notes on how to complete it, or further information about the scheme contact the Reinvention Centre at Brookes phone 01865 484411 (internal extension 4411) or e-mail reinvention@brookes.ac.uk