These awards provide promising undergraduates with hands-on experience of research related to human health, to be conducted in a Scottish Higher Education or recognised Research Institution (HE/RI) during the summer vacation, with the aim of encouraging them to consider a research career.

This is an annual competition and up to a maximum of 100 awards will normally be available.

Scholarships are available for six to eight weeks’ work and currently provide a student stipend of £270 per week, which will be paid after receipt, review and approval of a formal short Report of the work conducted.

Students must be at a University within the UK or Republic of Ireland and must not have graduated by the time of completing their Vacation Scholarship Award. There is no requirement or restriction on the subject of the student’s undergraduate degree programme. We welcome applications from students studying any subject, provided the proposed project addresses a question relevant to human health or disease (the causation, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of illness or the development of medical or surgical appliances, including hearing aids) and will increase the student’s understanding of what a full-time research career involves.

Project Supervisors must be employed at Lectureship level or above and should have previous experience of supervising students.

Scholarships are not available for the completion of student projects that are part of the normal degree course, or for students wishing to undertake research in laboratories outside Scotland.

A student who has previously been supported by a Medical Research Scotland Vacation Scholarship may not apply for or be awarded a subsequent Medical Research Scotland Vacation Scholarship. Only one application is permitted per student and/or per Project Supervisor in any one academic year.

Students should contact prospective Supervisors to arrange supervision and projects. Medical Research Scotland does not have the facility to match students to supervisors. Supervisors and students should develop the project and application together.

The application should be for a project which can realistically be undertaken within a maximum of 8 weeks. The student should not be viewed as an extra pair of hands in the host laboratory/research centre.

Applications must be submitted via the online Application Management System (AMS) and notification of the outcome of your application will be sent by email via the AMS. We anticipate notification will be sent in May.

Awards are NOT transferable.

Medical Research Scotland would expect that applicants will accept any offer of award it makes. If the named student accepts an award from any other body, the Supervisor named on this application should inform Medical Research Scotland immediately, requesting that this application be withdrawn.

Following completion of the Vacation Scholarship Award, a short Report (see below) on the project must be completed by the Project Supervisor and the student. You will be notified when this is due by the AMS system.

Applications will be assessed according to criteria that focus on the proposed project and information provided by the student in the Application Form.

All correspondence relating to the application should be submitted by the Project Supervisor, who will be the addressee of correspondence from Medical Research Scotland.

Any queries should be sent to:

Submitting an Application

The Application Form must be submitted by the Project Supervisor through the AMS and only completed after these Guidance Notes and the Medical Research Scotland Vacation Scholarships Standard Conditions (available by downloading via have been read and understood fully.

Supervisors, not students, must click the “Start form” icon.

All Parts of the Application Form must be completed by entering your information in the text boxes, checking the boxes or selecting the appropriate answer from the drop-down lists. Please save your Form regularly, using the Save button within the Form Functions, to avoid losing your work.

You can move easily between the different Parts of the Form using the links at the top of the Form.

The Application Form cannot be submitted until the Project Supervisor, Student, Head of Department and Day-to-Day Supervisor (if applicable) have completed the relevant parts of the Form and signed it. If you hover your mouse over the “Submit” button and a black circular icon with a diagonal line through it appears, this indicates all parts of the application form have not been completed and/or all signatories have not ‘signed’ the form and it cannot be submitted.

To add someone to the Application Form, so that they can enter details or sign it, you must save the Form and press the “Add Collaborator” button within the Form Functions. You will then be prompted to enter their email address, and they will be emailed a notification to login to the AMS and sign/complete any necessary parts of the Form.

Many of the fields on the Application Form have been character-delimited, so there is a maximum to the amount of information you can provide in each. You can see this, and other information to help complete the Form, in the circled “?” next to the question.

At Part 2, you are asked to provide details of any earlier applications made and any other current applications made, or intended to be made, by the named student for a vacation research award for research to be conducted during the summer of the academic year of this Vacation Scholarship application. If you have details of more than one application to enter, please click the “Add a row” button.

At Part 3, you are asked to provide details of the supervisor(s) for the Vacation Scholarship. Project Supervisors must be employed at Lectureship level or above and should have previous experience of supervising students. Medical Research Scotland is aware that close day-to-day supervision may be provided by someone other than the Project Supervisor, who must be suitably qualified and experienced in supervising undergraduate students and must have agreed to supervise the Vacation Scholar prior to submission of the Application. Should the proposed day-to-day supervisor be a PhD Student, reassurance that the PhD student is adequately qualified, experienced and willing to provide the necessary technical and supervisory support for the proposed Vacation Scholar should be provided. This should include:

a) the year of the PhD Student (preferably not 1st year students);

b) a list of any demonstrator/tutoring courses attended by the PhD Student;

c) proficiency of the PhD Student in the necessary techniques;

d) familiarity of the PhD Student with any necessary legislation associated with the research project;

e) the proposed frequency of meetings of the Vacation Scholar with the PhD Student and the frequency of meetings with the Project Supervisor;

f) any other supporting information

If a day-to-day supervisor is involved in the project, they must also sign the Application Form.

At Part 4 you are asked to provide details of the proposed research project. Your application will be reviewed by experienced scientific and/or medical experts, though please note that their expertise may lie in a different specialism to that of your application. This should be taken in to consideration when completing Part 4.

Part 5 Relates to Ethics and Regulatory Issues

Patient/Personal Data: Where patient or other persons’ data are to be used, the guidelines of the Information Services Division Scotland ( must be followed.

Ethic Approval: Research projects requiring approval of the appropriate Research Ethics Committee (REC) (e.g. Multicentre REC, Local REC and/or the Academic Institution’s Committees) must be obtained, for example, research involving NHS patients, staff, fetal material or IVF involving NHS patients, the recently deceased, access to patients’ records or the use of NHS premises or facilities.

Genetic modification: Research proposals which involve genetic modification of organisms must have written authority from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The use of gene therapy in patients must have written approval from the appropriate Research Ethics Committee (REC).

New medicines: The trial of new medicines must have authority from the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Stem cells: Research proposals which involve the use of stem cells must have written authority from the UK Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA).

Use of Human Tissue in Research: In all studies where human tissue (irrespective of origin) is used, the Codes of Practice of the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) ( must be followed.

Research involving Animals: Medical Research Scotland will fund projects involving the appropriate use of animal models, however, wherever possible, procedures should be used which do not involve live animals. When it is essential to carry out experiments involving animals, the requirements of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 must be scrupulously observed. The Project Supervisor is responsible for ensuring that any person using animals to conduct the Vacation Scholarship research project must implement the principles in the cross-funder guidance ‘Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research’ and that the use of non-human primates must comply with the NC3Rs guidelines ‘Non-human primate accommodation, care and use’. Applications involving animals may be referred to the NC3Rs for review.

Supervisors and students using animals must hold the necessary licences (Project and Personal) from the Home Office.

Award Notification and Acceptance

Notification of a Vacation Scholarship award will be sent to all signatories of the Application Form by email via the AMS. The offer must be accepted by all the signatories through the AMS. You must confirm the start date and duration of the project in the AMS Acceptance Form. If you wish to amend the start date or duration of the Vacation Scholarship after the award has been accepted, you must notify Medical Research Scotland via

Submitting the Vacation Scholarship Report

In accordance with the Vacations Scholarships Standard Conditions, a short Report must be submitted within one month of the end date of the Vacation Scholarship.

The Report must be completed and submitted through the AMS. After your application has been accepted you can log in to the AMS, where you will find the Report Form on your dashboard.

The Report should be completed by the Supervisor and the student. The Report must be submitted by the Supervisor.


Payment of the Vacation Scholar stipend will not be made to the Host Institution until the Report has been received and deemed satisfactory by Medical Research Scotland and Medical Research Scotland has received an invoice for the Vacation Scholar stipend. The Host Institution is responsible for paying the stipend to the Vacation Scholar.

It is the responsibility of the Host Institution to submit an invoice to Katrina Muir, Trust Administrator to Medical Research Scotland at Invoices must contain the award reference number.

If an invoice is not received within six (6) months of the agreed completion date of the Vacation Scholarship period, the funding awarded will be forfeited.

Updated January 2022