Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships

Our Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships offer students the opportunity of collaborating with our scientists. Applications for the 2016/2017 Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships are due to open in early August 2016.

About our Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships

Our Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships are run over the Australian summer holidays and offers high achieving and promising undergraduate students the opportunity to collaborate with leading CSIRO scientists in our world class facilities.

These prestigious scholarships are highly sought after. Every year we offer around 100 opportunities to eligible undergraduate students in a number of scientific disciplines.

Beyond their scholarship, students may progress to further opportunities with us. In the past, some students have been offered paid employment; others have had the opportunity to undertake their Honours or PhD projects jointly with us. In fact, several of our very senior managers can trace their history with the organisation back to a summer vacation scholarship.

How much oil can an oil seed hold: As a summer student Frankie worked on comparing oil seeds, producing more oil using the same amount of land could increase return for farmers and help meet future demands.

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[Text appears: How much oil can an oil seed hold]

[Image changes to show Frankie Rickard]

Frankie Rickard: I really enjoyed my summer at the CSIRO and have definitely learned a lot throughout my time here.

[Image changes to show Frankie working with another colleague]

The first part of my project involved comparing a number of oil seeds. Just a few examples of products that use plant oils at the moment are green plastic bags which you buy from the supermarket where the slipping agent comes from Canola. Soybean newspaper ink is used in more than 90 percent of American newspapers. And detergents can be made from coconut or palm oil.

[Camera pans of an example of each of the products as Frankie mentions them and then changes back to Frankie working with her colleague on some plant samples]

If we're able to produce more oil from the same amount of land and intensify production there are a number of benefits. Not only does this increase return for farmers but the additional oil could help meet increased demands for food oil and the surplus could be used for industrial purposes.

So coming back to the original question how much oil can an oil seed hold? Well that is something we know that varies between seeds and something that we're hoping to increase in the future.

The best part of the project is getting a feel for how things work in the lab and learning a bit more about science as a career rather than from the lecture theatre at university, which really opened my eyes to science on a larger scale.

[CSIRO Logo appears with text: Big ideas start here www.csiro.au]

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What the scholarships offer you

Students will have the chance to work on a real project in science, engineering or a related field such as science communication. Placements are full time and typically begin in late November or early December and can be from 8 - 12 weeks in length.

Successful applicants are able to expand their skills and knowledge and there are often opportunities to attend conferences and training courses during their time with us. Students are usually required to write a report on their work experience and have the opportunity to make a presentation to their peers and supervisors at the end of the scholarship.

Vacation students will be paid a stipend and in some cases may also receive a contribution towards travel and accommodation costs.

Hunting for black holes: As a part of his vacation scholarship Gabriel spent 6 days observing lunar quasars at the Compact Array in Narrabri, he filmed this short video of his experience.

Show transcript

[Title appears: Hunting for black holes]

[Image shows Gabriel filming himself through a mirror holding a Go Pro camera]

Gabriel: We've just arrived at Narrabri and this is in our room, just having a look around now. This is my room; very Ritz, very Hilton-like. I'm very much looking forward to the six days we're going to spend here.

[Image shows Gabriel standing in a field with satellite dishes in the background]

My name is Gabriel Murphy. I am a summer student here at the CSIRO. We're actually using the Compact Array to study astronomical sources.

[Image shows large satellite dishes in a row, image then changes back to Gabriel in the field]

Hopefully in the time that I've been given we'll be able to attain some nice images and confirm the presence of quasars I am searching for.

[Image of a black hole with a white line protruding from the middle. A label appears on the white line protruding from the black hole: quasar jet]

A lunar quasar is effectively a super massive black hole that's actual accreting matter around it causing two jets of high energy particles and matter to be ejected from it in the form of jets. So we're looking for objects fitting that criteria.

[Image shows Gabriel sitting in an office talking to the camera]

So right now I'm sitting here in the Compact Array's main control room which is used to monitor all six of the antennas as a part of the Compact Array. Right now I am using them to observe my black hole sources, my quasar sources.

[Text appears: Gabriel observed 9 quasars while he was at the telescope. Images of quasars then appear below the text]

[Image shows Gabriel standing next to a large satellite dish talking to the camera. Image then changes to the satellites pointing up at the night sky]

Hello again, this is my last day here at Narrabri. I've really enjoyed the past couple of days here, it's a really fantastic experience being able to learn about and use such a high tech piece of astronomical equipment.

[CSIRO Logo appears with text: Big ideas start here www.csiro.au]

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Requirements and eligibility

Vacation scholarships are intended primarily for students who:

  • are currently enrolled at an Australian university
  • have completed three years of a full-time undergraduate course preferably in science or engineering however exceptional second year students may be considered
  • have a strong academic record (credit average or higher)
  • intend to go on to honours and/or postgraduate study.

When to apply

Applications for our 2016/17 Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships are due to open in early August 2016, please visit this site again at that time.


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