Condensed Matter & Materials Physics


Summer Research Projects

Applications are now invited for the 2021 CMMP Summer Research Projects programme. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, projects will run remotely. Deadline for applications is Monday 19th April 2021, 9am.

Student working with ultrahigh vacuum equipment in the London Centre for Nanotechnology

The Condensed Matter and Materials Physics (CMMP) group has funding to support a number of undergraduate students in summer research projects.  The projects cover experimental, theoretical, and computational research, reflecting the broad activities of the CMMP group.  Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is anticipated that the 2021 summer projects will be run remotely.

The placements are open to second and third year undergraduates.  While some funding is reserved only for UCL students, we do also welcome applications from non-UCL students.  The bursaries are awarded on a competitive basis and the student must have an excellent record of achievement in their undergraduate studies.  

These studentships are made possible in part by a generous donation from the Brian Duff family.

What's included?

The CMMP summer bursary funding rate is based on the London Living Wage (2021 - £10.85/hour) to support projects of between 5 and 8 weeks in duration.  The minimum total funding amount to the student is £2000.  The bursary is paid in two instalments at the commencement of the project and half way through. 

You will be supervised by a member of academic staff in the CMMP group.  Depending on the type of project, you may work independently or as part of a group that might include postdoctoral research scientists, PhD students, and Masters students. You will receive training to use any necessary equipment (remote operation) or software.

What's not included
  • There is no funding to cover travel or relocation costs.  
  • Consumables and other research related expenses are not covered and must be provided by the supervisor from their own research funds.
What are my responsibilities?

If you are successful in your application for a CMMP summer research bursary then you will be required to have regular online meetings with your supervisor and to conduct the research project as agreed.  The project schedule and working arrangements will vary greatly depending on the project, but should at a minimum involve meetings with your supervisor at least once a week.  Due to the current pandemic, we do not anticipate any onsite working in 2021. 

How to apply

For the student:

Before applying you should first familiarise yourself with some of the research that is conducted within the CMMP group at UCL.  A good starting point are the Research topic pages on this web site, which you can find by selecting "Research" on the navigation bar.  You can also look at the profiles of individual academics by going to the People page.

Once you have an idea of potential research topic or topics that you might be interested in you should either contact a potential supervisor directly, or email the programme coordinator Dr Steven Schofield (summer_projects.cmmp@ucl.ac.uk)

You MUST INCLUDE in your initial contact:

  • A 2-page CV
  • Copy of your academic transcript
  • Brief one-paragraph description of why you want to do a summer project and research area(s) that you are interested in.

    For the supervisor:

    Once you have agreed with a potential supervisor on a research project, the supervisor will submit an application on your behalf, which will be in the form of a one page proposal, your 2-page CV, and a copy of your academic transcript.  These documents should be emailed to the programme coordinator.  The proposal will be judged against four main criteria: (1) student track record relative to experience; (2) learning outcomes for the student; (3) project planning; (4) project quality. 

    Examples of successful applications

    The following are examples of past successful applications:

      Other funding opportunities

      UCL managed schemes

      • EPSRC Bursary Scheme (not running in 2021)
        All UCL students who apply for the CMMP bursary are encouraged to submit their application also for an EPSRC Summer Bursary.  The application procedure is exactly the same as for the CMMP bursary.  You can of course hold only one bursary so if you are offered a CMMP and EPSRC bursary you must turn one down.  The EPSRC scheme typically funds 10-15 projects each year, but the scope is much broader since these are open to the entire Faculty.  
      • UCL Engineering Summer Studentships (not running in 2021)
        There are opportunities for undergraduate summer research in engineering.  These are open only to students enrolled in the UCL Faculty of Engineering. 

      Placements and funding opportunities external to UCL

      • Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) - Undergraduate Research Bursary
        The RSC offers research bursaries for 6-8 week summer research projects for undergraduate students in the middle years of their course (ie, not first or final year).  The research should have a strong emphasis on chemical research.  
      • Diamond Light Source - University Summer Placements
        The Diamond Student Summer Placement scheme allows undergraduate students studying for a degree in Science, Engineering, Computing, or Mathematics (and who expect to gain a first or upper-second class honours degree) to gain experience working within a scientific environment at Diamond.
      • Royal Microscopical Society Summer Research Projects
        Applications for RMS Summer Studentships must include a significant microscopy component and should be submitted by a suitable host academic on behalf of the student.
      Useful links

      The following links may be of use in finding potential research topics and supervisors

      Important information for supervisors

      All potential supervisors of summer research students at UCL should read the UCL policy for Internships, Work Experience & Volunteering.

      Brian Duff Award

      Summer research project places are competitive.  Each application is assessed by at least three academic members of the CMMP group, and the submissions are ranked based on these assessments.  The highest ranked students will be awarded a named, Brian Duff Summer studentship.