The School of Earth Sciences at Bristol University is renowned worldwide for its research in a broad range of disciplines across the earth sciences, from volcanoes to dinosaurs, from climate change to Martian atmospheres, from turbidites to perovskites. The research is carried out by academic staff, postdocs, PhD students, MSc and MSci students.
The Research Volunteer Programme, launched in 2006, gives undergraduate students the opportunity to be involved in research on a voluntary basis during the summer vacation. Members of staff are asked to propose projects that would be of benefit to their research group, and which could be undertaken by (or with the help of) an undergraduate student. Projects are listed on the linked page, and students are invited to apply direct to the named contact.
This provides a great opportunity for bright undergraduates to experience the other side of the School. They can sample what research is really like: be prepared for an exciting time, but also for some drudgery along the way. As Thomas Edison said, 'Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration' - that is a fair description of research.
The positions are awarded competitively, and they are generally unpaid. Applicants can check the rough requirements in terms of background knowledge and skills, and the proposed time scales under the project descriptions. If a student is awarded a position, and does well, this will be wonderful experience of real-life research, working with a team, and problem solving. It also makes a great line in a cv, and a good talking-point for interviews.
During previous summers, students from years 1, 2 and 3 have worked on a variety of projects, for periods of between 2 and 6 weeks. More than one student has become a co-author of a resulting publication, and others have chosen to continue working on their projects during the year, as time has allowed.
Anyone working for 50 hours or more will be eligible to participate in the Careers Service's "Work Experience Award".
Responsibilities of supervisors and volunteer students
PROJECTS FOR SUMMER 2017 - University of Bristol only access