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Undergraduate Summer Scholarship Scheme

Our paid undergraduate summer scholarships offer undergraduate students a chance to gain hands-on cancer research experience.

The summer 2024 scheme is now closed. The scheme will open again mid-January 2025.

Group of students

The Undergraduate Summer Studentship scheme offers a selection of exciting research projects hosted by different ICR teams across our Chelsea or Sutton sites. These will give you insights into scientific research and the opportunity to work under leading UK academics and clinicians. Through the scheme, you will gain an understanding of the research environment and develop new skills.

Funds are available for up to seven undergraduate students to undertake a six to eight week research project (with a stipend of £300 per week).

As part of the ICR commitment to promote diversity and racial equality in science, in the 2024 summer studentship scheme at least three of the available places were allocated to people from under-represented groups (Black British and first-generation students). These individuals had been identified as under-represented minorities among both ICR students and the wider UK postgraduate student community. While some of the bursaries were ring-fenced, the programme was open to applicants of all backgrounds.

What’s a Summer Scholarship?

  • It enables students to gain research experience and skills while undertaking a cancer research project.
  • It aims to encourage students to consider postgraduate studies.
  • It enables you to work under the supervision of a cancer researcher during the project.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The scheme is for undergraduate students at UK Higher Education institutions in the middle years (i.e. second of three, second/third of four) of their undergraduate degrees.
  • Applications are encouraged from students who have not previously undertaken any form of summer placement.

Students are not eligible:

  • If they are in their first or last year of study.
  • As a student enrolled in a course outside the UK (even if it’s a UK University based overseas).

The scheme for summer 2024 is now closed.  Students were asked to submit their initial applications by 16th February 2024. The deadline for submission of final applications to the ICR by supervisors is 22nd March 2024. Scholarship funding will be allocated through a competitive selection process, and applications that are successful will be announced in early May. For more details on the application process please check How to apply.

Demand for these scholarships will be high so we cannot guarantee that Team Leaders/designated contacts will be able to respond to all enquiries they receive. If you have not been contacted by 22nd March 2024 please assume that your application was not successful this time.

Further information can be found in FAQs. Please contact summerscholarships@icr.ac.uk with any questions or for guidance on the application process.

Previous student experiences

“My 6 weeks spent doing the ICR Undergraduate Vacation Scholarship Scheme has been nothing short of spectacular, and it was all thanks to the team of people in the lab who provided their time to train me and support me. The scientific officers in the lab provided an incredibly accepting and safe environment for me to learn entirely from the ground up, as well as giving me the space to freely make mistakes and ask questions so that I can learn about lab techniques with a hands-on approach through troubleshooting, which was much more fun than learning about the techniques in other ways such as reading textbooks or attending lectures at university.” – Yin Lee

“Working at the ICR has solidified what was an otherwise fundamental understanding of what a career in research demands. […] Each and every person who I met had different backgrounds and diverse interests but were unified in that they were all incredibly receptive and genuinely lovely people to talk with. The benefits of being surrounded by such a diverse and engaging group of people can’t be overstated, having the opportunity to talk with them about their experiences within academia and their own triumphs and struggles again provided me with a deeper more personal perspective to what research entails. [...] In conclusion I can’t think of a better or more fulfilling way I could have spent my summer and would recommend the studentship to anyone keen to get into research as I feel it provides a very real understanding of what to expect.” – James O’Keeffe

“This opportunity has given me the chance to put the theory I have learned from my biochemistry degree to the test by performing several different experiments whilst having the ability to be taught sensible ways to troubleshoot experiments. I received excellent training and guidance on a plethora of experiments, including with siRNA knockdowns, enabling me to feel confident working independently in the lab. Additionally, this support I received also included the use of apparatus and software, which was new to me, developing my data handling and interpretation skills. Collectively, coupled with the friendliness and approachability of my supervisor and lab group made the experience even more worthwhile, providing me with an excellent example of what constitutes an effective research environment and how teamwork contributes to successful outcomes.” – Jack Cameron Bowden

“My time at the ICR during my summer research placement has been exceptionally rewarding. [...] Overall, my time at ICR has been instrumental in developing a comprehensive set of technical skills in machine learning, data preprocessing, cloud computing, experiment design, and effective communication. These skills have not only contributed to the success of my project but have also prepared me for future endeavors in the field of medical imaging and machine learning.” – Siba Al Dalaty

“I would never regret attending the ICR vacation studentship. There have been so many times on the Friday train back home that I felt I’m truly enjoying my life. I’m surprised by the level of freedom throughout my work. […] I had the opportunity to design the structure of the code and the database to my convenience. When I showed interests on a topic that was not in the original scope of the project, my mentor guided me through the basic knowledge and allowed me to apply the new ideas in our project. I’m very glad that the studentship helps me build my confidence in creativity.” – Angelica (Yu) Xiao

“The placement has provided me with a spectrum of experiences, ranging from hands-on wet lab techniques to bioinformatics data analysis. I have also developed a better appreciation of the need for collaborative and interdisciplinary endeavours to make progress in scientific exploration and have widened my understanding of the academic environment through attending enriching scientific events and speaking with various students and staff across the organisation. [...] A pivotal achievement of this internship for me was the opportunity to contribute to a forthcoming paper that will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. As I hope to pursue a career in academia, I hope that this will provide me with unique insight into the nature of scientific writing and publication early on in my academic journey..” – Farheen Muhammed

“My 8-week summer internship with The Institute of Cancer Research has been an incredibly enriching and transformative experience. Right from the outset, I was welcomed into a vibrant work environment surrounded by engaging and friendly colleagues. It has been a real pleasure to work alongside many dedicated researchers and be able to contribute to a meaningful project that has the potential to make a real impact in the field of oncology. [...] Throughout the project, I was able to gain a comprehensive understanding of laboratory techniques and equipment operation, as well as learning how to navigate complex datasets, employ statistical tools, and critically evaluate findings. These highly transferable skills will undoubtedly serve as a solid foundation for my master’s project in biophysics this coming academic year, as well as for my future endeavours in scientific research and beyond. [...] I also appreciated the effort put in by the ICR to encourage interns to meet each other. It was nice to be able to meet other like-minded individuals in a similar position to my own. I enjoyed being able to chat to them about the projects they had been assigned, their academic journey so far, and their plans for the future. Reflecting on the past eight weeks, I am incredibly grateful for the impact this internship at the ICR has had on me, both academically and professionally..” – Elisabeth Charis Moore