The first two weeks of the summer are taken up by introductory lectures by the summer's principal speaker. The Fellows are asked to take notes during these lectures and develop them into the first chapters of the summer's proceedings volume.
The jewel in the crown of each Fellow's summer is an original research project carried out by the Fellow with help from the staff. Project topics often arise from issues raised in the principal lectures but they need not coincide with the summer's main theme. The emphasis is on concentrated training in research. Projects may be self-contained, summer-long pieces of work but they often have a life beyond the summer and may form the basis of a Ph.D. thesis. Frequently, projects lead to publishable results and develop into journal articles.
During the summer, there is a constant stream of visitors from several disciplines to Walsh Cottage who provide colloquium style seminars. The student Fellows tap the talents of these visitors and by interrogating them vigorously and using them as a consulting resource for their summer projects. The result is a dynamic educational atmosphere that provides both basic lore on subjects with which a Fellow may not be familiar and opportunities for interdisciplinary work. The lively atmosphere of the offices and seminar room of Walsh Cottage provide a stimulating introduction to collaborative scientific research.