Final Honours Scheme Research Projects Programme
The following is a brief outline of the Final Honours Scheme (FHS) programme and research project requirements as it applies to the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.
GENERAL INFO ON FINAL HONOURS SCHEME
The FHS for undergraduate students runs in years 2 and 3 and aims to teach the method of critical scientific enquiry and so facilitate thinking and adaptable doctors or research scientists. Students are required to complete an option module, a research project and an essay at various time points over the two-year period. The information on this page relates specifically to the research project element of the FHS.
WHO CAN SUPERVISE?
Anyone who is already involved at supervision level (e.g., MSc/DPhil supervision, line management and above) within the department can supervise an FHS project. Graduate students should not act as supervisors in their own right, i.e., they should be co-supervisors with their PI/group lead. In addition, unless specifically agreed by the FHS committee, no PI should supervise or co-supervise more than three student projects.
Please ensure you are familiar with the Notes for supervisors document before considering offering to supervise an FHS student.
The research projects are a compulsory component of the course for Medical Students and Biomedical Students. Each student must have a clearly defined topic, which is solely his/her responsibility. Projects should consist of original experiments and/or data analysis carried out by the candidate alone or in collaboration with others (where such collaborations is, for instance, needed to produce results in the time available).
Work for a research project is intended to occupy the student for a total of 8 full weeks, or an equivalent period (e.g., 16 half-time weeks). Timing should be agreed between supervisors in discussion with the student(s) before the project begins. Work can start as early as week 1, Trinity Term (24 April 2023) for Biomedical Sciences students and week 3, Trinity Term (8 May 2023) for medical students. Data gathering and/or data analysis should occupy the student for 8 full weeks, or an equivalent period (e.g., 16 half-time weeks). Students have a complete academic year to complete and write-up their projects, but students will be fairly heavily occupied with lectures, seminars and tutorial teaching from October onwards.
Proposed FHS research projects that are likely to have intellectual property or related sensitivity should not be offered to or undertaken by students, as this may lead to difficulty in release of data to the examiners
Ethical approval from 'CUREC' is required for undergraduate projects involving human subjects: for details, see https://researchsupport.admin.ox.ac.uk/governance/ethics. Please ensure that ethical approval is in place before the student begins work on the project, otherwise this can cause serious problems. Indemnity is normally ‘automatic’ under the University’s insurance policy. For enquiries, please contact Research Services via email@example.com.
WHAT’S EXPECTED OF THE STUDENT?
Student are required to discuss projects for which they are interested with the supervisor(s) and submit their preferences by week 8 of Hilary term (year 2).
Students are required to produce a project write-up for submission to the examiners of no more than 4,500 words including the abstract and figure legends, but excluding tables, footnotes, bibliography and appendices. The finished write-up must be submitted by 8th week, Hilary Term (Year 3). Students are also required to undergo an oral presentation and discuss their project with examiners in week 1 of Trinity Term.
WHAT’S EXPECTED OF THE SUPERVISOR?
FHS students should expect to hold regular meetings with their supervisor. These will normally be held at agreed intervals for the duration of the project, but significantly more intensive support is usual in the initial and final stages of the project. The support given by the supervisor at these scheduled meetings may include direction to relevant literature, formal discussion of the research projects progress, feedback on the student’s data, analyses of results, written drafts etc., that have been read by the supervisor.
These meetings will be supplemented by brief discussions of the research on an ad hoc basis. Support will be given in the techniques required for the student to carry out their research. Examples include the use of equipment, performance of experimental techniques, training on software and guidance in statistical methods. Responsibility for the project rests with the student, who should be proactive in seeking support and guidance when
necessary and in making use of existing written resources.
Supervisors are asked to advise students on at least one draft of their written work on the proviso that student's hand in such a draft at least two weeks before the submission deadline. The individual identified as the main supervisor will be asked to submit a brief confidential report to advise the examiners of any special difficulties that arose during the project.
WHY SUBMIT A PROJECT?
There are always some excellent students who are considering doing a research degree, and a research project affords them an especially valuable experience. A number FHS students have led and/or contributed to work that has resulted in presentation at national and international conferences, prize awards, and peer-review publication as well as PhD applications.
IS THERE ANY FINANCIAL SUPPORT?
Payment for project supervision will be paid to the individual who claims the supervision fee
from the student’s College. The rate of payment is as for 8 single tutorials at the standard rate as set by the Senior Tutors Committee of the Conference of Colleges (£231.28 for 2022-23). Supervisors submit a report and claim this payment from the student’s college using TMS (further details will be sent to you at the appropriate time). You can log in to TMS using your Oxford University Single Sign-On username and password. If you have not claimed for payment using TMS before, you will need to contact the student’s college to arrange for your authorization as a tutor.
Please note there may be important information regarding the tax implications of claiming supervision fees. Please familiarise yourself with the Register of Approved Payments (September 2022), in particular the section on ‘PAYMENT INFORMATION FOR TUTORS’ on pages 5 and 6.
If there are unmet costs arising from hosting a student, the department may be able to help with these. Please contact Daniel Long in the first instance.
I’M INTERESTED; WHAT DO I DO NEXT?
We have a coordinated approach to the department FHS project offering led by Dr David Nunan. We are particularly keen to widen the number of groups offering potential projects.
PIs/group leads keen to support supervision of FHS projects should provide Dr Nunan with their group details and the types of projects available for FHS projects. Each group should also provide an FHS contact person (point-of-contact). As an example:
The CEBM (Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine) brings together a multidisciplinary team to produce high-quality evidence on which clinical decisions can be reliably based. We have a broad research portfolio including evidence-syntheses, qualitative, mixed-methods, diagnostics, drug adverse effects and harms, clinical epidemiology, and population data analyses across a wide range of clinical & health care topics. Past and present projects include reviews and empirical research on the Covid-19 pandemic response, reviews of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation, mixed-methods evaluations of social prescribing, the role and evidence-base for physical activity and exercise for chronic disease, management of type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease, research in medical education, evaluating health care systems, meta-research and meta-epidemiology (‘research on research’) and research integrity. Students who wish to be considered being attached to one of our existing workstreams for their FHS project should contact Dr Nunan.
Interested supervisors with potential project(s) should first discuss with their group lead and/or group FHS point-of-contact.
ARRANGING AN FHS PROJECT
Step 1: Ensure you are eligible to supervise/co-supervise an FHS project (see ‘WHO CAN SUPERVISE?’ above)
Step 2: Identify potential students. FHS projects in the department can be arranged in two ways:
- Students contacting the department for completing their FHS project will be added to a central database. This list will be shared with the FHS point-of-contact for each group in the departmental FHS group list for supervisors to contact students directly.
- Students contact groups/supervisor(s) directly to enquire about projects.
Step 3: Agree and assign a student to a specified project.
The student will need to provide a ‘Request to Seek Approval of a Research Project Form’ (found on the FHS Canvas site here) which they will need to submit by Friday 10 March 2023 (8th week, Hilary Term). The medical sciences student administration team will handle all correspondence with supervisors after submission of the form and will ask supervisors to confirm student allocation should their project be selected by a student. They will then officially confirm student allocation via email.
Step 4: Supervisor(s) must inform Dr David Nunan and Daniel Long via email of the project title and the name of the student assigned once the student has submitted their project form. The official confirmation email from medical sciences must also be forwarded to Dr Nunan and Daniel Long once received.
Step 5: Supervisor(s) liaise with Daniel Long regarding arrangements for student attendance in the department in Trinity Term 2023.
If you have a question about the scheme, please contact the department's FHS Academic Lead, Dr David Nunan. The central divisional team for FHS projects can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.