Institute welcomes Research Access Programme 2023 cohort

Institute welcomes Research Access Programme 2023 cohort

Institute welcomes Research Access Programme 2023 cohort

Key points:

  • The Institute’s Research Access Programme kicks off this week with four new students joining labs and facilities for the summer.
  • Launched in 2020, the Research Access Programme pairs undergraduates from underrepresented groups or disadvantaged backgrounds with researchers at the Institute.
  • Throughout the programme students undertake hands on projects and attend a schedule of additional talks to provide a wider understanding of scientific careers.

The Institute is delighted to welcome four undergraduates to the third cohort of Research Access Programme. The students will join the Kelsey, Houseley and Rayon labs as well as the Bioinformatics facility.

“I’m very pleased to welcome our latest cohort to the Institute. I hope that the students joining us this summer will enjoy their placements. By gaining practical experience over the next eight months we hope that the students will leave feeling inspired to peruse the next step in their careers and take with them a competitive edge for next-step applications.” said Dr Mike Norman, Public Engagement Manager.

Acknowledging the historic lack of diversity of PhD students in STEM subjects, the Research Access Programme was established to counteract the barriers that may stand in the way of students wishing to pursue a life sciences career. The Institute partners with In2Research to match students with projects that align with their interests and career aspirations. Students from underrepresented groups in research and scientific careers are eligible for placements.

Students spend eight weeks with scientists and facility staff, learning new techniques and completing short research projects. The students also receive careers talks from members of staff across the Institute. The programme has had a huge positive impact on the students’ next-step destination decisions with over 40% of students specifically referencing the Research Access Programme as a key driver to pursue PhD applications. Recently, the programme was shortlisted as STEM Initiative of the Year by the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards.

Former Institute Director Professor Michael Wakelam initiated the project that would evolve into the current Research Access Programme driven by his passion for increasing access to science for people of all backgrounds. The first round of students joined the Institute in the summer of 2020, and since then 24 students have taken part in the programme, some virtual during the pandemic and more recently in person.

Dr Norman, added: “It has been great to see the strength of the personal connections that students form when they’re here, as well as hearing about everything they’ve been able to learn in the lab. We hope that our programme inspires other research organisations to look for ways to open doors for students from diverse backgrounds.”


Press contact Honor Pollard, Communications Officer,

Image description: Three doors, the first two closed and the third open to a bright white space. 

About the Babraham Institute The Babraham Institute undertakes world-class life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Our research focuses on cellular signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing. The Institute is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, through Institute Strategic Programme Grants and an Institute Core Capability Grant and also receives funding from other UK research councils, charitable foundations, the EU and medical charities.