Summer Vacation Studentships

On the back of a successful online Summer Vacation Studentship scheme in 2021, we will be opening applications for a laboratory-based scheme and a separate computer-based scheme for undergraduate students in biochemistry and related subjects in 2022.

The lab-based scheme involves a 6-week lab placement, providing students with hands-on experience of laboratory research. The computer-based scheme will focus on skills development, involving online courses and skills-based webinars, equipping students with analytical and computational tools useful for their career progression and graduate school applications. See below for more information on each of the schemes.

Applications for 2022 are now closed.

Computer-based

The computer-based Summer Vacation Studentship scheme will be centred on skills development, equipping students with analytical and computational tools useful for their career progression and graduate school applications.

Successful applicants will be awarded:

  • Access to online, self-led computational courses free of charge; “R for Biochemists 101” and “Practical Python for beginners: a Biochemist’s guide”.
  • Access to a bespoke webinar programme focusing on transferable skills, employability, and careers.
  • A one-year membership of the Biochemical Society (at undergraduate, postgraduate or associate level).

Students take up the award during the summer vacation before their final year. Students carrying out a three year undergraduate course are eligible in their second year of study. Students carrying out a four year course are eligible in their second or third years of study.

This programme will take place online throughout July and August 2022, with courses running sequentially; one course per month. Successful applicants will be expected to complete both courses by the end of August 2022, as well as to submit a brief post-programme report by the end of September 2022. Both online courses are self-led and can be completed at a time that suits the learner within that course’s appointed month, with each taking approximately 5 hours to complete. Moderators will answer learner comments during the month of the course’s run, but learners will continue to have access to the course content for a year from enrolment.

Lab-based

The Biochemical Society sets aside as much funding as possible for its annual Summer Vacation Studentship Scheme. The purpose of the Scheme is to provide undergraduate students in biochemistry and related subjects with hands-on experience of laboratory research. Studentship experiences are hard to come by and, if awarded, the experience can benefit a new researcher and their supervisor greatly.

The scheme is extremely popular, with applications going through a competitive application process. As the lab-based scheme was not run in 2020 and 2021, we are expecting demand for placements to be very high in 2022, with most applications being of excellent quality.

Each supervisor may only apply for sponsorship of one student per round of applications and must be a member of the Biochemical Society upon applying. Where necessary, priority will be given to supervisors who have been members for at least 12 months prior to the closing date of the grants.

Students will be awarded a stipend of £294.50 per week for 6 weeks to support the students’ living costs for the duration of the placement. The laboratory will cover consumables and costs associated with the research.  Students will also be awarded a one-year membership of the Biochemical Society at undergraduate, postgraduate or associate level.

Students take up the award during the summer vacation before their final year. Students carrying out a three year undergraduate course are eligible in their second year of study. Students carrying out a four year course are eligible in their second or third years of study. Once an award has been offered to a named student it cannot be transferred to another student.

Students take up the award during the summer vacation before their final year. Students carrying out a three year undergraduate course are eligible in their second year of study. Students carrying out a four year course are eligible in their second or third years of study.

Applications will be assessed based on the following questions:

  1. Why are you applying to this scheme? Please tell us about your possible future career plans (if you have any) and how this scheme might contribute towards these. (150 words max)
  2. What analytical and computational skills do you hope to learn during this scheme, and how do you think these will enhance your future study/career. (150 words max)
  3. What other skills and knowledge do you hope to develop during this scheme (for example transferable skills), and how do you think these will enhance your future study/career? (150 words max)

Once enrolled on the scheme, It is a condition of the award that the student subsequently submits a report and a photo of themselves that can be uploaded onto our website and online galleries (no more than 1 side of A4) summarising:

  • Skills developed throughout the scheme, both technical and transferable
  • How the scheme contributed to an overall career goal
  • Future plans for learning or career progression

Students are also encouraged to write a blog about their placement, and to regularly update the Society on their work using social media or via email.

Read quotes from reports by participants of the computer-based scheme in 2021.

Students take up the award during the summer vacation before their final year. Students carrying out a three year undergraduate course are eligible in their second year of study. Students carrying out a four year course are eligible in their second or third years of study. Once an award has been offered to a named student it cannot be transferred to another student. 

Each supervisor may only apply for sponsorship of one student per round of applications and must be a member of the Biochemical Society upon applying. Where necessary, priority will be given to supervisors who have been members for at least 12 months prior to the closing date of the grants. 

Applications will be assessed based on the following questions: 

From the Student: 

  1. What are your reasons for applying for this studentship? (150 words max)
  2. Why are you interested in this particular area of research? What do you hope to discover as a result of the work? (200 words max)
  3. During the summer vacation work, you will be part of a research group. Comment on how the work you will conduct fits within the group’s interest. (300 words max)
  4. What skills (technical and transferable) do you hope to gain? (250 words max)

From the supervisor: 

  1. What gap in knowledge does this research fill?(200 words max)
  2. How is this project of wider interest to the molecular bioscience community?(200 words max)
  3. Give a brief overview of the timetable of the research to be undertaken by the student including both expected milestones for assessing progress and contingency plans.(200 words max)
  4. How are you providing an opportunity for the student to experience life as a researcher and how will you support their development?(200 words max)
  5. What skills (technical and transferable) do you hope the student will gain on this placement?(200 words max)

Find out key information about the scheme via our Frequently Asked Questions >

Once funding is awarded, it is a condition of the award that the student subsequently submits a report and a photo of themselves and the supervisor that can be uploaded onto our website and online galleries (no more than 2 sides of A4) summarising: 

  • The aims of the project 
  • Description of work 
  • Assessment of results and outcomes of studentship 
  • Future directions in which the project could be taken 
  • Departures from original proposal 
  • Value of studentship to the student and to the lab 
  • Photos of the student and supervisor with any others (or images) of relevant lab work or results. Please email photos in jpeg format.

Students are also encouraged to write a blog about their placement, and to regularly update the Society on their work using social media or via email.  

Please note: Photos may be used in related articles in The Biochemist, on the Biochemical Society website alongside your report, for future marketing of the grant scheme and the Biochemical Society.

The student applicant ranked as top awardee each year, based on their application score and post-Studentship report, will receive £500 on completion of their Summer Vacation Studentship and the submission of their report. 

This prize will only be awarded to a student on the lab-based scheme.  Find out more and see the previous winners >

Read reports, blogs, case studies and see photos from previous years here >