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Undergraduate Research Opportunities and Funding

Working in a laboratory allows students to experience how science progresses in the real world.

It is particularly useful for those thinking about working in the field of research; not only offering a chance to develop practical skills, but also providing an opportunity to work alongside established scientists, meet new people and share ideas.

The information provided here is largely for Undergraduates. For those seeking funding for an MPhil or PhD in Cambridge, please visit the Graduate School of Life Sciences website.

General Information

All individual bursary schemes have their own specific eligibility criteria; it is wise to read these carefully.

Application deadlines vary, but if you are considering applying to a scheme abroad, be mindful of the time it takes to obtain a visa, especially if you are planning to visit the USA.

Most schemes are highly competitive.

 

Funding, Scholarships and Competitions

The following is far from an exhaustive list of the available research funding, but gives an idea of the opportunities available. If you are interested in attending a particular institution it is always worth checking if they run their own programmes. For specific departments at Cambridge University, please visit the individual websites.

InstitutionDeadlineInformation
The British Society for Plant Pathology 1 April For students considering a research career and seeking experience in a plant pathology lab. Further details can be found here.
The Genetics Society 31 March

For students interested in gaining research experience in any area of genetics.
Further details can be found here.

Society for General Microbiology 1 February Further details can be found here.
The Wellcome Trust 13 February 2015 Further details can be found here.
The Sanger Institute Applications are invited from 28 November until 28 February each year Placements are potentially available across the full spectrum of the Institute's activities.
Further details can be found at the 'Undergraduate placements' tab here.
The Biochemical Society

11 February 2015

For projects of a molecular bioscience nature.
Further details can be found here.
John Innes Centre Applications open in October. Deadlines to be finalised.
There is a mailing list for future programme info - see website.
Further details can be found here.
Experimental Psychology Society

1 March 2015

Further details can be found here.
The Physiological Society 31 January 2015 For students who have completed at least two years’ full-time study in a higher education institute.
Further details can be found here.
RNID/Action on Hearing Loss

Applications for the 2015 Summer Studentship scheme will be announced in early spring 2015

For students wishing to conduct research on hearing, deafness and tinnitus.
Further details can be found here.
Society for Endocrinology

11 March 2015

Further details can be found here.
Amgen Scholars Programme 2 February 2015

For students not in their final year, an 8 week research project culminating in a symposium.
Further details can be found here.

The Vienna Biocentre Summer School 31 January 2015 For undergraduates who have completed at least two years of university study. Further details can be found here.
The Zurich Biology Undergraduate Summer School 1 March 2015 For undergraduates in life sciences to perform a significant research project. Further details can be found here.
EPFL Summer Research Program 31 January 2015 For students enrolled in a degree program in biology, physics, chemistry, bio-engineering, or computational sciences. Further details can be found here.
Universite de Lausanne Summer Undergraduate Research Programme 31 January 2015 Aimed at students who have completed their 2nd or 3rd year. Medical students welcome. Further details can be found here.
Janelia Farm Undergraduate Research Programme Applications open in November A 10 week programme for scientists, engineers, and mathematicians interested in neuroscience. Further details can be found here.
SENS Research Foundation Summer Scholars 2 February 2015 Opportunities for UK based students at Harvard Stem Cell Institute/Harvard School of Medicine, University College London and University of Oxford. Further details here.
Harvard Stem Cell Internship Programme 6 February 2015 Internship programme for research experience in a cutting-edge stem cell science laboratory. Further details can be found here.
Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) 22 February Further details can be found here.
The Weizmann Institute of Science - Kupcinet-Getz International Science School 15 January 2015 Further details can be found here.
BVA Harry Steele-Bodger Memorial Travel Scholarship 8 April 2015 For penultimate and final year vets only. Need to join BVA. See details here.

 

 

Funding within the School of Biological Sciences

Fund
Deadline(s)
Details
Balfour Fund and Studentship

9 January 2015

Original research in Biology, especially Animal Morphology.
Further details can be found here.
Balfour-Browne Fund 18 April 2015 For research advancing the study of entomology.
Further details can be found here
John Stanley Gardiner Studentships Applications not invited in 2015 For research advancing the study of zoology. Further details can be found here.
J Arthur Ramsay Fund 26 May 2015 For research in experimental zoology.
Further details can be found here.
S P H Johnson Summer Vacation Bursaries Probably 01 May 2015 For second year NST or MVST students who intend to read Part II Genetics as
their final year option.
Further details can be found here.
J.R.S. Fincham Bursary for Summer Vacation Research Probably 01 May 2015 A small bursary for Part IB students who intend to read Genetics in their final year. Further details can be found here.

 

Finding Other Sources of Funding

Your project supervisor or Director of Studies may know of other sources of funding. It could be worthwhile to ask them about:

  • various national bodies for academic disciplines (Royal Societys, British Councils etc) offering limited bursary opportunities.
  • industry contacts associated with the project area you intend to embark on.

For example:

Extremely comprehensive information about external funding for research, travel etc is available from ResearchResearch.

 

Volunteering

Whilst without financial reward, volunteering can be incredibly fulfiling for  you as an individual and can changes the lives of those involved with the organisation you volunteer for.

OrganisationWebsiteInfo
Sankara Eye Foundation http://www.giftofvision.org.uk/get_involved-internships.html A student programme where volunteers help the  charity through their fundraising efforts. Recent plans have included a sponsored trek in the Atlas mountains, and the Teach for India initiative.

Webpage based on original work by Dr Claudio Köser.