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 equity4success 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 an 8-week placement 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.
To ensure that we support a diverse group of students, we have partnered with the In2Research programme for student applications. Interested students can apply to the programme and will be matched to projects most supportive of their goals. All successful students will receive a stipend to cover living costs and accommodation near to the Institute will also be provided.
Students are encouraged to look at the research of the Institute to best prepare an application outlining their scientific interests, career aspirations, including confirmation if they fall into any of the identified under-represented groups.
To apply to the programme please see the In2Research application webpage here.
One of the students, who took part in the programme in 2023, was Abdul who was hosted by the Rayon Lab. Abdul’s time at University was heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The lack of face-to-face interaction throughout his time in higher education left him lacking in conﬁdence and with limited hands-on experience.
“Covid wiped out my entire second year of university and two thirds of my third year and I was worried about coming away with no experience... I feel like I have learnt more in these 8 weeks than in four years of university, I feel like much more of a scientist.”
Alongside their time in the lab, the students also took part in a programme of workshops and activities designed to provide the opportunity to explore research culture more generally and to build knowledge around science careers.
“Getting to be around scientists whilst they worked, seeing an interacting with them day to day, it made me realise they are just people as well. The programme has also taught me that you don't have to go into an academic career with a PhD. I am now looking into research assistant jobs from which I can potentially transition into a PhD-level career.”