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How does the program work?

Students undertake a project which is part of the research program of a research laboratory, are supervised by a research scientist and work alongside other research staff and students in the team.

A wide variety of projects are available to UROP students including those in basic biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, physiology, bioengineering and bioinformatics. Most research positions available through the UROP scheme are laboratory based, but UROP also offers research projects for computational science, engineering and mathematics students, among others.

UROP has two rounds per year. Round 1 opens recruiting at the start of Semester 1 (February/March) with projects starting during the winter break and continuing through Semester 2. Round 2 opens recruiting at the start of Semester 2 (July/August) with the projects beginning over the summer break and continuing through Semester 1 of the following year.

Program aims

Through the program students gain an insight into biomedical research careers and valuable hands-on experience and expertise in laboratory techniques. At the same time the scheme enhances the biomedical research industry's workforce capability by attracting high performing students and building the skills needed for a career in research. UROP aims to:

  • give high performing undergraduate students an opportunity to gain experience in a biomedical research team
  • build workforce capacity in biomedical research, particularly in developing fields
  • attract students from other disciplines into the biomedical and biotechnology sector
  • build relationships between universities, research organisations and the biomedical industry
  • increase the number of 'work-ready' graduates.

Benefits for students

As a student, you will:

  • experience being part of a research team
  • develop expertise in laboratory techniques and experimental design
  • develop skillsets for future employment
  • potentially contribute to scientific publications, patents and presentations
  • create a professional network
  • participate in career development workshops and events.

Benefits for supervisors

As a UROP supervisor, you will:

  • have access to exceptional and highly capable undergraduate students
  • get a custom-matched student who best fits with your research project and team
  • support workforce development with many UROP alumni pursuing research careers in industry or academia via pathways such as Honours, Masters and PhDs
  • potentially connect and collaborate within the UROP community.

Pay and conditions

UROP students are employed by the host laboratory as casual staff, at a rate approximately equivalent to universities' HEW 2 level (approx. $34/hour). Student employment contracts are with the organisation in which they are placed.

Payment is managed through each research organisation’s Human Resources unit. Throughout placements, students are covered by all regulations and conditions governing the research organisation, including occupational health and safety, good scientific practice, ethics, intellectual property and confidentiality.

Timeframe of placements

UROP students must work full-time during some or all of their university vacation periods, approximately two weeks during the winter break and four weeks during the summer break. During semester, students should work eight hours a week.

UROP students must be available to commence work in laboratories during the university's vacation periods (June-July and November-February). Actual start dates are arranged by the supervisor and student.

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