The Graduate and Researcher College is pleased to support the Summer Vacation Research Competition (SVRC).

This event attracts PDRAs, RAs and Research Associates looking to gain additional research project and line management experience, and enthusiastic and motivated undergraduate students wishing to acquire research experience through an established scheme in which they are supported by University staff. The competition, now in its sixth year, was initiated and is led by Dr Jennifer Leigh with a team including academic and professional services colleagues from across the University: Dr Helen Leech (Division of Natural Sciences), Dr Sarah Tetley (RIS), Hannah Greer (CES) and Dr Alison Charles (GRC).

Participating in this competition is a great way to boost your career: eligible early career researchers (ECRs) gain transferable skills through developing a research proposal, shortlisting and interviewing students, and managing their own project, budget, and intern for 4-7 weeks (via funding worth up to £2500). Selected undergraduates learn more about the world of research through active participation in a real-life project paid at a living wage. The competition is aimed in particular at Widening Participation students but open to all (home and international) undergraduates who are either a) in their second year or b) in their third year and continuing at Kent for another year.

This innovative opportunity is part of the University’s combined strategy to support the professional and career development of academic and research staff, including ECRs, and to enable students actively to participate in research. The initiative is generously supported by the Careers and Employability Service’s Work-Study Scheme and CES manage all undergraduate applications, feedback, and employment. Other support is received from the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Research & Innovation, the Divisions, the Graduate and Researcher College, Research and Innovation Services, the Signature Research Theme Leads and Student Services.

New for 2023: For the first time, there are two SVRC opportunities for Professional Services (PS) staff

Recruitment to the 2023 Summer Vacation Research Competition has now begun and further information, including application forms, is now available on KentNet (Kent staff login required).

The closing date for applications is 10 February 2023.

A virtual Q&A Session about the 2023 Competition was held on Thursday, 12 January 2023 from 1-2pm. Access the link to the recording (Kent staff login required).

Information about the competition is available via a range of blogposts which include details of the 2023 competitions for PDRAs, RAs and Research Associates and PS staff, the 2022 competition and participants, and information about postdoc and undergraduate winners from 2021 and 2022. Kent academic and research staff can also view the recording of our ‘Valuing, supporting and developing our postdocs‘ event on 21 September 2021, during which previous winners spoke about their very positive experiences of the competition. (Please access the link via KentNet and scroll down.)

To contact the competition organisers, please email

If you are interested in advertising a work opportunity to students, please contact