Funding area: Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)

Are you an undergraduate studying Astronomy looking for funding to further your research skills this summer? The RSE Cormack Vacation Scholarship scheme is now open for applications.

The Cormack Vacation Scholarship scheme is for undergraduate students studying astronomy who have a class record indicative of good research potential and who would like to further their skills and experience by undertaking a period of research at a Scottish Higher Education Institution over the summer holiday period. Applicants should be full-time astronomy undergraduates, normally up to and including the Summer before final year.

This year, we will fund three Scholarships. Scholarships have a value of £266 per week and will be funded for up to a total of  six weeks. Applications with a clear link to mountain-top observing/data may also be considered for the Piazzi Smyth Bequest Award, also valued at £266 a week.

COVID-19 Update: Because of the uncertainties caused by COVID-19, it is currently not clear what projects can take place this summer. The scheme is going ahead and we welcome applications, but please be aware that the actual award of projects will be at the discretion of the hosting institutions. Prospective applicants must make sure they get clear guidance from their proposed host institutions before proceeding.

Fund deadline

April 10, 2020 5:00 pm

Fund value

The value of each Cormack Scholarship and the Piazzi Smyth Scholarship is £266 per week, and the maximum length of each Scholarship is six weeks. The total maximum value of the scholarship is £1,600.

Fund duration

The maximum length of each Scholarship is six weeks.

Additional Information


The Scholarships are open to full time undergraduates. There is no restriction on home institution or nationality, however applicants must be nominated by a department in a Scottish Higher Education Institution and have a class record indicative of good research potential. Please see the Terms & Conditions for further details of project eligibility.


To apply, create a personal profile on the RSE website, or log in using your existing details: www.rse.org.uk/my-account.

Once in your personal profile, register to apply under “Apply for Funding” in the menu on the left hand side of the screen. You will then be able to access the Application Form, Guidelines, and Referee Form for the relevant award. Please ensure you read all eligibility criteria carefully before applying.

The application form is completed partly by you, the Undergraduate Scholar, and partly by the Scholar’s Project Supervisor.

It is your responsibility to ask your referee to send a confidential reference, on the form provided, directly to your Project Supervisor.

Your Project Supervisor must then send the completed set of forms to the RSE at GrantsScholarships@therse.org.uk.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the award, please contact us.


This scholarship for is funded from the Robert Cormack Bequest Fund. Robert Cormack, born in 1858, started work a the age of 14 as a cash boy at Jenners Department Store in Edinburgh, later rising through the ranks to become managing director. His chief hobby was astronomy and this led him in 1930 to make a bequest to the Society for the promotion of astronomical knowledge and research in Scotland.