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:

Undergraduate education

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

Who can apply

You can apply for a Biomedical Vacation Scholarship if you're studying for an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject.

Examples of relevant subjects include:

  • science
  • medicine
  • dentistry
  • veterinary medicine
  • engineering
  • mathematics

The university where you're doing your undergraduate degree must be in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

Your proposed scholarship can take place at the university where you're studying or another eligible host organisation in the UK or Republic of Ireland (eg a university or research institute).
 

When you can apply

You're eligible to apply in the middle year(s) of your degree, when you have not yet undertaken a substantial period of research. 

Here are some examples.

  • BSc, BA, BEng, MPharm, MEng students should apply in the middle year of their  degree (ie not the first or last year at the time of submission).
  • MSci students (or equivalent, such as MChem, MBioChem, MPhys, MMaths)  should usually apply during their second year. If there’s no research project in the third year, they can also apply then.
  • MBBS, MBBCh, MBChB or BMBCh students (or equivalent) should apply in the second or third year of a five-year degree.  Students undertaking an intercalated degree should apply in the year before their intercalated degree year.
     

Who can't apply

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

  • you're in your first year
  • you've already held a Biomedical Vacation Scholarship (with Wellcome or another agency) 
  • you've already had significant research experience that lasted more than four weeks (full time), such as an industrial/research placement 
  • your proposed research project is part of your degree course
  • you've completed or are currently undertaking an intercalated year
  • you've completed or are currently undertaking a one-year placement in research as part of your degree (eg a sandwich year)
  • you're a graduate-entry medical student who has completed a previous undergraduate degree in a science-related subject  
  • you're a student enrolled on a course outside the UK or the Republic of Ireland.
     

What we're looking for

We will give preference to undergraduates with no previous research experience.

Previous scholarship holders have included biological sciences students (including biology, sports science and pharmacy), medics, vets, dentists, optometrists and psychologists. 

In addition, students focusing on natural, computing or physical sciences can use this scheme to find out about research in the biomedical sciences.

We'll only consider biomedical research projects that are six to eight weeks in duration and within our science remit.

Your project should be a self-contained piece of research with clear aims or research questions. Your supervisor should not regard you as an extra pair of hands in the laboratory. 

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

Proposals for these scholarships usually involve wet lab, computational, clinical or field work activities.

Proposals should not involve a clinical audit or a literature review.

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

  • your academic results at university
  • your personal statement
  • why you want to undertake a research project
  • a reference from a personal tutor
  • the quality of your proposed research project
  • the training opportunities you'll have during this project.

Read a report about the scheme, including a selection of projects that were funded:

Biomedical Vacation Scholarships report (2017) [PDF 233KB]

What's expected of your host organisation

Your scholarship must be based at an eligible host organisation in the UK or Republic of Ireland that will administer your award.

Supervisor

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

Your supervisor must:

  • hold an academic or research position (eg a group leader) within the 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 supervisor, but you can name them on your application form and they can supervise you on a daily basis.

Supervisors can only support one applicant a year for a Biomedical Vacation Scholarship.  

Awards cannot be transferred to a different student.
 

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). 

If your application is successful, we’ll tell your host organisation how to claim the stipend. 

We don’t offer research expenses. 

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

Start your application

Stages of application

  1. Read our guidance

    Biomedical Vacation Scholarships: guidance for applicants, supervisors and host organisations [PDF 128KB]

  2. Identify a researcher who's willing to become your 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 supervisor
    • contact a university scholarship coordinator, who may be able to identify a suitable supervisor.

    We encourage you to apply to multiple funding organisations to maximise your chances of success, but you can only submit one application form to us. 

    Please tell us immediately if you accept another funding offer.

  3. Submit your application

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

    View the Sample application form for Biomedical Vacation Scholarships [PDF 1.1MB]

  4. Assessment

    Scientifically qualified members of Wellcome staff will assess your application. 

    Owing to the high number of applications, we don't provide feedback on individual applications under any circumstances.

  5. Award

    We'll email you and your supervisor with the decision in mid-May.

    If you're successful, we'll send an award letter to the vice-chancellor at your host organisation by mid-June. The letter will be cc'd to the Biomedical Vacation Scholarships coordinator. 

Disabled applicants

If you are disabled or have a chronic health condition, we can support you with the application process.

Dates

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

More information

Find out about how we've worked with the funding community to develop principles and obligations setting out what we expect from those responsible for clinical training, trainees and funders across the UK.

Definitions

Undergraduate education

For undergraduates who are thinking of a research career.

UK
Republic of Ireland
Basic

You're not a clinically qualified researcher.

Clinical

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

Public health

Develop your research career

Find out how else we support undergraduates.

Key dates

We consider applications once a year. The next round will be announced in autumn 2018.

Contact us

If you have a question, contact:

Contact our information officers if you need help with our online grants system (Grant Tracker).