Biomedical Vacation Scholarships

These awards provide promising undergraduates with hands-on experience of research during the summer vacation, with the aim of encouraging them to consider a career in research.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:


Where your host organisation is based:

UK, Republic of Ireland

Type of researcher:

Basic, Clinical, Public health

Level of funding:

Stipend of £250 a week

Duration of funding:

6 to 8 weeks

Contact us

If you have any questions, contact:

Need help finding us?

Getting here

Key dates

We consider applications once a year.

2016 round

  • Applications deadline

    12 February 2016

  • Decision

    Beginning of May 2016

2017 round

Dates not yet available.

Eligibility and suitability

Who can apply

You can apply for a Biomedical Vacation Scholarship if you’re an undergraduate studying medicine, basic science, dentistry or veterinary medicine. You must:

  • be enrolled at a university in the UK or Republic of Ireland
  • have support for your scholarship from an eligible host organisation in the UK or Republic of Ireland (we encourage students to arrange their scholarship away from their usual place of study to broaden their experience). 

When you can apply

BSc, BA, MPharm, MEng students should apply in the middle year of a first degree (ie not the first or last year at the time of submission).

MSci (or equivalent) students should apply during their second year.

MBBS, MBBCh, MBChB or BMBCh (or equivalent) students should apply between the end of the second year and the end of the penultimate year (ie students on a five year course can apply for the summer of their second or third year).

Who can't apply

You can’t apply for a Biomedical Vacation Scholarship if:

  • your research project is part of a degree course
  • you've already held a Biomedical Vacation Scholarship (with the Wellcome Trust or another agency) or you've had significant research experience (such as an industrial placement)
  • you've completed or are currently undertaking an intercalated year (as you'll have completed a BSc before the scholarship period, and should have already had the opportunity to undertake research)
  • you're a graduate-entry medical student who has completed a previous undergraduate degree in a science-related subject (as you were eligible for this scholarship during your undergraduate years)
  • you're a student enrolled on a course outside the UK or the Republic of Ireland
  • you want to support a clinical audit or trial, or a literature review.  

What we're looking for

We give preference to undergraduates with no previous research experience.

Previous scholarship holders have included students of biological sciences (including biology, sports science and pharmacy), medics, vets, dentists and optometrists. In addition, students focusing on natural, computing or physical sciences can use this scheme to find out about research in the biomedical sciences.

Your biomedical research project should be:

  • a self-contained piece of research
  • possible within a time frame of six to eight weeks
  • based in a laboratory and hypothesis driven.

We expect you to be involved in the design and planning of your project.

When we consider your application, we'll also look at your:

  • results to date
  • personal statement
  • desire to undertake a research project
  • reference from a personal tutor
  • training opportunities during this project.

Read a report about the scheme, including abstracts from a selection of projects that were funded in 2015:

Biomedical Vacation Scholarships report (2015) [DOC 333KB]

What's expected of your host organisation

You must choose a research supervisor at a host organisation and work with them to set up a suitable project. Your research supervisor must: 

  • hold an established academic position within your university or research unit 
  • provide you with the necessary scientific guidance so that you gain the most from your scholarship experience
  • provide all your research costs.

A postdoctoral researcher, PhD student or technician can’t be your research supervisor, but you can name them on your application form and they can supervise you on a daily basis.

These are personal awards for students. We only accept one application from each candidate and research supervisor. Awards are not transferable.

Your research supervisor should not consider you to be an extra pair of hands in the laboratory.

What we offer

A Biomedical Vacation Scholarship is for six to eight weeks and provides a stipend of £250 a week (for your personal support over the summer period).

Your host organisation should pay you the stipend at regular intervals during your scholarship (not as a lump sum at the end). 

We don’t offer research expenses. 

How to apply

You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker (WTGT).

Start your application

Stages of application

  1. Identify a researcher who's willing to become your research supervisor

    To do this, you could:

    • approach a researcher you're interested in working with
    • contact your tutor, who may be able to tell you about scholarships at your university, or help you find a suitable research supervisor
    • contact a university scholarship coordinator, who may be able to identify a suitable research supervisor.

    You and the research supervisor should develop your project and application together.

    We encourage you to apply to multiple funding organisations to maximise your chances of success. Please tell us immediately if you accept another offer.

  2. Submit your application

    You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker.

    View the  Sample application form for Biomedical Vacation Scholarships [PDF 1.3MB].

  3. Assessment

    Scientifically qualified members of Wellcome Trust staff will assess your application. You will get a decision from us by the beginning of May about a summer scholarship in the same year. 

    We consider a combination of factors when we assess applications. Owing to the high number of applications we don’t provide feedback on individual applications under any circumstances.

  4. Award

    If you're successful, we'll send an award letter to your supervisor before the start of June. The letter will be cc'd to you and the named administrator. If you're unsuccessful, we'll email you and cc your supervisor. 


We consider applications once a year. You must submit your application by midnight (GMT/BST) of the deadline day. We don't accept late applications.

2016 round

  • Applications deadline

    12 February 2016

  • Decision

    Beginning of May 2016

2017 round

Dates not yet available.



You're studying for a first degree.

Republic of Ireland

You're not a clinically qualified researcher.


You're a clinically qualified medic, vet, dentist or psychologist.

Public health