Vacation Scholarships

©Kallum Corke

Vacation Scholarships enable undergraduate students to develop their research skills through a summer project

The Carnegie Vacation Scholarships aim to encourage undergraduates to develop their independent research skills. The Scheme is open to students enrolled on an undergraduate degree course at an eligible Scottish institution. Awards enable them to learn how to design and manage a research project and prepare for postgraduate study. Students often see their research results published in academic journals or reported in conference presentations. Each year, the Trust organises a poster competition for Vacation Scholarship recipients to allow them to meet and network with each other.

Key Facts

Career Stage:Undergraduate student
Eligible institutions: Scottish universities, Glasgow School of Art and Royal Conservatoire for Scotland
Project location:Student's own institution in Scotland or any other research centre in Scotland or elsewhere
Funding:Stipend based on Scottish Living Wage, for 35 hours per week
Project length2-12 weeks
Number of awards made:Between 75-100 awards made each year
Next deadline15th Feb 2024, 5PM

You are eligible to apply for this Scholarship scheme if you:

  • are an undergraduate student at one of the following institutions:
    • universities: Aberdeen, Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, Heriot-Watt, Highlands and Islands, Queen Margaret, Robert Gordon, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde, West of Scotland;
    • Glasgow School of Art
    • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland;
  • are enrolled at that institution for the full length of your degree, or transferred to that HEI after an HNC/HND from a Scottish college;
  • are in the 3rd year of a 4 year degree, OR in the 3rd or 4th year of a 5 year degree (part-time students must be at an equivalent stage), OR in the 2nd year of a 3 year degree (for example Nursing, BA Acting/Ballet etc.)
  • are entitled to live and work in the UK. Students with Limited Leave to Remain, Pre-settled or Settled Status, or students on a Tier 4 Visa, must be able to prove that they are eligible to work full-time in the UK in the period between May and August 2024.
  • are on track to achieve a 2:1 (or higher) degree classification;
  • have never held a Carnegie Vacation Scholarship.

Who can’t apply

You are not eligible for this award if:

  • you are only studying for part of your degree in Scotland. For example, if you are an exchange student studying in Scotland.
  • you are on course to graduate in summer 2024
  • you have held a Carnegie Vacation Scholarship in the past
  • your migration status does not entitle you to work in the UK.

Note: If you are unsure about your eligibility, contact the Trust.

  • Your project must be a minimum of 2 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks in duration.
  • The project must address a clearly specified research question or hypothesis and will engage you in full-time personal research.
  • The project should give you sufficient scope to develop your ideas, use your initiative and build your research and analytical skills.
  • The project can be undertaken either at your home university or anywhere else in the world, provided the host organisation has suitable facilities and appropriate supervision is in place both at your home university and where the research is to be conducted. The supervisor at your host organisation must also be an established researcher or academic.
  • You must write your own project proposal and will be disqualified if the application and/or case for support appear to have been written by your supervisor or any other person.

Activities that are not eligible:

  • The scholarships can’t be used for language study or for participating in summer schools, or group expeditions.
  • Projects that consist solely of a literature review.
  • The Scheme does not support work placements or volunteering activities.
  • The project cannot form part of your assessed course work: e.g. it cannot be on the same topic as your final year dissertation, although it could address a sub-set of issues or questions that could be expanded into a thesis.
  • It cannot be the continuation of an existing project or study.
  • The project must be supervised by an academic member of staff at your university. The supervisor can be a (senior) lecturer, reader or professor but not a graduate teaching assistant and/or an hourly paid tutor. Additional supervision can be provided by post-docs or PhD students.
  • Supervisors may only nominate one student each year.
  • Supervisors will be asked in the application form to confirm their own availability and willingness to supervise your progress during the period of award.
  • It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that the project is completed within the agreed timescale.
  • The project supervisor is also expected to liaise with their department to ensure that processes are put in place for the timely distribution of the stipend to the student.
  • The supervisor must ensure that: you receive adequate training, all statutory requirements are met (including ethics committee approval, animal licenses and requirements of regulatory authorities where applicable), and the relevant health and safety policies are followed.
  • If the project is to be conducted at a different organisation than your own university, the supervisor at the student’s home institution must ensure that a suitably qualified supervisor is available to supervise you, and that health & safety and any other statutory requirements are met by your host.

When selecting applications, the reviewers and the Trust’s Selection Committee will look at evidence of the following:

Academic standing of student

  • Academic record to date, expected to achieve Honours 2:1 or higher
  • Suitable experience, knowledge and skills for the project
  • Likely to benefit from project by developing existing and/or acquiring new skills

Motivation of the student

  • Evidence that the student conceived the project and has taken a lead role in developing it
  • Career intentions and motivations for undertaking the proposed research

Quality of the project

  • Novelty and originality of the proposed research
  • Clear hypothesis or research question
  • Clear description of the research activities to be undertaken by the student
  • Robust methodology suitable for the proposed research
  • Opportunities for dissemination and impact
  • Achievable within the time constraints

Supervision and Environment

  • Appropriate level of support provided by supervisor for the type of research and proposed topic
  • A suitable research environment and access to necessary facilities

The scholarship includes a weekly stipend which will be the equivalent of the current Scottish Living Wage rate (£12 per hour in 2024).

The Scholarships is intended to cover your living and accommodation costs while undertaking the research.

The stipend will be paid to you by your university at regular intervals during the scholarship.

NOTE: There is no additional funding for consumables, equipment, overheads etc. Host organisations are responsible for ensuring the student has access to all the necessary equipment and consumables to undertake their project.

Before you apply, go through the eligibility checker to make sure you are eligible. Based on your answers, if you appear to be eligible the link to the online application portal will appear.

The online application form opens approximately 8 weeks before the closing date.

We recommend reading the scheme’s regulations and guidelines thoroughly and discussing your project in detail with your supervisor before applying.

After you submit your application, an email will be sent to your supervisor with a request for them to complete the rest of the application and write a reference on your behalf. Your supervisor will then submit the complete application to the Trust. Please ensure that you allow your supervisor sufficient time before the deadline to complete their part of the application.

You will receive a confirmation email when you submit your application and when your supervisor completes their part of the process. The Guide for applicants under Downloadable documents explains the application process in full detail.

Below are links to a number of organisations running similar schemes.

Note: The Carnegie Trust is not responsible for the content of external websites. Please read the guidance and eligibility criteria provided by each organisation before making an application.

Anatomical Society

The British Lichen Society

British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

The Cross Trust (Medical Electives, Arts & Humanities)

Gilchrist Educational Trust (overseas trips and medical electives)

Medical Research Scotland

Royal Society of Biology

Society for Reproduction and Fertility

Universities Federation for Animal Welfare

Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarships

Award Timeline

Application portal opens15 Dec 2023
Closing date for applications15 Feb 2024 5PM
Outcome notified to applicantsApril 2024
Projects startMay 2024
Poster competitionSept 2024

Eligibility Checker

Check your eligibility by selecting all the options that apply to you. The outcome is indicative only and eligibility will be determined once we review the full application.

Check eligibility