Getting work in a research lab over the summer can be a great boost to your employability (as well as having other advantages such as developing skills that will feed into your final year project).
There are various sources of funding, many of which are listed below. Application deadlines tend to be much earlier in the year than you might initially imagine, so if you are interested in doing some paid summer work then you really need to start planning in January.
Before looking at the various sources in more details, here are some observations from students who had summer studentships in previous years:
Sources of funding
The following list summarises the key bits of information – we’ll add to it as more details of other schemes are published. Please note that the summary below is only indicative; potential applicants should follows the links to the relevant website(s) to check for full eligibility criteria and/or application procedures. Second year undergraduates at the University of Leicester are also invited to apply for a number of internally-funded scholarships which will be allocated on a competitive basis. For more details see this link.
Society of Biology
Deadline 14th February 2014
Amount available £180 per week for 6-8 weeks
Who is eligible? Students must be in a “middle vacation” prior to their final year (i.e. the holiday between 2nd and 3rd year, or the Between yr 2 and 3 or 3and 4 of a 4 yr course). Society of Biology are administering the scheme on behalf of a number of other societies (some of whom are listed separately here).
Who applies? Supervisor applies on behalf of a named student (not transferable). They do not already have to be a member of the relevant learned society, but must become one if bid is successful.
Link Details from Society of Biology website
Deadline 14th February 2014
Amount available £200 per week for 6-8 weeks (maximum £1600).
Who is eligible? Students must be in the vacation prior to their final year (i.e. usually the holiday between 2nd and 3rd year). They should be predicted a 2.1 degree or higher. Supervisors must be members of the Biochem Soc. Eligible staff at Leicester include: Prof John Schwabe, Dr Russell Wallis, Dr Raj Patel, Dr Ralf Schmid, and Dr Mohammed El Mezgueldi. Helen O’Hare is a member but is not taking students in Summer 2014.
Who applies? Supervisor applies on behalf of a named student (not transferable)
Link Details from Biochem Soc website
Deadline 31st January April 2014
Amount available Maximum of 8 weeks at a maximum of £150 per week
Who is eligible? Students who have undertaken at least two years of study on a degree that includes physiological science. Supervisors must be members of the Physiological Society and can only supervise maximum of one vacation student per year. Eligible staff at Leicester include Dr Tom Matheson, Dr Nina Storey and Dr Catherine Vial.
Who applies? Applications are submitted by the student in conjunction with the supervisor.
Link Details from Phys Soc website
Deadline 5 pm 14th February 2014
Amount available £180 per week for up to 8 weeks work
Who is eligible? The student must be in the second year of their first degree when the application is made
Who applies? The supervisor not the student applies. In the recent past the following Leicester staff have supervised summer students funded by Wellcome: Dr Chris Bayliss , Dr Mohammed El Mezgueldi and Dr Russell Wallis
Link Details from the Wellcome Trust website
From December 2011, Nuffield are no longer funding undergraduate Vacation Studentships. Having decided that there is already plenty of other provision in this sector, they have elected to focus their attention on research opportunities for pre-university students – an area in which they are almost unique in providing funding.
British Society for Cell Biology
Deadline 31st March 2014
Amount available £180 for 8 weeks, plus £500 consumables
Who is eligible? Supervisor must be a member of the BSCB. Eligible staff at Leicester include: Dr Christine Pullar, Dr Raj Patel, and Dr Salvador Macip
Who applies? Supervisor applies including CV of named student
Link Details from the BSCB website
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Deadline details for 2013 have not been published yet. In 2012, Application forms were submitted to the Biological Sciences office in mid March
Amount available Stipends of £200 per week for up to 10 weeks, plus research expenses (to a maximum of £2500)
Who is eligible? The School of Biological Sciences will receive a certain number of “Research Experience Placement” awards from the BBSRC. Second year students at Leicester will be sent an e-mail outlining application procedure when confirmed
Who applies? individuals do not apply for BBSRC bursaries, they are awarded to Departments
Link Details from the BBSRC website
Society for General Microbiology
Deadline 1st February 2014
Amount available £185 per week for between 6 and 8 weeks, plus up to £400 research costs
Who is eligible? Students must be moving from their penultimate to final year. Project must be microbiological in nature. Supervisor must be a member of the SGM. Eligible staff at Leicester include: Dr Chris Bayliss, Dr Martha Cloakie, Prof Peter Andrew Prof Ed Louis, Prof Julian Ketley and Dr Helen O’Hare (currently on maternity leave and not taking students in 2014)
Who applies? The supervisor makes an application on behalf of a named student
Link Details from the SGM website
British Ecological Society
Amount available £250 per week (to maximum of £2000)
Who is eligible? Applicant must be current BES member, but need not be in penultimate year of course
Who applies? Student applies using online form, supported by two academic references. Dr Iain Barber is a member of the BES.
Link Details from the BES website
British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Amount available £180 per week for up to 10 weeks, plus £500 consumables budget.
Who is eligible? Student must be in penultimate year when applying. Only 3 awards will be made each year
Who applies? Student applies, using electronic submission. Head of Dept must authenticate application.
British Pharmacological Society
Amount available £185 per week for 10 weeks (total £1850)
Who is eligible? Supervisor must be a member of the BPS. Students must be on a “biomedical science” course (or be school leavers about to start a BMS programme), so students at Leicester are probably not eligible for this award
Who applies? The supervisor, naming the student and detailing their academic record.
Child Health Research Appeal Trust
Amount available £185 per week for up to 8 weeks
Who is eligible? These placements are open to students studying science or medicine, but must be conducted within the Institute of Child Health at University College London.
Who applies? Student wanting to be considered for a placement send a CV and covering letter indicating within which of the 25 Units at the Institute they would like to work. A total of 6 studentships are available.
Institute of Food Research, Norwich
Amount available The website talks rather obliquely about student and IFR supervisor appying together for funding, presumably from a BBSRC pot
Who is eligible? “Ideally” second year undergraduates. Placements take place in the IFR labs in Norwich
Who applies? Students should contact an IFR Project Leader working in a research area that interests them to see if a placement may be feasible. However since they may be reliant on some of the other named sources of funding you are advised to act as early as possible.
John Innes Centre, Norwich
Amount available Some BBSRC bursaries for 8-10 weeks are available
Who is eligible? Applicants should ‘ideally’ be in the second year of their undergraduate course
Who applies? Students and potential supervisors apply jointly
Gatsby Plants Summer School
Amount available £4000 total for Sainsbury studentships (see website for how this breaks down). The Gatsby Plants Summer Bursaries are worth £1000.
Who is eligible? Students must be nominated by the Gatsby Mentor for the University (at Leicester this role is served by Prof David Twell). There are two different schemes; the Sainsbury studentships are open to any second year student doing plant sciences, but Gatsby Summer School Bursaries are only available to students who attended a Gatsby Plants Summer School at the end of their first year.
Who applies? The mentor (Prof Twell, firstname.lastname@example.org) applies on behalf of the student
The Genetics Society
Amount available £200 per week for up to 10 weeks plus £750 for the host lab
Who is eligible? Supervisor must be a member of the Genetics Society. Eligible staff at Leicester include Prof Pat Heslop-Harrison, Prof Ed Louis, Prof Julian Ketley, Dr Sinead Drea, Dr Chris Talbot and Dr Celia May. Student must be an undergraduate “usually” in the summer before the final year. Not limited by nationality, and the lab where the work is undertaken need not be in the UK.
Who applies? The supervisor applies on behalf of a named student (maximum one application per supervisor)
Society for Applied Microbiology
Amount available £200 per week for up to 10 weeks for the student, plus £500 research costs
Who is eligible? Supervisor must have been a full member of SFAM for at least a year before the application is made.
Who applies? The supervisor puts in the application, providing a copy of the student’s CV and details of intended project
Society for Reproduction and Fertility
Amount available pegged to same rate as Wellcome Trust for given year (i.e. £180 per week in 2014), plus £750 to host laboratory
Who is eligible? Student should “normally be” in second year of course when application made. Supervisor must be SRF member. Limit of one project per Dept per year.
Who applies? Online form, mostly completed by student
British Society for Plant Pathology
Amount available £200 per week, project must be between 8 and 10 weeks duration. Plus £500 for consummables.
Who is eligible? Student must be in middle year of degree. Supervisor must be a member of the BSPP. Limit of one application per member per year
Who applies? Supervisor applies on behalf of named student
Universities Federation for Animal Welfare
Amount available £170 per week for 4 to 8 weeks, plus £30 per week for Department (maximum award = £1600)
Who is eligible? Students at Universities with a connection to UFAW. Project must be relevant to the welfare of animals
Who applies? Students are encouraged to take the lead and design their own projects, but supervisor can apply if they have a suitable candidate. In terms of Leicester staff, Dr Iain Barber has previously supervised summer studentships supported by UFAW.
Amount available £1094 per month for three months
Who is eligible? Undergraduate students. The projects are conducted at the Sanger Institute in Cambridge
Who applies? The student
Link Details from the Sanger Institute website (this is not the most intuitive webpage. Scroll halfway down and you’ll see a tab offering details about Summer placements.)
Association for Study of Animal Behaviour
Amount available £200 per week for student, plus £40 per week towards research expenses. Projects must be 1 to 8 weeks.
Who is eligible? The student applicant need not be a member of the ASAB, but either the proposed supervisor or the Head of Department needs to be a member. Eligible staff at Leicester include Dr Iain Barber. The focus of the project must fit within the scope of research covered in the journal Animal Behaviour.
Who applies? The student applies
Institute of Cancer Research
Amount available unspecified. Projects must be 6 to 8 weeks.
Who is eligible? The student must be in year 2 of their course. Placements are at the ICR facilities in Chelsea (London) or Sutton (Surrey), not in Leicester.
Who applies? The student e-mails a potential supervisor or their representative (see list on ICR website), including a CV and outline of potential project. The supervisor then applies for funding.
Many thanks to Elizabeth Wilkinson, The University of Manchester, for assistance in compiling this list. A further list detailing summer studentship possibilities is available from the UK Centre for Bioscience (from 2010, no longer updated following closure of the Centre in 2011).