Have you planned out your summer 2012 yet? Tired of doing the same old stuff? Why not try out something different? Why not try some research projects at your local university or apply to one of the research bursaries listed below. How many have actually thought of pursuing a career in research?
Everyone is a form of researcher deep down. Browsing the net looking for a cooking recipe, is a form of a research. It’s all very well that you follow the recipe to the letter but when you decide to add that extra bit of salt (strictly against the orders of your doctor) or extra spices (strictly against the orders of your wife/mum) and Eureka! You are now an experimentalist! Of course, when you’re wife/mum finds out, you are a dead-man, but hey, who said research was safe! Its thrilling and dangerous and it will have you pulling your hair. But more on that later.
You see, truth be told, research is not for everyone! I know, I know, some might call this a blasphemous statement, but its true. It’s about different temperaments and interest, and you should pursue what you enjoy and are best at, etc. But I think, there are a lot of youngsters who find their classes/lectures boring, I was definitely one of those. You may find something interesting but you won’t have the time to look into it as you have 100 maths problems to do (as was the case with my maths teacher). But until you have tried research you won’t know, because I doubt there is any career like it. And there are plenty of opportunities for one take advantage of.
The purpose of this article really and truly, is to ask you to try something different. I am sure many reading this would have thought of a career in finance, or industry and I am not saying that that is a bad choice, though they probably are :). However, I believe that you might end up enjoying research more than you think. Research is not like lectures. It’s not about a set problem with a definite answer. You are almost free mentally and physically to try whatever you want, only your mind, your imagination becomes the constraint (and money, but lets not worry about that, just yet).
So now that you might have become amiable to the suggestion. Why don’t you look at the following opportunities listed below. But before you plunge yourself into research, let me also tell you, that if you decide to not pursue a career in research after having experienced it, you’re CV will remember it for life. You see there are certain skills associated with research that will invariably make you stand out of the crowd. Research requires that you be creative, independent and have the ability to work in a group (its okay if you feel you don’t possess those skills… because, they are skills you develop and learn overtime). But alongside that, it will show the employers, that you have the ability to take the initiative and be proactive, as would be evident by looking at different career paths. In a company, your supervisor does NOT want to be your motivator, you succeed faster and further if you are self-motivated. Research naturally forces you to become self-motivated and self-reliant. All these skills and more, are developed as a researcher, though not everyone will develop them to an equal measure.
Finally, if you decide to apply for any of these research internships, contact us. We do have plenty of experience here, and would be very happy to help you in the process. To-date, we have had 100% success rate (to my knowledge), i am not joking. I myself, decided to pursue a career in research after having got the an undergraduate research project for a summer (plus some reasonable amount of bursary money). For me it was better than wasting my holidays with Family Guy. Turned out I had found my career path…
For GCSE students
Local University – For GCSE students and below, the best would be to contact their local university departments that interests you and ask them if they will be willing to take you on for a summer. Once again, it’s very likely they will not refuse! For more info, please contact us.
For A-Level students
Nuffield Research Bursary – With a small stipend, you are able to do research with a research group in university.
IAYC – A world Astronomy camp held at a different venue each year! In 2012 it will be Germany! Apart from research there are tonnes of travelling and fun activities.
Contact local University – same advice as above for the GCSE students. Pretty much all universities will not hesitate to take you on.
UROP – Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme at one the worlds leading University, Imperial College London. Some projects are funded and some are self-funded. Ask before you turn them down!!
Nuffield Undergraduate Research Bursary – With a stipend of ~ £180 per week for 6-8 weeks, you research!
Summer Internship in Gravitational Waves – The Gravitational Group at Cardiff University provides reserach opportunity for undergraduates to research such exotic topics as black holes with a stipend of £1000/month for 6-8 weeks!
IAYC – A world Astronomy camp held throughout the world, the venue changes every year! In 2012 it will be Germany!
Research Experience Placements with BBSRC – This is funding for bioscience projects and most probably you will have to apply through your Department. See website for more details.
Summer Internships in the US – The US has the most universities in the top 20 of the world university ranking for a reason! Funding! They have lots of funding and opportunities. Though most will be for US citizens some are open for international applicants. Check out the list! Might be equally useful for our international readers.
ESA Summer student – Summer Opportunity at the European Space Agency!
CERN Summer Student Programme – Research at the world-renowned Cern Labs!!! I wish I was an undergraduate again!
Fermilab (Chicago, USA) Internship – Research at the (second most) prestigious particle accelerator.
Space Studies Program (summer) – held at the International Space University… come on how cool is that!! I will say no more, check it out for yourselves.
ESA Graduate Program – The graduate program for the European Space Agency, they advertise opportunities in all different areas from humanities to science throughout the year.