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Cambridge long vacation scholarship scheme 2017/18

To commemorate the period during World War Two when Queen Mary College was evacuated to King’s College, Cambridge, eight students are invited to spend four weeks at King’s College during the Long Vacation Term.  In addition, one student is also invited to spend four weeks at St John’s College, Cambridge.

Dates for 2018/19 are to be confirmed.

Each Faculty has been allocated one or more of these nine places depending on the size of the Faculty and your Faculty Administrators will advertise the scheme only to those students who may be eligible to apply. Each Faculty will have their own application process and deadline, so please refer to them if you have any queries about that.

Each student will receive a scholarship of £455 from QMUL to cover travelling expenses to and from Cambridge, together with maintenance during the 4 week period.  King’s College and St John’s College provide free accommodation and usually put on a couple of organised activities. 

There is no formal academic element of the scheme and the students will need to devise their own study programme. It is expected that students will spend their time at Cambridge in using the academic facilities in the furtherance of their undergraduate studies.

The students will have reading rights access to the Cambridge University Library and the appropriate Faculty Libraries and they will have borrowing rights at King's College and St John’s Library.

Unfortunately, Cambridge University laboratory facilities cannot be used during the Long Vacation unless the student is able to make prior arrangement directly with the department of interest. Likewise, if students wish to meet with specific academic staff at Cambridge in the summer they would be advised to contact them in advance to arrange a meeting, if appropriate.

Successful applicants will be asked to provide a short report of their time at King's and St John’s. Below is a selection of extracts from reports from previous recipients of the scholarship.

If you have any queries about your Faculty's application process please direct them to your Faculty Administrator, otherwise please direct any queries to:

Bursaries, Grants and Scholarships Office


I had a wonderful time at Cambridge and I feel like I left my heart there. 
The Cambridge Long Vacation was enriching; entirely thanks to the people I met. To be in an amazing place with people who are so engaged in their subjects and intellectually rigorous, who want to debate and discuss, was a fantastic experience. On the other side were the enthusiastic and down-to-earth academics and PhD students. They answered all the questions I had and cleared up all misconceptions about postgraduate studies, and they gave me resources and guidelines for my research. To all the future participants, I strongly recommend you that you do get in touch with your corresponding departments and academics; it will help you broaden your network for sure. 

Cambridge has a lot to offer, so taking a break after a study session was always productive and great. The city has so much history and there is just so much to take in. I believe it is remarkably the perfect place to conduct research as you are surrounded by inspiration everywhere you go. There were also other interesting activities, such as punting – which is quite daunting at first but it is truly fun–, the Shakespeare plays in the colleges’ gardens and stimulating lectures at the Mathematical Institute. 

King's College was breath taking. It felt special to be part of a college and experience a Cambridge student’s lifestyle. Market Hostel was first-rate and the location couldn't be more ideal. We had the market just outside where we could get fresh vegetables and fruits and cuisines from all over the world – you can’t miss out on the paella and Belgian waffles! We had tons of shops and restaurants as well, so you could get anything you wanted within minutes from your room. Moreover, the hostel was really well equipped and I jumped in the adventure of cooking and that helped me improve my previous skills! 

A. S. 2nd Year Physics


Having been invited to King’s College on the CLVS, my time at Cambridge was extended to two months over the summer. This period at the university has been extremely worthwhile as it opened my eyes to the unique educational experience that it offers. With both college and department specific libraries and the main university library overflowing with books on the 6th floor, there is a real sense of freedom to follow your interests. Through exploring the city, I was able to get a feel for its history. From classical music performances at the Fitzwilliam Museum to the impressive botanic gardens and architecture in and around the colleges – I quickly learnt that everything is only a short, scenic walk away!

Over my first week, I was lucky enough to meet with a professor at King’s College from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. Following this, I visited their building at the new science campus in West Cambridge. The warm welcome and an invitation to take on a summer studentship for 6 weeks was more than I could ever have anticipated. Having been introduced to a colleague and offered a project to work on, this is something I am currently still contributing to. My experience so far has involved self-taught programming with MATLAB and writing codes for use in my colleague’s science paper.

On top of this independent work, being given access to the labs, I mixed with the PhD students in the professor’s ‘Structured Materials’ group. Helping out group members with day-to-day activities and experiments gave me a valuable taster of postgraduate studies from a PhD student's perspective. My colleagues treated me as an equal and were very friendly and enthusiastic to teach me about their area of research. Practical work in the labs such as using injection moulding machines and making stents was always insightful and entertaining.

Additionally, over my time working at the department, I appreciated the chance to attend a variety of seminars and watch Masters Students give presentations on their work. The willingness of all the academics I met to share their knowledge and experiences was both enriching and inspiring.

My stay at Cambridge has given me an idea of my future prospects, for which I am incredibly grateful to both universities. Finally, I would advise students to reach out to professors in their field of interest and highly recommend that you apply for this scheme.

R.P. Year 2, Materials Science and Engineering


My time at Kings College Cambridge exceeded all expectations I had, and was a truly valuable experience for me academically and personally. I expected to spend my time at Cambridge studying on my own, and was worried I was going to get quite lonely. In reality, although a lot of my time was spent at the library, the social side of meeting the other students on the scheme, as well as getting to know other students at Cambridge, was so much fun.

During our stay at Kings College, we had some introductory activities to get to know each other, which included an Afternoon Tea, and a ticket to go and see the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival production of Romeo and Juliet. Apart from this, the majority of the stay was very much self-determined. The flexibility and independence of the scheme meant that I was able to construct my own research project, on my own time. This is something I found incredibly valuable from the process, as it gave me the opportunity at undergraduate level to motivate myself to plan and carry out my own research project, without the familiar structure of university. To students who are thinking of taking part in this scheme, I can't recommend it enough. I have made some great friends, lived in a beautiful city for a month, and learnt a lot about myself and what I want to do in the future.

I. S 2nd Year English


I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Cambridge as it offered me both academic enhancement and the opportunity to explore a new area, very different to East London. 
I was fortunate enough to meet with several academic clinicians at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and learn about their research and the facilities in Cambridge. This was invaluable in preparing to apply for a place on the Academic Foundation Programme which I intend to do in a couple of months’ time. 
As we were able to plan our time, I also used the opportunity to write a first draft of a research paper about a condition called retinopathy of prematurity which is a cause of blindness in new born infants who are prematurely. My supervisor is currently reviewing this and we hope to submit it to the Journal of Paediatrics soon. Additionally, I wrote a letter to the Editor of the journal JAMA Ophthalmology which was a learning experience for me as it gave a practical insight into the process of discussion within medical literature. Some of my time was spent preparing a submission for the Royal Society of Medicine Students Section Research presentation prize. 
Staying at St John’s College enabled me to consider what life would be like for a student at Cambridge, as the college system contrasts to our campus-based university. As all the other QM Vacation Scholars were based at King’s College, it was slightly tricky to co-ordinate meeting but we managed to go for dinner and it was nice to hear about what they were all up to. Some friends visited Cambridge and so we did some sightseeing and tried our hand at punting (which is trickier than it looks! But something I would definitely recommend). One weekend I also attended a Retreat by the River which was a nice opportunity to relax and reflect on life. If I had had longer, I would have liked to hire a bike and explore the surrounding countryside more. 
To conclude, the vacation scholarship has been a great, balanced experience which I would recommend to fellow students who are interested in developing academic skills and enjoy being in a new environment. 

R. B 4th Year Medicine


The Cambridge Long Vacation Scholarship Scheme serves as a great opportunity for the participants to get an idea about how independent research works. The month spent at King’s College, Cambridge was extremely useful. The fact that we could access the King’s and the University library allowed me to carry out the research with considerable comfort. The scheme allowed access to the King’s servery and the stay provisions made sure that we had a comfortable environment for work.     Since the scheme required an independent academic plan for the month, it allowed me to work on something that was of my interest. We could contact the lecturers there and set up meetings with them in case we needed any form of guidance. This scheme gave me an opportunity to start working on my final year project, which was extremely useful, considering the importance of the project and the help that I could get at Cambridge.

Apart from the academic support, we had a couple of social engagements, which consisted of an afternoon tea in the King’s wine room and play tickets from the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival. I also got a chance to meet and interact with Queen Mary students from different departments and all these activities played their role in making the experience a comfortable one.  For the students planning on taking up the scheme, it’ll be a great opportunity to understand how research and the field of academia work. Any future participants should try to make the most out of it and should try to contact the fellows at King’s in advance, along with their research proposals.  All in all, Cambridge is a great place for research, and the experience that I had at King’s was a memorable one.

S.  A   2nd Year Computer Science


With the exception of a generous afternoon tea laid on by the college, the CLVSS provides no schedule or itinerary, and this is perhaps the best feature of the program. For four weeks you are allowed to make the most of libraries, labs and whatever other facilities and resources Cambridge can offer. From the perspective of a humanities student, and in contrast to the guidelines given in the rubric, my only advice is not to plan your workload too rigorously; by all means have a rough idea of what you want to be looking at, of course, but remember too that the wealth of resources offered at Cambridge allow for a large amount of nose-following. There are not many times where one gets the opportunity to study for a month without having to produce anything in return. Unlike during turn time, here you are not working to fulfil quotas, deadlines, or guidelines, so you may as well use the month to explore your research area as freely and thoroughly as possible. Enjoy! 

L. T 2nd Year Drama


Whilst I intended to spend the majority of my time in Cambridge working on my dissertation, and indeed this was the case, Cambridge offered much more than archives and libraries (although these were themselves impressive). 
For me, the highlight was the International Security and Intelligence Conference I was lucky enough to attend. Here, I had the opportunity to listen to, and learn from individuals such as Sir Richard Dearlove (formerly head of MI6) and Patrick Calvar (formerly France’s Directorate General of Internal Security) as well as academics including Queen Mary’s own Professor Peter Hennessy. 
For future applicants, my advice would be to give it a go, as you have nothing to lose! Think hard as to why spending such an extended period of time in Cambridge can benefit your degree programme and beyond, and fingers crossed next year you will be one of the lucky ones selected. 

L.M 2nd Y History


The most enticing aspect of the CLVS scheme is its academically open-ended nature. The scheme, otherwise carefully organized, gives no directions as to how a student should spend their time at Cambridge. Thus, the scheme is a different experience for everyone, taking on a vastly different role in each student’s academic development. In practical terms, it provides students the opportunity to follow a study plan tailored to their personal ambitions. It also offers a first taste of true academic freedom, the first opportunity to pursue knowledge and satisfy one’s intellectual curiosity, free of syllabi and structured paths of learning.


The sense of intellectual satisfaction provided by working on independent research is amplified by the inspiring environment at Cambridge. It is hard not to find oneself absorbed by one’s work when surrounded by buildings that for centuries have hosted some of the brightest minds in academia. I spent my time performing background research for my undergraduate final project, working in the Cambridge University Library, as well as in the King’s College library. Both were environments which strengthened my ambition to continue my future studies at Cambridge, and bolstered my motivation to work towards that goal. Furthermore, the university continues to host prominent academics today, and a few students found a way to leverage this resource by involving themselves in their work. Such connections will undoubtedly be valuable assets in those students’ future careers.


I wholeheartedly recommend the CLVS scheme, especially to individuals with a genuine thirst for knowledge and a passion for learning, as they will find the experience incredibly rewarding. Prospective applicants should keep in mind that QMUL is likely to select students who can demonstrate a good fit with the scheme. This means outlining clearly how they intend to make the best use of such a unique opportunity, and how it will benefit their development. It also means demonstrating that they would be respectable representatives of Queen Mary, upholding and even enhancing the university’s reputation. Should one be awarded the scholarship, my recommendation is to prepare a detailed plan of things to do, tailored to one’s personal and academic development, to ensure that one makes the most out of the unique opportunity.

M. D. 2nd Year Computer Science with IE


The Cambridge Long Vacation Scholarship scheme was a truly amazing experience and I will be forever grateful to both universities for affording me such an opportunity. The scheme is very much independent, so I would strongly advise drafting a study plan and contacting faculty members early on. I spent my time researching the complicity of International NGOs and aid organisations in genocide and ethnic cleansing, which was aided by the wealth of resources at the POLIS centre and Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. The law faculty was very approachable, and I was able to meet up with a faculty member for advice about applying for a masters in law. 

More generally, the academic environment at Cambridge University and its great history motivates you to push your studying to a new level, to match those who once walked its halls. Also, King’s College very usefully has a 24/7 library throughout the summer so you can be flexible with your studies. I would, however, advise looking up any crucial books you require beforehand and where they are located, as you will have borrowing rights only at King’s College library, and are limited to reading rights at the UL and other College libraries, with some of the latter being hard to access, or impossible if they are at Trinity or St John’s College. 

Furthermore, even though I didn’t expect to, I forged some great friendships during my stay here. The other QM students in the scheme were from different departments and undertaking some very interesting research, which we would discuss over lunch/dinner at the College dining hall – you will want to make use of the subsidised food rates and atmosphere. The College also organised for us an afternoon tea and free tickets to see Romeo and Juliet at King’s fellow garden as part of the Cambridge Shakespeare festival. Being a massive Shakespeare fan I also managed to see Antony and Cleopatra. Other extra-curricular activities included: walking around the different College gardens, movie nights, classical shows at the Fitzwilliam museum (a must see), morning jogs down the river, bike tours and of course punting. There is so much to do at Cambridge, my only complaint is that it is over!” 

A  A   2nd Y Law and Politics

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