Science scholarships – a vocation vacation

By Virginia Tressider , CSIRO

2 September 2014

Hammer orchid project

One project is on the evolution of the hammer orchid

Those long summer holidays are getting closer. Some people go somewhere exotic, some chill out at home, and some come and do science with us.

Vacation scholarship students sit at a table.

Applications are now open for our vacation scholarships.

Applications for our vacation scholarships are now open. Every year we make about 200 offers to promising undergraduates who are in the advanced stages of their degrees. The successful applicants get to work on real projects, in science, engineering or related fields like science communication, and get paid to do it. Scholarships are available in all states and the ACT, in a wide range of subject areas. Fancy working on a bird-scarer robot? Or mapping the gene that makes some wine taste salty? Describing a new fossil beetle from the Jurassic?

And it doesn’t necessarily stop there. Some vacation scholars have been offered the opportunity to do their honours or PhD projects with us, while others have been given jobs. If nothing else, former vacation scholars like computer scientist Samantha Connolly say their scholarships helped them build great networks.

A fossil beetle from the Jurassic.

A fossil beetle from the Jurassic.

‘After I left’, she says, ‘I was able to host a Women in Engineering High Tea networking event at CSIRO for Engineers Australia, and to run a robotics workshop for CSIRO’s Double Helix Club. CSIRO is great for allowing its staff to participate in community engagement. My supervisor let me take a few days off to run a robotics workshop, and I was even able to bring in a few robots to show CSIRO employees’.

The scholarships generally start in late November or early December, and run for eight to 12 weeks.  There are some mandatory requirements. Applications close at 11:30 pm AEST Sunday 14 September.

And yes, there IS a link to everything you need to know.