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Undergraduate Research

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.

The British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) 1 April

An undergraduate vacation bursary open to all BSPP members that will provide modest support for work on specified research projects during the summer vacation.

Further details can be found here

The Genetics Society 31 March

Grants for undergraduate students interested in gaining research experience in genetics by carrying out a research project over the long vacation, usually prior to their final year.

Further details can be found here

British Division of the
International Academy of Pathology (BDIAP)

End of May

Support for training in pathology in the UK including:
  • BDIAP Scholarships for undergraduate elective or vacation studies.
  • BDIAP Grants for undergraduate BSc studentships, inlcuding support for medical students with an intercalculated year.
Further details can be found here
Kidney Research UK




Training fellowships available with the purpose of enabling medical graduates to gain specialised training in renal research.

Grants for medical students, with an interest in renal medicine, taking an intercalculated year. applications open in January.

Further details can be found here

The Sanger Institute As advertised

The Sanger Institute Prize gives undergraduate students the opportunity to experience genomic research for three months in a Sanger Institute Laboratory.

Also sandwich-year, summer and work experience placements available via application throughout the year.

Further details can be found here

Society for Endocrinology


A grant to assist undergraduate students in gaining research experience by working in a research environment.

Further details can be found here

Sankara Eye Foundation Several deadlines each year

Clinical Volunteering and Clinical Observership at Sankara Eye Hospital in India.

Further details can be found here

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) Opens January 2020

A Summer vacation scholarship for undergraduate students with a weekly allowance to complete a research project in biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, biomedical engineering, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics and statistics.

Further details can be found here

Plant Health Undergraduate Studentships scheme run by the Royal Society of Biology

early 2020

Nine plant health research projects are available for undergraduates this summer through the Plant Health Undergraduate Studentships scheme organised by the UK Plant Sciences Federation (UKPSF). The selected students will be paid a bursary of £250 per week for the 10-week projects, as well as gaining great research experience working alongside leading scientists in plant health.

 Students may apply for these nine positions now (deadline: 8th May). Details of the projects and links to apply can be found on our studentships page:

 This scheme is funded by Defra, BSPP and N8 AgriFood

Association of Clinical Pathologists

No deadline

Funding of up to £5000 to support medical students in laboratory medicine-related intercalated degrees.


Royal College of Pathologists, Pathology Summer School


2 day summer school in London.

This is not a revision course but a chance to learn more about the role of pathology in healthcare, including current research and future advances. The content will be relevant whether you are considering a career in pathology or not; all doctors use pathology services and benefit from a greater understanding of the speciality.



Funding within the School of Biological Sciences For specific departments at Cambridge University, please visit their individual websites or see some examples below.

Evelyn Trust Summer Studentship Tba

For pre-clinical students wishing to pursue a clinical research project in Cambridge over the Summer Vacation. 3 bursaries of £1,000 each for 6 week long projects.

Further details will be posted 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 Societies, British Councils etc)
  • industry contacts associated with the project area you intend to embark on

For example:

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