The centrepiece of SciX is the intensive one-week summer school from 17th - 21st January 2022, hopefully in-person (see COVID plans below). Ten project-focused research labs will be complemented by varied science and university experiences taking advantage of the expertise and facilities at UNSW.

During this summer school, students will be taught cutting-edge research tools and knowledge and supported in developing and investigating their own hypothesis and research question.   

Each research project will run with a small group of SciX students with one or more research mentors. The researcher mentors are usually UNSW Science PhD students who have spent several years working on this area of scientific research. Each research project is also overseen by one of our senior academics.

As well as the one-week summer school, as part of SciX students are provided with: 

  • Online project-specific pre-work and readings
  • Online research skills training 
  • Online programming training
  • Three Zoom Q&A opportunities in late November/early December, late February and early May
SciX2020 mentors
SciX2020 Mentors

The SciX mentors are practicing researchers from across the Faculty of Science at UNSW, chosen specifically for their enthusiasm for sharing their love of science with others. 

Research time with their mentor has been consistently the most valued component of the SciX experience for students. Students love “being able to ask the mentors our questions - they were so eager and able to help”, “communicating with mentors who had a lot of knowledge on the topic and were willing to take time to answer our questions and concerns” and “talking with the mentors  who has such passion in their field.”.




During ten research lab sessions during the summer school, your SciX mentor(s) will: 

  • SciX mentor helping student 2020

    Provide you with access to and training in a specific research technique to utilise for your scientific research project in Science Extension 

  • Suggest potential research areas you could explore within your project’s specific research context and technique, and provide preliminary readings

  • Support you in accessing, understanding and citing relevant peer-reviewed scientific literature

  • Support you in developing your research question and hypothesis that can be explored based on the project’s research technique

  • Answer your questions about the research methodology, and the rationale for this approach

  • Support you in developing your research plan

  • Provide suggestions and some training in how to analyse, present and discuss the data you obtain with your research technique

  • Support you in considering future improvements in your methodology

  • Support you in understanding the sources of systematic and random errors in your experiment, and understanding the reliability, accuracy, validity and limitations of your methodology

You may also ask your mentor for guidance and advice on: 

  • General research skills, such as conducting a good literature review and producing high quality figures
  • Publicly available data sources relevant to your project
  • Preparing your Science Research Portfolio
  • Preparing your Science Research Report
  • Project-specific details relating to Science Extension syllabus points
  • 11th October 2021: SciX Applications open, first-come, first-served project selection

  • 1st November: SciX Teams organisation opens with skills training and project-specific pre-work

  • Late November/ early December: SciX introduction session via Zoom, with 1 hr project Q&A opportunity

  • 17th-21st January 2022: SciX Summer School

  • Late February: 1 hr post-summer-school Q&A opportunity with project mentors

  • Early May: 1 hr post-summer-school Q&A opportunity with project mentors

The fee for a student to participate is $415 + GST. This covers the cost of PhD mentors who oversee student projects, lab materials and attendance at the one-week SciX Intensive Summer School.

Fee-waivers are available based on financial need and for Indigenous, regional and rural students, see FAQ.

While we are hopeful for a return to a fully on-campus delivery of the SciX2022 program in January, in the interests of community health and safety we will be following the latest COVID-19 advice from NSW Health. If attending on-campus activities, attendees will be required to adhere to all relevant COVID-19 health and safety protocols.  

Contingency plans will be in place including a fully-online delivery which follows on from the success of SciX2021, hybrid delivery and reduced on-campus attendance for lab-based experiments only. A decision on the delivery mode will be made in late November, accommodating student shifts from on-campus to online-delivered projects where feasible.

The safety of students, staff and the community is paramount. In the event of unforeseen COVID-19 developments and changes to restrictions in December/January, SciX2022 may move to online delivery at short notice. In this situation, a small number of projects may choose to deliver research lab sessions throughout Term 1 at mutually convenient times to allow additional preparation time.