Frequently Asked Questions

On this page you will find answers to most of your questions regarding all stages of the Sydney Medical School Summer Research Scholarships. Students interested in applying for the Dean's Award Scholarships (combined MD/MPhil course) should also look at each of the stages for information pertaining to that option.

Please read the information before making any queries.

Topics included on this page are:

Application
Forms and Relevant Documents
Outcomes
When Successful

Application

Eligibility

Topic

Information

8 weeks is a must

Projects run from the end of November until late February. During this time the student must be able to commit 8 weeks full-time to the project. Start and end dates are negotiable between the supervisor and student. Please note some departments may close down for two weeks over Christmas/ New Year. If short-listed for an interview I recommend discussing this with the Supervisor.

 

If you do not have 8 weeks full-time available you should not apply.

International Students

International students can apply if they meet the following two eligibility criteria:

1/ Currently enrolled and studying full-time at an Australian University in an undergraduate degree or professional doctorate, and

2/ Have an appropriate and valid visa to cover the period of the project- copy of passport and visa must be included with the application

Students who have completed or are completing a Masters course are not eligible

Masters by coursework or research are both ineligible.

 

Honours students can apply

Honours students are eligible to apply.

 

We also encourage students to consider turning their Summer Research Scholarship into Honours projects

No specific skills or experience is required to apply

There are no pre-requisites to undertaking the programme. Supervisors are aware that applicants are undergraduate students, usually with no research experience. It is important to show why you are interested in research or that particular field. Sometimes supervisors will be looking for students who have completed basic undergraduate subjects such as statistics.

 

Generally successful students have a credit average or above.

You do not need to be a science/medicine student to apply

Projects cover a wide range of topics, including; public health; social media, programme design, statistical analysis, basic science, clinical trials; social policy; and health economics. A background in science, health or medicine is not required.

 

In recent years we have had a shortage in students looking to undertake statistical analysis projects, students interested in mathematics are strongly encouraged to apply.

1st years can apply

1st year students are regularly considered for projects. It is, however,  important to show a strong desire to research

Dean's Award Scholarships

Students must commit three summer vacations (8 wks at the end of Stage 1, 6 wks at the end of Stage 2 and then 6wks at the end of Year 3 in Stage 3) to a significant research project.

 

Students who defer or discontinue the MPhil or who defer their medical studies to complete the MPhil will no longer be eligible for scholarship support.

Projects

Topic

Information

Only the projects advertised can be granted a scholarship

Scholarships cannot be awarded to students undertaking projects which have not been advertised.

 

Occasionally it is necessary to change the project slightly due to latest results or delays caused by ethics or other influences, this is acceptable as long as it is agreed to by both the supervisor and awarded student.

Should I contact the supervisors before-hand?

 

We recommend contacting the supervisor of the project you are interested in prior to making an application. The supervisor will be able to gauge if you are suited to the project and give more information on the specifics of the project. We recommend you do this by email.

Project start and end dates

 

Projects can start after the last exams in November and must be finished by the advertised end date –late-February. The student must devote 8 weeks full-time to the project. For the purpose of the scholarship we define full-time as 35 hours per week.  The actual start and end dates are negotiable between the awarded student and the supervisor.

 

It is possible to split the weeks devoted to the project if approved prior by the supervisor, eg; three weeks before Christmas and 5 weeks after New Year. If you require any time away during the project period we recommend discussing this with the supervisor during the interview.

 

Please note; some departments are closed over Christmas and New Year for up to 2 weeks.

If you would like to be considered for all suitable projects.

Ensure you click ‘Yes’ on your application form for “I want to be considered for any project”

 

Please ensure you list the three projects you are most interested in on the application form. Then if you are not successful for those two we look at matching you to other projects similar to your research interests. We use the key study interests and type of project preferred, as well as, your cover letter to match you to projects; so ensure you have them as accurate and specific as possible.

Dean's Award Scholarships

Students need to find their own supervisor and design their own project. Students will be required to upload a project plan and supervisor's letter of support with the application documents.

 

Project Plan: The project plan should be  approximately 2 oages in length; include a synopsis, objectives, methodology, resources required and references. The proposal should specifically outline:

  • the work to be undertaken during the summer vacation period
  • how this work would be expanded into an MPhil
  • timelines for completion of the MPhil within the stated timeframe

 

Supervisor's letter of support: Letter should include comment on the applicant's proposed research proposal, and in particular:

  • whether the supervisor considers that the project is suitable for an MPhil project
  • whether in the supervisor's view the applicant is capable of carrying out the project within the stated timeframe
  • confirm that, should the applicant successfully complete the summer research vacation component of the project, they are willing to act as Primary Supervisor for the applicant's MPhil project over three successive summer Vacations as well as during term

 

Forms and Relevant Documents

Application Form

Topic

Information

How to fill in the form

 

The application is an online form which can be saved and completed in stages.

Preferred name

Only fill this in if you routinely use a different name to your first name; such as your middle name; or an English version of a foreign name

Key study interests

 

Key study interests are used to match students to possibly suitable projects. Be as specific as possible.

Example: Instead of Cancer perhaps it is cancer biology, cancer therapy, melanoma, breast cancer, paediatric cancer etc

Example: Neurosciences could be Alzheimer’s disease, brain injury, behavioural sciences, neuropharmacology, sensory systems etc

It doesn’t have to be discipline related; obesity, proteins, youth medicine, vaccinations, mouse models, health policy, biostatistics, flow cytometry, international health are all examples of key study interests. 

How to submit

 

In 2014 all submissions will be via the online application form.

Only the Academic Referee's Report should be emailed to:  medicine.researchsupport@sydney.edu.au Hard copies are not required

You will receive acknowledgement of the application within 2 business days. The acknowledgement will state if all documents have been received or if there are any outstanding. If the acknowledge is not forthcoming you should contact the Office of Research and Research Training either by the same email address or by calling 02 9114 0801.

 

We encourage students to apply well before the due date in case there are missing/ incomplete documents

Late applications are not accepted

Applications must be received by midnight on the advertised due date. Late applications will not be accepted for any reason

Cover Letter

Topic

Information

Who reads it

1/Office of Research and Research Training, Sydney Medical School to look for other suitable projects when matching students

and

2/Potential supervisors: of projects you have chosen; and, projects you are matched to

Who to address this to?

Please address this to either ‘Sydney Medical School’ or ‘ To Whom It May Concern’

What to include

1/ Reasons for wanting to undertake a summer research project

2/ What your study interests are and why

3/ Any relevant experience in the area, this may or may not be in research

 

We recommend not being overly focused on only your first three chosen projects. Generally 25% of successful students are awarded scholarships to matched projects, if your cover letter is too specific you may be overlooked by other supervisors.

Transcript

Topic

Information

University of Sydney transcripts

University of Sydney students do not need to provide official transcripts as we are able to verify the results. University of Sydney students may use Sydney Student to download a pdf version of their transcripts and upload those to the system. .

Other University transcripts

All other University transcripts must be the official transcripts and also include grading scheme from back of transcript

Previous degree

If this is your second degree you may also provide transcripts from previous degrees but you must include a transcript from your current degree

High School results

Please do not provide results from high school, these will not be accepted

1st year transcripts

We understand that transcripts for 1st year students will not have much information but it is a verification that you are a student at that institution

 

Academic Referee's Report

Topic

Information

Who can be an academic referee

Firstly the referee must be an academic; current Phd students are not yet considered academics. High school references will not be accepted

 

The academic should be familiar with your studies. If the only exposure they have is in a large lecture then you may wish to ask a lab demonstrator or tutor who is more familiar with you in a small group situation. They do not have to have a health or medicine background. It can be from a previous degree if appropriate.

 

If you have previously completed any research such as another summer project or elective then the supervisor of that would be ideal. Supervisors of the project you are applying for cannot be your academic referee, this is a conflict of interest.

How to fill out the form

Students fill in section A- their details and then provide to the supervisor either on paper or electronically. Supervisors complete sectionB

Referees email the completed form directly to medicine.researchsupport@sydney.edu.au it is not returned to the student

Referee’s report closing date

Academic Referee’s reports are due the Monday after the application closing date of Summer Scholarships.

Notification

You will be notified if we have not received your academic referee’s report at the time of application.

You will be notified when we have received the report if arriving after your application has been submitted.

Outcomes

Topic

Information

Using as a ILA

Summer Research Scholarship projects can be used as an Independent Learning Activity (ILA) but this will need prior approval from the supervisor and also the panel assessing ILA suitability.

How scholarships are decided

Each project is assessed individually. Students are ranked on suitability for each project taking into account their WAM (transcript), research interests, strength of referee’s report and student background

Outcomes- when, how

 

As each project is assessed individually it is a lengthy process. Assessment begins late September through to early December. Successful applicants are notified as soon as we have an outcome. Unsuccessful applicants are notified by email once all scholarships have been awarded.

Withdrawal of application

If, after application, you are no longer able to undertake a scholarship project please let us know as soon as possible so that we can withdraw your application for consideration.

Dean's Award Scholarships

The Committee will meet early October to decide those who can undertake the Dean's Award Scholarship

When Successful

Documents

Topic

Information

Start and End dates

Negotiate these with your supervisor prior to completing the forms.

Terms and Conditions

Please read these carefully before committing to the project, it is a legal document

Bank Forms

Please complete so that we may get you paid. If there is a change of details, including address, during the period of the scholarship please ensure you notify medicine.researchsupport@sydney.edu.au

Non-University of Sydney students

You will need to provide proof from your university of insurance (Certificate of Currency). This may be available on the university website or you may need to obtain a signed letter from your Student Services Office. Your offer will be conditional upon receipt of these.

Other clearances

There will be a local admin contact designated for each School/Institute. They will contact you to organise any necessary local area admin such as vaccinations or security access.

Ethics

Some projects will require ethics, and students taking part in these projects will be required to be named on the ethics approvals. Generally ratifying ethics to include student names is not a lengthy process. Please ask the supervisor if you have any queries regarding this. Projects may be delayed if ethics are not suitably in place.

Concession card for public transport

NSW students are entitled to and should have the transport sticker on their student cards. As inter-state students are not enrolled full-time they are ineligible for public transport concessions.

Library Access for non-University of Sydney students

Library access can be arranged for non-University of Sydney students. The supervisor will need to fill in the form for temporary access as a research assistant. The form can be found at: http://sydney.edu.au/card_centre/applications/research_assistant.shtml

Change address and details?

If there is a change of details, especially contact details, during the period of the scholarship please ensure you notify medicine.researchsupport@sydney.edu.au

If you have a problem

Please ensure you notify both your supervisor and the Office of Research and Research Training (ORRT) as soon as possible. (medicine.researchsupport@sydney.edu.au or call 02 9114 0801) ORRT is closed over the Christmas/New Year period but you could email christine.anderson@sydney.edu.au which is checked intermittently.

Stipend Payments

Topic

Information

How much

The scholarship recipients will receive $300/week over 8 weeks. This is paid in two instalments of $1,200 each.

When

Students starting their projects prior to the first week in December should receive their first stipend prior to Christmas.

Students starting their projects after that date will receive their first stipend in the second week of January

Second stipends are paid once all requirements to the scholarship have been met.

Don’t receive it on time

Please contact medicine.researchsupport@sydney.edu.au or call 02 9114 0801

Dean's Award Scholarships

Dean's Award Scholarship holders will receive $300/week over 8 weeks paid in one instalment prior to the Christmas break in the first year.

 

The stipend will be $300/week for 6 weeks each over the next two summer breaks.

 

International students will receive a fee waiver of $7,500 per year for two years for the MPhil component

End Requirements

Topic

Information

Report

 

A 1-2 page report on your work for our records. Format will be dependent on your supervisor’s expectations. Any layout is acceptable scientific reports, drafts of journal articles or conference presentations are the most common formats but these may not be required.

Please speak to your supervisor early regarding their expectations.

Survey

 

This will be an online questionnaire regarding your experience in the scholarship, taking approximately 10mins to complete. A link will be sent to you once it is up and running, during February. Supervisors will also be sent a questionnaire to complete.

Oral Presentation

 

Students are required to give a 10minute presentation on their project.  This can be within a local meeting or in competition for the Dean’s prize. If you do not wish to compete for the Dean’s prize please discuss with your supervisor to arrange an appropriate forum for your presentation and let your local area admin contact know.

 

The presentation should go for 10mins and that will be followed by questions from the panel. From previous experience successful students understand their work well and in the context they are performing their work. They should also be able to explain the work in both scientific and layman’s term, as the audience is varied. Power Point presentations are standard.

Dean's Award Scholarships

Dean's Award Scholarship students also have to complete a final report and oral presentation. The Oral Presentation will be made in front of the Committee who will then decide if the student can enrol in the MPhil component under scholarship.

Dean's Prize Award

Topic

Information

What is it?

Each year there is a Dean’s Prize of $1000 to a student who presents exceptional work. There will be a meeting or other event where SRS students from each local precinct will be able to present their work to a panel of academics for judging. The winner of each presentation round will be invited to compete for the Dean’s prize. Academics on the panels should be impartial and therefore not hosting current SRS students.

 

Students are not required to compete for the Dean’s prize and therefore they may also present their work in other formats such as a lab meeting.

When

The Dean’s Prize will usually be held in the second week of March, depending on calendar availability. More information will be sent out mid-February

Dean's Award Scholarships

Dean's Award Scholarship holders are not eligible to compete in the Dean’s Prize

If you still have questions regarding the scholarships and your particular situation please contact