Research Scholarships & Expeditions
An introduction from Professor Suzanne Cholerton
Newcastle University places a high value on students pursuing new knowledge, developing independence of thought, and being exposed to the culture of research. The University supports undergraduate students with scholarships to work alongside researchers on summer vacation projects and, through its Expeditions scheme, to undertake field research in other countries. Both these schemes enable students to experience research-led learning and to develop key skills through a wide range of activities, such as researching new archival material in Newcastle or further afield, working on archaeological material, collecting, analysing and interpreting social data, working on a laboratory project alongside members of a research team, or travelling to another part of the world to undertake a research project in an unfamiliar and challenging environment.
Conducting independent research with the support of more experienced researchers can have a very positive impact on the confidence and motivation of students. By giving students the opportunity to work closely with staff on these schemes, students are able to understand the research activities of academic staff, and to have a window on the research environment. For some students the experience of working on a ‘live’ research project will stimulate or confirm an interest in postgraduate research, for others it will be a way of integrating knowledge, enhancing the learning experience and developing valuable skills and attributes.
As well as encouraging students to explore their interest in pursuing further research, the University has a strong ethos of supporting interdisciplinary work which allows students to work collaboratively on joint research projects. For the first time this year collaborative interdisciplinary research projects undertaken by small groups from different faculties or subject areas have been funded by the Research Scholarships Scheme. In addition, the projects undertaken by students participating in Newcastle University Humanities Research Intitute's Challenge Labs scheme will also showcase the endeavours of students working collaboratively: this scheme sees both undergraduate and postgraduate students working together in groups to addresses in humanities.
Whatever the domain of activity, a Research Scholarship provides an opportunity for students to find out what research is like, to develop research and problem solving skills and to engage in enquiry based learning. The production of a poster at the end of the project helps to develop the student's presentational skills and underline the importance of being able to communicate research findings to a variety of audiences.
I hope that all of the students who were successful in gaining funding to support their research projects will have benefited from their experience through an enhanced understanding of the value of research, and an increased confidence in their research and professional skills.
Professor Suzanne Cholerton