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The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) has a proud history in Victoria’s biomedical research industry, facilitating more than 700 undergraduate student job placements at over 50 organisations across the state. CSIRO Education and Outreach has been responsible for administering the program since January 2020.

Thank you for supporting the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

We have made the difficult decision to not proceed with the first planned UROP Round in 2021 (applications opening in March 2021) due to COVID-19 disruption. As always, the safety and wellbeing of our staff and program participants is our number one priority and we believe this is the right decision based on the current environment.

We will provide more information on the second UROP Round in 2021 (applications opening in August) when this is available.

We will continue to provide support to students and supervisors currently engaged in UROP placements.

If you have any questions, please contact us at UROP@CSIRO.au

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. 

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 is designed to allow students to become integrated into the research group – students are expected to hold their positions for a minimum of six months.

UROP students must work full-time during some or all of their university vacation periods (approx. two weeks during the winter recess and four weeks during the summer recess) and around eight hours a week during semester. It is recommended that during semester, students work at least one eight hour day, or two half days per 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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