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Summer Studentships

Welcome to the Summer Studentship programme at the University of Otago, Wellington

Every year the University of Otago, Wellington hosts the Summer Studentship Research Programme which takes place over the November to February period and is made up of 10 weeks.

Participating students will get an introduction to research methods in fields that are of interest to them, such as public health, clinical or laboratory-based research.

The programme is heavily dependent upon the financial generosity of external organisations, individuals and UOW departments that contribute funding for projects.

The Scholarship is to the value of NZ$5,000 this is paid as a non-taxable educational grant during the studentship; with the aim of encouraging students to take up a research career in New Zealand.

The Summer Research Scholarships are open only to undergraduate students who are returning to study at the University of Otago or other New Zealand Universities the following year. Students who have graduated, or currently hold a Doctoral or Masters are not eligible for a Summer Research Scholarship.

2018/2019 Summer Studentship Projects

Summer Research Scholarships provide practical opportunities for students to learn about research by working on projects under supervision over the summer period of November to February.

This listing compiles Projects available so far. More projects will be released at a later time; we recommend bookmarking the web page, if you have not done so already – register your interest and sign up to the UOW summer student database to receive recent updates on newly released projects.

Deadline for project funding and placement confirmation is 29th October 2018.

[projects are listed in order of current to older projects]

project list download here

Leading Supervisor Project Ref # Project Title
Dr. Nanette Schleich 18-88 Development of 3D printed test and calibration phantoms for X-ray CT imaging
Dr. Amanda Jones 18-100 Simulating a population health intervention to improve oral health: a pilot study
Dr. Juliet Elvy 18-109 Establishing an antibiotic allergy delabelling algorithm and oral penicillin challenge protocols for CCDHB: a feasibility study.
Dr Patrick McHugh 18-110 Community development in an isolated rural community

[please note the following projects have been closed off - the supervisor in process of selection

Projects Unavailable 

[please note the following projects have been filled]

Projects Already Filled
18-92 Rural health experience for pre-registration health professional students
18-113 Establishing the impact of sepsis and blood stream infection in Wellington and Kenepuru Hospitals
18-112 Evaluation of progress in Choosing Wisely in Wellington and Hutt Hospitals
18-99 National Stroke Register Development and Data Analysis
18-108 - Measuring patient engagement with a digital health program
18-107 - Evaluation of progress in use of Choosing Wisely questions in an out patients clinics
18-106 - GLBTQ Cultural Competency in Residential Care (subject to funding confirmation)
18-105 - Publications outcomes from summer student projects at the University of Otago
18-104 - Ectopic gastric mucosa associated with jejunal atresia
18-95 - Freestyle Libre Continuous Glucose Monitor. Reliability of alternative sites of insertion
18-94 - Suicide prevention for men
18-91 - Associations between MMR Deficiency, Tumour Infiltrating Lymphocytes, and Lymph Node Retrieval in Colorectal Cancer
18-90 - Quality of Life and Patient Reported Outcome Measures in Colorectal Cancer
18-89 - Inflammatory cytokines in coronary disease - is depression a contributor?

2017/18 Summer Studentship Oral Competition

We would like to acknowledge and thank the University of Otago, Wellington for the financial contribution towards the Summer Studentship Oral Presentation prize.

The written reports were all evaluated to produce a list of the top four best reports.

The four finalist students were:

  • Amy O'Neill
  • Lachlan Harrison
  • Chayce Glass
  • Georges Tinawi

Summer Studentship Group Photo 650px

Georges Tinawi was judged the winner of the 2017/18 Summer Studentship Oral Presentation Competition. Georges investigated the Neoadjuvant Therapy in Rectal Cancer under the supervision of Associate Professor Peter Larsen; this educational stipend was sponsored by the Surgical Trust.

The runner-ups are:

  • Lachlan Harrison under the supervision of Professor Mark Stringer.
  • Chayce Glass under the supervision of Associate Dean (Maori) Bridget Robson  and Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho.
  • Amy O'Neill under the supervision of Dr Rebecca Grainger and Associate Professor Diane Kenwright.

We also thank Associate Professors William Levack, Rob Siebers and Dr Clint Gray for undertaking the difficult task of assessing the final reports.

These reports are a small reflection of the enormous amount of work and commitment by the students, staff, departments and sponsors. 

The process

The process begins in late-April of every year, when a call for proposals is sent out to all UOW campus staff and CCDHB staff who have an affiliation to the University of Otago, Wellington.  

Projects approved by a select-panel will be released in the first week of August on this web page. [Please note: Some projects released may not already have funding secured.] 

Students are encouraged to apply directly to the project’s supervisor with a  cover letter and a one-page CV. The successful student, will receive an email from the Research Office with the necessary paperwork to complete. 

Some projects will require assistance in securing funding, the Research Office will start approaching seasonal funders once a list of approved projects are confirmed. The cutoff date for projects that require assistance in obtaining funding is 15th April; late submissions will be declined unless the supervisor is able to arrange financial support for a studentship scholarship for their project.  Once funding is secured the Research Office will let all parties know and the project can go ahead in November.

The time-frame of the Summer Studentship Programme is from November to February (10-weeks excluding the Christmas and New Year public holidays).  The judging of the final reports is done in mid-to-late-March.

One of the conditions in the programme is at the end of the studentship the Student must have submitted a final report (consisting of a lay report and a scientific report) to the Research Office by the February deadline. 

A select-panel will review the reports submitted and choose three or four finalists to take part in the oral presentation competition in early-March. 

The competition takes place at the University of Otago, Wellington. The finalists will present a 15-minute talk. The winner of the Oral Presentation Competition will be awarded the University of Otago, Wellington Summer Studentship Prize.

Information for supervisors

Supervisors must remember that projects need to be in the health-related field.  Projects submitted must have a University of Otago, Wellington academic staff member as the main supervisor. 

If Ethics is required for a project, supervisors should seek ethics approval when they submit the project application. Full ethical approval must be obtained before the project can be advertised to any students. A copy of the current letter of ethical approval must be provided to the Research Office.

Application forms are completed online. If you require assistance please email Tina Uiese at

Supervisors must read the Summer Studentship Handbook to ascertain the rules of the studentship programme and supervisor's obligations under the scheme. 

Information for students

Students must read the Summer Studentship Handbook and agree to the terms and conditions. 

Occasionally the research office will be sending out information, updates and reminders to students interested in possible projects. To register on our database for these email-outs please go to:

Projects will be listed on this webpage as they become available between August and October.  

Who can apply for the Summer Studentship programme?

The Summer Studentship is open to any undergraduate student who is currently enrolled at the University of Otago and at any New Zealand universities.

The purpose of the studentship is to encourage undergraduate students into research careers and therefore is not designed for those with PhDs, master's or who have already graduated.

Research Office contact details

Tina Uiese
Summer Studentship Programme Administrator
Tel +64 4 918 6552

Associate Professor William Levack
Associate Dean (Research)
Tel +64 4 918 6279