- Student eligibility
- Project eligibility
- What's Included
- Application and Reporting Process
- Assessment process
- Useful links
- Submit an application
- Student eligibility
- Project eligibility
- What's Included
- Application and Reporting Process
- Assessment process
- Useful links
- Submit an application
The Vacation Scholarship Scheme is intended for Scottish students undertaking an undergraduate degree course at a Scottish university, who have shown exceptional merit at university, and who would like to devote some portion of the long vacation to undertake a programme of independent research of direct benefit to their academic work.
"The project gave me greater insight into the process of planning and conducting field based research for extended periods of time." Catherine Mercer, University of Stirling
Photo: Catherine, Carnegie Vacation Scholar, University of Stirling 2016.
- Applicants must be of Scottish birth, or extraction (at least one parent born in Scotland), or have been educated in Scotland at secondary level for at least two years.
- At the time of applying, applicants must be undergraduates of a Scottish university in either
- year 3 of a 4 year degree (or an equivalent stage for part-time students) OR
- year 3 or 4 of a 5 year degree (or an equivalent stage for part-time students).
- Students on intercalated years of medicine are also eligible if they meet the above criteria.
- Students may be awarded only one Vacation Scholarship during their studies.
- The eligible universities are: Aberdeen, Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, Heriot-Watt, Highlands & Islands, Queen Margaret, Robert Gordon, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde, and West of Scotland.
“The Carnegie Trust Vacation Scholarship has provided me with not just a valuable laboratory experience and skills but has also given me a greater confidence in my own abilities and independence as a student.” Ahlam Darasi, Biomedical Sciences, University of the West of Scotland
- Applicants are required to carry out a specific research project, either at the university they are attending or elsewhere. The project will vary according to the field of study, but it should engage the candidate in full-time personal research.
- Projects should provide the student with sufficient scope for the development of ideas, initiative and research skills. Projects that are part of the student’s normal degree course, a work placement (whether paid or unpaid) or a volunteering opportunity with a third party are not eligible for support. Likewise attendance at summer schools, language or any other training courses is not permissible under this scheme.
- A student participating in research activities undertaken as a group, e.g. Undergraduate Expeditions, may apply, provided that a) he, or she, meets the eligibility criteria of the scheme and b) the proposed research project focuses on a particular aspect or issue distinct from the group’s wider research activities.
- The project must be supervised by a member of staff at the university attended by the student. The supervisor can be a lecturer, reader or professor but not a graduate teaching assistant and/or hourly paid tutor.
- The project description in the application form must be written by the student. Applicants will be disqualified if a project appears to be written by the supervising academic.
- The supervisor should be familiar with the student’s academic record and with the topic of the proposed project. Supervisors are asked at the time of application to comment on the suitability of the project and on their own availability and willingness to supervise the student’s progress during the period of award. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that the project is completed within the timescale agreed at the time of applying.
- The supervisor must ensure the student receives adequate training, meets all statutory requirements (including ethics committee approval, animal licences and requirements of regulatory authorities where applicable) for the work he, or she, will undertake, and follows the relevant health and safety policies.
- When the project is to be conducted at a different organisation than the student’s own university, the supervisor must ensure that suitable arrangements are in place to supervise the student and that health & safety and any other statutory requirements are met by the host institution.
- Supervisors may only nominate one student each year.
- The scholarships cannot be used for language study or for participating in summer schools.
- It does not support work placements or volunteering activities.
- It cannot be part of the student’s assessed course work: e.g. it can’t be the same topic as the final year dissertation, although it could address a sub-set of issues or questions that could be expanded into a dissertation.
- It cannot be the continuation of an existing project.
- The Vacation Scholarship awards are not intended to compete with industrial or labour employment. The value of the Scholarship is £225 per week, with a minimum length of two weeks. The average length of a scholarship is six weeks but applications for eight week Scholarships may be considered at the discretion of the Selection Panels if a strong case for support is made at the time of applying.
- Payment of the funds will be made directly to the University attended by the student.
- A scholarship may be cancelled if a student fails to demonstrate satisfactory progress during the project’s lifetime, or abandons it.
- If a scholarship is cancelled before the start date of the project, the stipend must be returned in full to the Trust.
- Should a project be cancelled or abandoned after the start date, the amount refunded to the Trust will be adjusted based on the number of full weeks already completed by the student.
- Awards are not transferable to a different student or project.
"I moved to Orkney from Glasgow in 2012 to study archaeology at the University of the Highlands and Islands. Being surrounded by the spectacular archaeology here has sparked my interest in the prehistory of Orkney and Northern Scotland, so I jumped at the opportunity to do some original research at the internationally renowned Ness of Brodgar site. Having received this scholarship, and being able to produce visible work from it, should also help when applying for funding in the future." Neil Ackermann, Archaeology student, UHI
There is one deadline per year: 15th March, 5PM.
Applications must be submitted by the student's project supervisor, using the online submission on this website.
Students should not apply directly to the Trust and may be disqualified if applying directly to the Trust.
"As a student of Creative Writing, I used my Vacation Scholarship to produce a collection of short stories written from the perspective of young working-class Scottish women in 2016. To prepare myself, I researched the work of contemporary Scottish writers to explore the forms of urban Scots used by my generation of Glaswegian and Strathclyde women. I kept a weekly writing diary with notes for redraft which helped me polish up each story. Through the scholarship, I gained skills in research, critical analysis of literary texts, developing plot structures and recurring themes, characterisation as well as self-publishing and formatting. My short stories are now available online." Sophie McNaughton, Creative Writing, University of Strathclyde
Application and Reporting Process
Making an application
- Application forms must be submitted online through the Trust’s website by the project supervisor at the student's home university.
- Each application must be signed off by the supervisor’s Head of Department or School before it is submitted online.
- Applications sent directly to the Trust by a student, or received without the Head of Department or School’s signature will be automatically disqualified.
Download the following documents:
Scholarship recipients must complete a report and submit it to the Trust by 31st August in the year in which they held the award. The form should be returned to the Trust.
- Applications are assessed by members of staff and Trustees of the Carnegie Trust.
- When assessing applications, the committees will look at the:
- Academic standing of the student
- Quality of the project
- Feasibility of the project
- Outcomes of the selection process will be communicated to universities and supervisors by early May 2017.
A full description of the assessment criteria is available here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who is eligible for this scheme?
The scheme is open to students of Scottish birth or descent (at least one parent born in Scotland) who are studying at one of the fifteen Scottish universities. It is also open to students who have attended a Scottish secondary school for at least two full years before enrolling at a Scottish university.
Q. At what stage in my studies can I apply?
Students must be approaching the end of their studies. So in year 3 of a 4 year degree, or in year 3 or 4 of a 5 year degree.
Q. How many times can you do a Vacation Scholarship during a degree course?
Students may be awarded only one Vacation Scholarship during their studies.
Q. I am on an intercalated year of a Medical degree. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes, you are eligible as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria of the scheme (see Question 1)
Q. Is this only for students who are on track to achieve a First Class Honours?
No, the scheme is also open to students whose marks to date average a 2:1 and above.
Q. What are the eligible Scottish universities for this scheme?
Students must be studying at one of the following universities: Aberdeen, Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, Heriot-Watt, Highlands & Islands, Queen Margaret, Robert Gordon, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde and West of Scotland.
Q. How long is a Vacation Scholarship?
A Vacation Scholarships is usually 6 weeks in length. The minimum length is 2 weeks and in exceptional circumstances, the Trust may award a scholarship for up to 8 weeks. The weeks do not have to be consecutive.
Q. Where can the student undertake the research project?
The project can be undertaken at the student’s own university, a host organisation in Scotland or elsewhere. It may include a period of work in an archive, museum, library or any other fieldwork for collecting data as well as time in the student’s home institution. When the student wishes to conduct the research at another organisation, it is the responsibility of the student’s home university to ensure adequate measures are in place for the student to conduct his or her project in a safe manner.
Q. How much time should the student spend on the project?
During the scholarship, the student must undertake the project on a full-time basis: 35 hours a week.
Q. Are there restrictions on particular subjects or fields of study?
The scheme is open to any subject or field and there are no priority areas for funding.
Q. I am doing a work placement for my studies which is unpaid. Can I use the scholarship to fund this placement?
No, it is not possible to use the scholarship to fund a placement.
Q. Are any other activities excluded?
Yes, the following activities cannot be supported: attendance or participation at a summer school, any other training activities, volunteering or any similar activities.
Q. Can I use the scholarship to conduct some of my course work (e.g. dissertation project)?
The scholarship cannot be part of the student’s assessed course work. In addition, the project should not be on the same topic as the student’s final year dissertation, nor can it be the continuation of an existing project. However, the proposed project may address a sub-set of issues or a hypothesis which may then be expanded into a broader final year thesis topic.
Q. What type of projects does the trust look to support?
There is no restriction as to the type of projects supported but the proposed research must be innovative and should not normally be part of the student’s course. The project should provide the student with sufficient scope to expand existing skills and/or acquire new skills.
Q. What kind of outputs does the Trust expect?
Successful students must provide a short written report at the end of the project. In addition, the Trust welcomes projects that provide the student with opportunities to present their work, participate in the writing of an article for academic publication, or may lead to the production of new knowledge, a new product, technology or a creative artefact.
Q. Who can supervise the project and what is the role of the supervisor?
The supervisor is an academic at the student’s home institution in Scotland. The supervisor is there to help the student develop the research proposal (although the latter must be written by the student), and to ensure that the student has all the necessary equipment and skills training to undertake the project. The supervisor is also responsible for checking that any Health & Safety or regulatory requirements are met and that the work is indeed conducting and the final report submitted to the Trust.
Q. Can a supervisor be at another organisation than the student's university?
The supervisor completing the application form with the student must an academic member of staff at the student’s home university. Should the project be conducted at a different organisation, the supervisor at the home university should provide details of the host supervisor in section 2.d of the application form. The host supervisor will then be responsible for the day to day conduct of the research at the host organisation.
Q. Who should complete the project description in the application form?
The project description must be written by the student. Applicants will be disqualified if the project is written by an academic.
Q. What should the project description include?
The project description should include a research question or hypothesis, a short background on the issue or topic, a description of what the student will do to answer the research question or hypothesis (e.g. methodology), and the expected outcomes of the study.
Q. What should I include under the Reasons for applying?
In this section you should mention why you are applying, why are you interested in this particular project, and what do you hope to gain from it in terms of skills and/or experience.
Q. What information should the supervisor provide in the application form?
The supervisor should confirm the academic standing of the student, the suitability of the project for the level of experience and skills of the student and the arrangements in place for helping the student complete the proposed work.
Q. Can the supervisor support more than one student at a time?
No, the supervisor cannot submit more than one application a year.
Q. Who else signs the application form?
The Head of Department at the student's home institution must sign the form.
Q. Who is responsible for submitting the application form online?
The supervisor is responsible for submitting the form online through the Trust's website.
Q. How are projects assessed?
The applications are reviewed by a panel of academics who will look at the following: a) academic standing of the student; b) Quality of the project and c) Feasibility of the project.
Q. When will the decisions about the scholarships be made?
The decisions will be reached in early May and the results communicated to the supervising academics and their universities.
Q. Will the Trust provide feedback on unsuccessful applications?
Due to the high level of applications, the Trust is unable to comment on individual applications.
Q. What is the success rate for this scheme?
In 2015-16 the success rate was about 48%.
Q. How much is the stipend?
The stipend is £225 per week. It is paid directly to the student’s university who is responsible to passing it on to the student.
Q. What does the stipend cover?
The stipend is meant to cover the cost of living and maintenance, as well as travel during the tenure of the scholarship.
Q. Can a university apply for additional funds for consumables for the research?
No additional funds can be requested for consumables and the like. Host organisations and universities are expected to provide the necessary equipment and consumables for the student to conduct the proposed research.
Q. Is there a limit to the number of applications by University or Department/School?
There is no limit to the number of applications that can be submitted by a university, department or school. However, the scheme is competitive and Heads of Department or Schools are encouraged to check the strength of the applicants and proposed projects before authorising the submission of applications from their school or department.