“The Vacation Research Scholar experience is directly linked to research careers through the project supervision provided by research academics at each student’s home university. For some students, their Vacation Research Scholarship project also delivers their first academic publication.”

Chloe Pearse, AMSI Research and Higher Education Program Manager

Information for Supervisors

Research Project

Supervisors work with a student to identify a six-week research project. Please ensure that the scope of the project is feasible in a six-week period and will allow students to present their findings at AMSIConnect.

Supervisors mentor the student for the duration of the project and should arrange regular face-to-face meetings with the student to assist with any problems and ensure that the project stays on track. Supervisors are also responsible for proofreading the final research report and blog post before they are submitted to AMSI, in addition to helping their student prepare for AMSIConnect. This entails assisting with the preparation of presentations, arranging a trial presentation and providing feedback on final reports.

Research reports, blog posts and AMSIConnect presentations should adhere to the AMSI Style Guide (found in the VRS student information booklet) and be prepared using the AMSI templates available for download on the Information for Students page.

We understand that sometimes projects will need to be refocused or slightly amended. If this is the case, please notify us via email at vrs@amsi.org.au. If the changes vary dramatically from the project originally submitted, permission to proceed must be granted by the AMSI Research and Higher Education Program Manager and your Head of Department.

Note: supervisors should be available in Australia for at least five weeks of the agreed period for the research project.

Application Process

You should complete the VRS application together with your student. The application requires a research proposal (maximum one page), the student’s statement of results (including the previous semester’s results) and a letter of support from you.

  • You must nominate a second supervisor if you wish to supervise more than one student.
  • You need to ensure that your university’s relevant AMSI Member department (e.g. the School of Mathematics and Statistics) is aware of the application.
  • Please guide your student as they write their research proposal. The proposal should be no longer than one page and must include references. The research components and timeline of the project must be made clear.
  • Your letter of support should state how suitable the applicant is for the program, what they will gain from attending VRS, and the level of support that you will provide during the process. Your letter should be on official letter headed paper.

Should your student be successful in their application, a copy of the letter agreement signed by your head of department/school will be forwarded to you for your information. This will serve as a formal agreement, binding you to the project and parameters established by the VRS program.

If you cannot meet the application deadline, please contact AMSI as soon as possible at vrs@amsi.org.au.

Withdrawal

If the student you are supervising is unable to complete the AMSI Vacation Research Scholarship, you are responsible for ensuring that your Head of Department, AMSI Member Representative and the AMSI Research and Higher Education Manager are notified in writing with the reasons for withdrawal once the decision has been made. The withdrawal will be reviewed and the student payment adjusted accordingly.

AMSIConnect

AMSIConnect is a two-day residential conference for AMSI Vacation Research Scholars held in February, providing the unique experience of presenting their work to a peer group. VRS Students are funded to travel and stay in Melbourne, Victoria to present their research projects, participate in a careers panel and attend networking events.

AMSI strongly encourages project supervisors to attend AMSIConnect to provide support to their student and to assist with questions if required.

Supervisors should prepare for the presentation at AMSIConnect by:

  • Helping students prepare a 15-minute presentation on the project, suitable for an audience of their peers
  • Arranging a test presentation within the department prior to AMSIConnect
  • Providing feedback so that students feel comfortable presenting their work

Supervisors who attend AMSIConnect are requested to chair at least one session of presentations.

Completion and Deadlines

Following AMSIConnect, students must submit a report on their research project. Supervisors should ensure that the research is written up formally in the style of a journal paper. Reports should be submitted on the AMSI report template (available for download from the Information for Students page) and adhere to the AMSI style guide (found in the VRS student information booklet).

It is important for researchers to explain their work to an audience outside of academia. For this reason we ask students to prepare an accessible blog post. Supervisors should also ensure that this post be presented in a manner suited to a casual audience.

Students may blog about:

  • Their research project
  • Another area of mathematics that interests them
  • How or why they became interested in mathematics

The blog post should be 300-500 words and accessible to a non-specialist audience.

Supervisors should proof research reports and blog posts before the VRS student submits by the 28 February 2020 deadline.

Payment

Scholars receive a weekly stipend payment of A$500 administered by their home university, or the university at which they are enrolled to undertake a Vacation Research Scholarship.

Scholars’ home or host universities should invoice AMSI in two instalments:

  • First instalment of A$2000 ex GST on award of the scholarship.
  • Second instalment of A$1000 ex GST upon:
  1. Completion of a six-week research project under the guidance of a supervisor
  2. Full attendance and presentation at the AMSIConnect conference
  3. Submission of a research report and blog post by 28 February 2020

It is expected that departments pay the awardees out of their own funds and treat the AMSI payment as a reimbursement.

Please speak to your mathematical sciences department to discuss payment arrangements (most AMSI member universities have had Vacation Research Scholars in previous years, and should be aware of the processes).

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