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Case study: Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS)

The Undergraduate Research Support Scheme enables undergraduate students to carry out an interdisciplinary summer research project. The scheme is open to any UG student at Warwick. Applicants must get the support of an academic supervisor and can apply for a URSS bursary to undertake their research project, either in the UK or abroad, for between 6-10 weeks. Successful applicants receive a bursary up to £1,000 for those carrying out research in the UK and up to £1,500 for those travelling overseas. The bursary is intended to cover travel, accommodation and living costs.

Department(s) / colleagues involved

Careers & Skills, IATL, all academic departments.

Our aim was to …

URSS is a skills development programme that provides an opportunity to gather a wide range of skills and experience that students can use in the future. Students on the scheme must complete an online Moodle course. This is the skills development part of the URSS that helps students make the most of their research experience. The students reflect and record their experience by planning and managing their own research project. At the end of the scheme all the participants submit an abstract and poster which is displayed at a showcase event in November.

What we did …

The URSS bursaries are made up from core funding and contributions from IATL and the Development Office. Students who are funded through academic departments, GRP and Infineum are also able to join the scheme as URSS affiliates.

The outcome has been …

In 2018 the URSS received 264 applications and 163 students were awarded a bursary to carry out their research. Over 180 students participated in the URSS Showcase in November, an event to celebrate the achievement of completing their research project. The event was open to the public to highlight this unique UG research opportunity open to UG students at Warwick.

The benefit/impact has been …

The URSS is regarded as a flagship scheme and one unique to Warwick that has an impact at many levels. Students benefit from ownership and management of a unique research project, develop flexibility and independence, gain subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills, have exposure to a real research environment, and collaborate with a team of researchers, academics and postgraduates. The programme enhances the student’s profile and competiveness when entering the job market and informs future career decisions. The URSS also trains the researchers of the future.


This supports the Education Strategy by …

Undergraduate research constitutes a distinctive and strategically important aspect of teaching and learning at Warwick. The undergraduates have a rich opportunity to engage in research activities through a number of initiatives that include, but are not limited to: URSS, the Reinvention Journal, and the International and British Conferences of Undergraduate Research (ICUR and BCUR).

The response of students / staff has been …

Overall the response has been very positive with staff and students. They indicate that the URSS has provided an opportunity to:

  • Experience real research and be a valuable member of a research team
  • Extend their understanding of an area of interest beyond the syllabus
  • Develop new skills
  • Improve employability prospects
  • Affirm career choices
  • Gain confidence

Our next steps will be …

Looking for a way to internationalise and increase funding to expand the URSS programme.

To find out more, you can contact …

Wendy Hunt, Careers & Skills

w dot hunt dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk