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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.


Pressland Fund, the Language Centre, University of Cambridge

5pm, 03 February 2020

Grants of up to four weeks to study a foreign language overseas.  See more details here

If you want to talk to someone about this you can book appointments here

FRAME Summer Studentship Programme

29 February 2020

2 studentships are available for projects that will allow summer research students to replace the need for laboratory animals. Further details are here

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

Alzheimer's Society 13 February

Grants for middle years undergraduates aimed at giving them dementia research experience.

Further details 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

Experience Postgrad Life Sciences

17 April 2020

Grants for undergraduates who come from an underrepresented group.  Check 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

Microbiology Society 17th February

The Harry Smith Vacation Studentships are available for undergraduate students to work on microbiological research projects during the summer vacation.

Further details can be found here

The Wellcome Trust Mid-February

Awards for promising undergraduate students to provide hands-on experience of research during the summer vacation.

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

Biochemical Society

28th February 2020

Grants are available for undergraduate students looking to carry out a summer lab placement.

Further details can be found here

Experimental Psychology Society

1 March

This scheme finances a number of bursaries to support undergraduate students studying psychology during the summer vacation immediately prior to their final 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

Amgen Scholars Programmes

Once open will run until 3 February 2020

For undergraduate students who have not completed their bachelor or first degree, providing hands-on research experience culminating in a symposium.

Details of the Programme can be found here

Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour 1 February

Undergraduate Project Scholarships enable undergraduates to undertake supervised research projects which fall within the field of animal behaviour

Further details here

Crick-Calleva summer student programme 6 February

9-week full-time (36 hours per week) contract of employment as a Summer Placement Laboratory Research Assistant in the Francis Crick Institute

Further details here

The Vienna Biocenter Summer School 31 January

A Summer School consisting of a research project, lectures and symposium for students who have completed at least two years of university study.

Further details can be found here

The Zurich Biology Undergraduate Summer School (BUSS) 1 March

For undergraduates in life sciences to perform a significant research project.

Further details can be found here

EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) Summer Research Program 31 January

A summer research fellowship for students who would like to pursue a career in Life Sciences.

Further details can be found here

UNIL (Universite de Lausanne) Summer Undergraduate Research Programme 20 January

Aimed at undergraduate students who have completed the second or third year of their university degree in any biological or medical field.

Further details can be found here

HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) Janelia Research Campus Undergraduate Scholars Program 7 January 2020

A 10 week summer program for scientists, engineers, and mathematicians with significant research experience.

Further details can be found here

SENS Research Foundation Summer Scholars Program February

Giving undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct biomedical research to combat diseases of aging, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and macular degeneration.

Further details can be found here

HSCI (Harvard Stem Cell Institute) Internship Program (HIP) 3 February 2020

Undergraduate internship program for those interested in a summer research experience in stem cell biology.

Further details can be found here

Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) 22 February

This program introduces students to research under the guidance of seasoned research mentors at Caltech and JPL.

Further details can be found here

British Veterinary Association (BVA) Harry Steele-Bodger Memorial Travel Scholarship  May 2020

The scholarship is intended to assist a visit to a veterinary or agricultural school, research institute or some other course of study approved by the BVA.

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

Imperial College London - Faculty of Medicine Opens November 2019

Revolutions in Biomedical Summer Programme offering up to two scholarships for the programme, which will cover the full tuition fees in addition to accommodation and reasonable travel and living expenses.

Further details can be found here

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Undergraduate Research Program 15 January

10-week program of lab research plus a series of workshop and seminars. $5,000 stipend plus accommodation and board included

Full 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

Institute of Medical Ethics

31 March 2020

Scholarships of up to £2,000 for students who wish to do an intercalated degree in Medical Ethics.


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.

Zoology departmental studentships

7th January 2020

Balfour Studentship, John Stanley Gardiner Studentship, Edith Mary Pratt Musgrave Studentship, Hanne and Torkel Weis-Fogh Studentship

Further details can be found here

Balfour-Browne Fund 17th April 2020

Grants for research advancing the study of entomology.

Further details can be found here

J Arthur Ramsay Fund 17th April 2020

Scholarship to work in the research laboratories of the Department of Zoology during the summer vacation.

Further details can be found here

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.