Vacation Internships

Vacation Internships were formerly called Vacation Bursaries.

The idea behind the Vacation Internships scheme is to give undergraduate students a taster of what it is like to do research. The students are given practical, first-hand experience of working on and carrying out research in a UK university. Up to 15 Vacation Internships per year can be awarded from a university's EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) funding (averaged over the duration of the doctoral training grant).

All students should be undertaking an undergraduate degree, which must be within EPSRC's remit, and should be able to fulfil EPSRC's doctoral training grant eligibility requirements at the end of their undergraduate degree. An internship should generally take place in the summer vacation before the student's final year of study and last an average of ten weeks. The scheme may not be used as a bridge between the undergraduate degree and PhD or other work, therefore students who are currently in their final year and who will have completed their degree by the summer are not eligible. The projects undertaken by the students must be clearly defined, at least 50% within EPSRC's remit and must not be part of a normal degree course.

Students should be employed as interns throughout their Vacation Internship by the Research Organisation and the minimum payment rate should be equivalent to the National Living Wage. (Please note: students undertaking Vacation Internships should receive payment equal to at least the National Living Wage, even if they are aged below 25.) Research Organisations may choose to pay more than the National Living Wage (e.g. to reflect regional differences in living costs) but this must be funded through the flexibility of the training grant; EPSRC will not award any additional funding. The provision and value of any budget for consumables is at the discretion of the awarding university.

The awarding university will be responsible for administering all aspects of the award including:

  • Selecting suitable students in line with EPSRC's expectations (PDF) regarding open access, internationally leading groups and industrial links. Universities are expected to undertake open, merit-based and transparent recruitment of students, selecting candidates regardless of background or any protected characteristic as defined by the Equality Act (2010).
  • Ensuring that appropriate supervision is in place for the students.
  • Ensuring that all support costs awarded are used and accounted for appropriately.

Recruitment to Vacation Internships is undertaken by the university offering the opportunity and any enquiries from students should be addressed to the relevant university. Not all universities with DTPs choose to offer Vacation Internships; it is an option within the flexibility of EPSRC's DTPs.

EPSRC is keen to collect key data on Vacation Internships. DTP grant holders will be asked to report on any internships awarded as part of an annual data return for the DTP. As part of the Final Expenditure Statement for the relevant DTP grant, the university will also need to provide a spreadsheet listing Vacation Internships awarded and details of the funding drawn from the DTP to support these.