Research Access Programme

The Institute has an absolute commitment to being an open and accessible organisation, providing opportunities for all to engage in its work. Additionally, the Institute is also committed to building a diverse and inclusive working community. Work in these areas is driven by our Public Engagement Programme and our Equality4Success Programme.

The Institute has recognised a lack of diversity in applications to its PhD studentship programme and wishes to break down barriers that some students may encounter in obtaining opportunities to progress with a life sciences academic career. We believe that for undergraduate students at the beginning of their scientific research career gaining experience in a research environment is invaluable and provides a significant advantage when applying to postgraduate programmes, as well as an opportunity to develop their skills, confidence and enjoyment of research.  

The Institute, therefore, provides a number of undergraduate research placements each year as part of the ‘Research Access Programme’. Students complete a five-week placement (online during the pandemic) within the Institute’s Strategic Research Programmes or Scientific Facilities. Additionally, students participate in a programme of talks and activities designed to support their career advancement.

Applicants must be undergraduate students, enrolled in UK-based colleges or universities, who are not in their first or final year of their life sciences (or similar) degree.  For example, applicants may be in the second year of a three year course.  Applicants must be interested in pursuing a life sciences postgraduate research degree (e.g. MPhil or PhD) and must not have previously undertaken a research placement outside of their university course e.g. other summer internships or research experience placements.

To ensure that we support a diverse group of students, we would particularly like to hear from students who come from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups such as:

  • Identifying as belonging to an underrepresented racial or ethnic group
  • Be part of the LGBTQ+ community
  • Be someone with a disability
  • Be from a low-income household
  • Have been granted refugee status in the UK
  • Be a mature student
  • Be of the first generation of your family to go to university
  • Have entered university from a care background
  • Are a single parent, the lone guardian of a young person (under the age of 18), or have caring responsibilities for an ill or disabled person who could not manage without this help


Students are encouraged to look at the research of the Institute on our website (  Interested students can apply by uploading a CV and a letter outlining their scientific interests, career aspirations, including confirmation if they fall into any of the identified under-represented groups. 

The Research Access Programme applications have now closed for 2021. Please check back in early 2022 when we hope to launch the next round of the programme.