Carnegie Vacation Scholarship

A merit-based independent research scholarship for Scottish undergraduate students.

The Vacation Scholarship Scheme is intended for Scottish students undertaking a degree course at a Scottish university, who have shown exceptional merit at university, and who would like to devote some portion of the long vacation (typically from May onwards) to undertake a programme of independent research of direct benefit to their academic work.

Student eligibility

Applicants must be of Scottish birth, or extraction (at least one parent born in Scotland), or have been educated in Scotland at secondary level for at least two years.

At the time of applying Applicants must be undergraduates of a Scottish university either:

in the third year of a four year course (or an equivalent stage for students on a part-time programme) OR
the third or fourth year of a five year degree (or an equivalent stage for students on a part- time programme).

Students on intercalated years of medicine are also eligible if they meet the above criteria.

Students may be awarded only one Vacation Scholarship during their studies.

The eligible universities are: Aberdeen, Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, Heriot-Watt, Highlands & Islands, Queen Margaret, Robert Gordon, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde and West of Scotland.

Project eligibility

Applicants are required to carry out a specific research project, either at the university they are attending or elsewhere. The project will vary according to the field of study, but it should engage the candidate in full- time personal research.

Projects should provide the student with sufficient scope for the development of ideas, initiative and research skills. Projects that are part of the student’s normal degree course, a work placement (whether paid or unpaid) or a volunteering opportunity with a third party are not eligible for support. Likewise attendance at summer schools, language or any other training courses is not permissible under this scheme.

A student participating in research activities undertaken as a group, e.g. Undergraduate Expeditions, may apply, provided that a) he, or she, meets the eligibility criteria of the scheme and b) the proposed research project focuses on a particular aspect or issue distinct from the group’s wider research activities.

The project description in the application form must be written by the student. Applicants will  be disqualified if a project appears to be written by the supervising academic.

The project must be supervised by a member of staff at the university attended by the student. The supervisor can be a lecturer, reader or professor but not a graduate teaching assistant or hourly paid tutor.

The supervisor should be familiar with the student’s academic record and with the topic of the proposed project. Supervisors are asked at the time of application to comment on the suitability of the project and on their own availability and willingness to supervise the student’s progress during the period of award. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that the project is completed within the timescale agreed at the time of applying.

The supervisor must ensure the student receives adequate training, meets all statutory requirements (including ethics committee approval, animal licences and requirements of regulatory authorities where applicable) for the work he, or she, will undertake, and follows the relevant health and safety policies.

When the project is to be conducted at a different organisation than the student’s own university, the supervisor must ensure that suitable arrangements are in place to supervise the student and that health & safety and any other statutory requirements are met by the host institution.

Application process

The completed application must be submitted online through the Trust’s website by the project supervisor at the student’s own University. Each application must be signed off by the supervisor’s Head of Department or School before it is submitted online. Applications sent directly to the Trust by a student, or received without the Head of Department or School’s signature will be automatically disqualified.

Supervisors may only nominate one student each year.

Assessment criteria

Applications are assessed by members of staff and Trustees of the Carnegie Trust. When assessing applications, the Trust will look at the: A) academic standing of the student; B) quality of the Project and C) feasibility of the Project.

Outcomes of the selection process will be communicated to universities and supervisors by early May.

Scholarship value and payment

The value of the Scholarship is £225 per week, with a minimum length of two weeks. The average length of a scholarship is six weeks but applications for eight week Scholarships may be considered at the discretion of the Selection Panel if a strong case for support is made at the time of applying.

Payment of the funds will be made directly to the University attended by the student.

A scholarship may be cancelled if a student fails to demonstrate satisfactory progress during the project’s lifetime, or abandons it.

If a scholarship is cancelled before the start date of the project, the stipend must be returned in full to the Trust.

Should a project be cancelled or abandoned after the start date, the amount refunded to the Trust will be adjusted based on the number of full weeks already completed by the student.

Awards are not transferable to a different student or project.


Students are expected to submit a brief report on their project to the Trust by the 31st of August in the year of award. Supervisors should also comment on the completed work. A report form is downloadable from the Trust’s website.