Summer Vacation Research Competition 2023 - for PDRAs, RAs and Research Associates

Are you a Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA), Research Assistant (RA) or Research Associate interested in developing your project and people management skills? Did you know you can apply to run your own independent project and win funding worth up to £2500 to work with an undergraduate intern for 4-7 weeks on your research?

The Summer Vacation Research Competition (SVRC) will run for the sixth time in 2023 with funding available for 12 different summer vacation research projects to be led by PDRAs, RAs or Research Associates, each of which could be associated with a particular Division and/or Signature Research Theme. (Please note that this year two SVRC opportunities will also be offered to Professional Services (PS) staff for the first time.)

The competition models grant writing and application processes, allowing you to design an independent research project, gain a mentor, receive training and be involved with shortlisting, interviewing and managing a RA, project and budget. The SVRC gives UG students, particularly those from Widening Participation backgrounds, an opportunity to work on cutting-edge research projects and gain valuable paid work experience.

Feedback from postdoc participants is extremely positive with one commenting: “This experience has been invaluable and has made a massive contribution to my development as an early career researcher. I feel more confident in writing funding applications, recruitment, supervision, and leading research independently.” Learn more about the competition and hear from other winners by viewing the recording of the ‘Valuing, supporting and developing our postdocs’ event – please access the link via KentNet (Kent staff login required) and scroll down – the SVRC element begins at 00:25.

Reflecting on the benefits of participation, Dr Jennifer Leigh, the event’s co-founder with Dr Helen Leech, said:

“This competition is an opportunity for PDRAs to develop their grant writing skills and gain experience in a supportive environment – from designing an independent project, applying for funding, and then managing that project from start to finish. They get to lead on shortlisting applicants, manage a budget, and report on findings. It’s been inspiring to see how many previous winners have found success and are flourishing in their careers.”

Details of how to apply, including the application form, are available via KentNet (Kent staff login required). The closing date for applications is 10 February 2023.

An informal virtual Q&A session about the competition will take place on 12 January, 2023 from 1-2pm and PDRAs, RAs, Research Associates and PS colleagues are encouraged to attend. Further details including the Teams meeting link are available via KentNet (Kent staff login required) or please email with any queries in the meantime.

Good luck with your application!

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