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Legal Obligations

The most important responsibility of supervisors is to ensure that projects are operated safely. Before any work starts supervisors should discuss safety aspects with students and:

  • Prepare a COSHH assessment
  • Register the student for handling radiochemicals, if appropriate
  • Register the student for work with GMOs, and carry out a risk assessment, if appropriate

Part III are registered as research students. Radioactivity forms (for those who will be working with radioisotopes) will also be distributed on 8 October 2010.

Student supervision

Supervisors are requested to nominate a day-to-day or deputy supervisor from within their group on the COSHH form below and to ensure that the deputy receives a copy of these notes. This is to ensure that adequate supervision is available at all times. As part of their supervision it is expected that the student will meet on a regular, weekly basis with their supervisor to discuss progress and future work. Such discussions are greatly facilitated if students are encouraged to provide a written summary of the preceding week’s work.

Supervisors should note that students are expected to be integrated into their research group for the duration of their project and, for example, will participate in group seminars/journal clubs. In encouraging your ‘projectiles’ please remember that all students need to achieve a reasonable balance between project work and other components of the course.

Supervisors are urged to bear in mind that projects are part of a Tripos examination and that they should be run with the intention of obtaining a reasonable amount of results for the write-up. This point arises from one or two recent projects that were too ambitious for a two-term undergraduate project and more akin to a first year PhD. One consequence of obtaining few results is that the candidate has limited scope for demonstrating their capacity to evaluate data critically.

Working Hours

Project students must never work alone in the laboratories, without someone else (other than another project student) being within earshot. Projects are nominally a weekday exercise, and all students should be expected to have left the laboratories by (at the latest) 10.00 pm on Mondays - Fridays. Strictly speaking the students should not be in laboratories at all on Saturdays and Sundays. However, some weekend activity may be unavoidable (e.g. developing an autoradiograph or setting up an "overnight" culture) as agreed with the supervisor and conforming to the overriding rule of not working alone.


Projects run for a total of 17 weeks: eight weeks starting Monday, 11th October 2010 and nine weeks starting Tuesday, 18th January 2011. Precise termination and starting dates in each term to be decided in consultation with the student. Arrangements to make up time lost to illness, interviews, etc. also to be decided by consultation unless interruption is prolonged (i.e. for more than four days - in which case consult Robin Hesketh).

Students are strongly encouraged to commence the write-up of their dissertation before the end of the Lent Term and to organise writing so that they can obtain feedback from their supervisor.


Students will give two formal presentations of their project work:

  • Project colloquium I 6th and 7th December 2010
  • Project colloquium II 28th and 29th April 2011

Project write up

8000 words - due 4th May 2011

General Seminars

Students are expected to attend departmental seminars on a regular basis. Students undertaking projects in other departments may attend seminars in that department/institute in lieu, but they must keep a record of seminars attended.

Budget allocated per project

£750 per student.

Interim Progress Report

Each supervisor and student is asked to send a short progress report (form provided) to the Course Co-ordinator (Dr Nancy Standart) at the end of the Michaelmas Term. This is simply to ensure that there are no problems that require action on our part.