CAL Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme 2020: Student Applicant FAQs


Can I apply to any project I want?

Yes! You can apply to any project, it doesn’t have to be offered by staff in your Department or School. Remember that you can only apply to one project, so consider carefully which project best fits your skills and expertise. 

The scheme sounds great, but what does it actually involve? What will I be doing?

The work required will vary depending on the project you choose – it can range from transcribing documents or working in archives to helping plan a conference or writing content for a website. Make sure you read each project’s details to see what would be expected of you. You’ll also be expected to produce outputs to demonstrate your research, including a short reflective report, a poster, and blog post (you’ll be given support with these). You can see some examples on our blog (

I already have commitments over the summer – will I be able to choose when I do the work?

The work is full-time (36 hours per week) and the scheme aims to be flexible – if successful, you’ll liaise with your academic lead to find a period of 5 weeks over the summer, between 22 June and 18 September, that works for both of you. The 5 weeks do not have to be consecutive.

Do I have to be based in Birmingham over the summer?

The majority of the projects will require you to attend frequent meetings with the academic running the project, so you should be based in Birmingham (we can’t cover transport costs for travelling to the university). There are exceptions to this, so please check the project details or discuss this with the academic lead. If you’re required to travel outside Birmingham for the project, e.g. to archives in London, the scheme will pay for the transport.

How does the selection process work?

Applications close at noon on March 27, then applications will be sent to the project’s academic lead. To help them choose their successful candidate, they might look at your academic transcript and/or invite students to come to an informal interview. We aim to inform all applicants of the outcome in early May.

How competitive is the scholarship scheme?

Each project will generally recruit only one student scholar, but the number of applications to each project differs greatly; projects can receive between 2 and 20 or more applications. Make sure you carefully consider which project to apply for and demonstrate that you’re passionate about that subject.

I’m in first year - is it even worth applying?

Yes! If you can clearly demonstrate that you have the skills the project requires, you could be selected. Even if you’re not successful, you can ask to go through your application with the academic lead to find out where you went wrong so that your application will be stronger if you re-apply next year.

Will the same projects be available next year?

No – the projects vary each year.  

Will I have the chance to develop different skills and meet with other student scholars over the summer?

Of course! There is a series of developmental events for all scholars to help them gain skills that will be useful not only during the project but also later in their degrees. In the past there have been sessions on working in a digital world, an introduction to archives, how to present the Scholarship experience in CVs/job applications, and Postgraduate study options.

I’m interested in applying for a particular project and want more information – who should I talk to?

Please feel free to contact the academic lead on the project for more information or see them in their office hours. Or email the CAL Student Experience team at


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