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Posted: 20 February 2006

International Summer Research Programme: Collections-based Biology in Dublin (CoBiD) UREKA 2006

When Boris Jovanovic from Serbia & Montenegro was asked to describe his experience of the CoBiD-UREKA International Summer Research Programme he said ‘It was a time of flooding experience, information accumulation and eternal friendship with present and future scientists.’

CoBiD (Collections-based Biology in Dublin) links Dublin's Natural History Museum and the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Sciences. It is the only dedicated collections-based undergraduate teaching programme in the world, teaching transferable research skills applicable to any area of specimen-based biology.

Funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) as part of the Undergraduate Research Experience & Knowledge Award (UREKA) programme, the CoBiD summer school programme offers students intensive early-stage research experience which can often make or break a research career according to Julia Sigwart, Director of CoBiD.

‘Last year we attracted applications from 28 countries world-wide. The eight students that were accepted into the programme came from Ireland, USA, Canada, Colombia, Serbia and South Africa,” says Sigwart. CoBiD-UREKA offers diverse research projects ranging from systematic biology to ecology and population genetics. Participating students work side-by-side with curators and senior scientists and get involved in all aspects of collections-based research, including dissemination of scientific results through oral presentation and publication. One of last year’s participants, Paulo Pulgarin from Colombia and his mentor is publishing a paper based on his summer research in a scientific journal specialising in bird research.
The kind of students that will be attracted to UREKA will be highly motivated undergraduates with clear research interests who are capable of working independently. According to Des Brabazon, one Irish participant, “the 10 week UREKA project was a personal success and a memorable and progressive summer experience.’

There are fifteen projects lined up for CoBiD-UREKA 2006. This year you could get the opportunity to study Steneosaurus, the long-snouted fossil crocodile, one of the largest crocodiles that ever lived, and CT-scan its braincase to provide new information about internal cranial anatomy. Or you may get to examine the impact of low atmospheric oxygen on plants that are thought to have persisted almost unchanged morphologically through time.

This year’s programme will run from June 12 – August 18. There are twelve places available and the deadline for applications is March 12, 2006. Funding will be provided for successful candidates.

If you are about to complete the penultimate year of your undergraduate science degree (BSc), are eager to extend yourself intellectually, and have your sights set on a career in organismal biology contact:
Julia Sigwart or visit UREKA website or CoBiD website.

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