Are you an undergraduate student who is thinking about a career in genetics, or curious to know what that might involve?
We have grants available to support you to gain experience in any area of genetics by doing a research project during the summer holiday prior to the final year of your degree.
You can read here about some of last years’ summer student projects.
The summer studentship grant includes:
- £300/week allowance for up to 8 weeks
- Up to £750 to cover host laboratory expenses
- A place on the 2-3 day expenses paid* student Summer School Workshop
- If you need it, a Carer’s Award is also available to cover child care or other responsibility costs while you do the research and attend the summer school.
*Only travel within the UK can be funded.
You must be able to attend the UK based Summer School workshop. In 2023, the workshop is taking place at the Milner Centre for Evolution, University of Bath, from 5-8th September. The workshop provides an opportunity for all summer students to get together, discuss their research, and start to develop a professional contact network. All costs associated with attendance will be funded by The Society, including caring costs if you need them.
What you need to do next:
- Find a research area of genetics that you are curious about and match that to a research group leader in a University or research institution of your choice. Detailed help with all of this can be found below in our FAQ below.
- Work out with your research group leader what your project will be about. More details about how to do this are provided below in the FAQ section.
- Both you and the group leader must be members of the Genetics Society.
- Complete the application form with the help of the research group leader.
- The deadline for 2023 applications is 31st March 2023.
The Genetics Society is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity. We welcome applications for the summer studentship programme from all sections of the community regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, caring responsibilities, age, religion or belief.
How to apply:
Applications are made by you, the student, in partnership with the group leader (this is a change from previous years). When you have logged in to the mySociety membership portal, please select “Me and the GS” followed by “Grants” from the options at the top of the page, and then choose the Summer Studentship award.
If you have any queries regarding the application process or are experiencing any difficulty with your submission, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Other important conditions to note:
- The project should be realistic and achievable by you within an eight-week time frame for completion by the end of August.
- Summer studentships cannot be used to part-fund a larger project.
- Extension of honours projects or early starts for PhD students are not eligible.
- Only one application per student and lab group may be submitted.
- Applications must include the following:
- A project outline
- A project plan (including your training needs)
- A personal statement from you
What happens next?
Your application will be evaluated by a panel of Society committee members and you will be informed of the outcome within four weeks of the application deadline.
If your application is successful, you will be asked to write a short report (around 800 words) within two months of completion of the project, for possible inclusion in the Society newsletter.
Feedback on unsuccessful applications will not be provided.
Who can apply for a summer studentship?
- The Summer Studentship scheme is open to all undergraduate students, except those in their first or final year. The project must be based at a UK university. We will not provide funding for travel to get to the UK from overseas. The Genetics Society is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity. We welcome applications for the summer studentship programme from all sections of the community regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, caring responsibilities, age, religion or belief.
What is a summer studentship?
- A summer studentship is usually carried out in a research team either at a university or at a research institute. You will get help and support with your project from the team members. The project can include learning to do experiments in a laboratory or it can be learning to carry out computational research that involves data analysis, or it can include both. The purpose of the summer studentship is to provide “hands-on” experience in a research environment normally during the summer of year 2 of an undergraduate degree, or year 3 where a degree lasts 4 years.
What does a summer studentship give me?
- The summer studentship includes:
- • £300 per week student living expenses for a maximum of 8 weeks.
- • A place at the Genetics Society Summer Studentship Workshop in the UK, providing an opportunity for all students to discuss their findings, meet members of the Genetics Society committee and network with geneticists. Travel to this workshop from within the UK and the cost of accommodation and meals are included in the studentship.
- • Up to £750 to cover expenses incurred by the host laboratory for this project.
How do I apply for a summer studentship?
- To apply for a summer studentship grant, you will need to find a research group leader to host you in their group and help you to develop your summer project. The group leader will help write the project in an area they work on, so the first step will be finding a research area in genetics that you are curious about.
How do I choose an area of genetics?
- After you have decided that you would like to spend your summer break gaining some experience in a laboratory with other scientists you need to choose an area of genetics that you are curious about. This might be a topic you have covered already in your undergraduate course that you really like or that sparked your interest. It could be a topic that you have heard about in a news article or TV program or experienced through a public engagement event, or it could be a genetic problem experienced by a friend or family member.
How do I match my interests with a genetics research group?
- Searching for your favourite topic and pairing it with a research team leader can be pretty straightforward using online searches for research groups interested in ‘cancer genetics’ or ‘plant genetics’ or ‘zebra fish genes’ or ‘corona viruses’ and so on. Sometimes you might find a large number of options appear in your search results and they are hard to choose from. You can narrow down these options by searching them by location. For example, do you want to live at home over the summer? Or were you thinking of staying at your term time address? (These might be the same for you). Is there a university with a research group leader who works on your chosen topic where you have a relative or friend you can live with over the summer? Or do you want to try somewhere new? You may want to think about how much money the studentship provides per week to help make that decision.
- When you have found a few research groups that you find interesting the next step is to contact them. The best way is through an email to the head of that lab (research group leader): their contact email address will usually be on their website. It is a good idea to have a couple of different groups in mind in case one is full or not taking summer students this year. Introduce yourself in the email and tell the group leader that you are planning to apply for a Genetics Society summer studentship. Not everyone will reply, but that’s OK. Once you find the right lab that you are interested in and the group leader can accommodate you over the summer, start by asking them to help you to develop a project and make sure you give them clear guidelines for the application deadline. Good luck!
How do I fill in the form?
- As part of the application, you will be asked to provide a personal statement, details of the research project and a project plan. Both you and the research group leader will need to be members of the Genetics Society. Membership of the Genetics society costs £5 for undergraduate students and can be applied for here.
What should I include in my personal statement?
- A personal statement tells the people assessing your application a bit about you and helps them to decide if you are a good fit for the lab and if you are likely to succeed in completing the research. The statement should be clear, honest and say why you are curious about your chosen area of genetics, and what you hope to gain from working in a lab on genetics over the summer holiday and from the workshop. You may want to read a bit about the work the lab is doing on their website or from publications from the group. These are usually listed on the research group website, but don’t be afraid to ask the group leader of your host lab for further guidance. There is a maximum word count allowed, so do get a friend or your personal tutor to read it over and give you some feedback to help improve it.
What can I do if I am caring for someone during the summer?
- The Genetics Society offers a carer’s award which can be requested when applying for a summer studentship grant. It can be claimed for some or all of the 8 weeks, and for the time you will spend at the summer school workshop.
What can I not use a Summer Studentship for?
- The grant cannot be used to support an extended honours project or for an early-start of postgraduate studies.
What do I do if I receive funding from another source for a summer project?
- You can’t use this grant to part-fund a project, so if you’ve received funding from another source, you won’t be able to apply for a Genetics Society Summer Studentship. If you are offered two or more summer studentships at the same time, you should choose the one you want to accept and reject the others.
What is expected of me after the Summer Studentship is over?
- Students awarded funding will be asked to write a short report (around 800 words) within two months of completion of the project that may be included in the newsletter. You can find examples in the January issues of our Newsletter, and guidelines are available here.
Where can I get more advice?
- We’re always happy to answer your questions. Please email us or call (+44 (0)20 3925 3672) if you’d like to discuss any aspect of the summer studentship grant.
For research group leaders:
I would like to host a Genetics Society summer student; how do I do that?
- To host a Summer Studentship, you must be a research group leader at a university or research institute and a member of The Genetics Society.
- In a change from previous years, the application for a summer studentship will be made by the student. The application is for one named undergraduate student who must be a member of The Genetics Society, and cannot be transferred. We will only accept one application per lab group each year.
- The student you host must be an undergraduate based at any university (including those outside the UK) and can be of any nationality (please also see our equality, diversity and inclusion statement). The undergraduate would normally be applying for a studentship during the summer of year 2 of an undergraduate degree, or in year 3 where a degree lasts 4 years.
- Applications from outside the UK are eligible but please make sure your student is able to attend the Summer Studentship Workshop in the UK, noting that we cannot provide funding for travel to the UK, though all other workshop costs will be covered by The Society.
- The grant cannot be used to extend honours projects or for an early start to postgraduate study.
- The project should be realistic and achievable by the student within an eight-week time frame for completion before the last week in August (in time for the workshop). You must develop the project proposal with the student in your research area. You must ensure a supervisor will be available from your group to assist in the day to day aspects of the project if it will not be you.
- These grants are claimed in arrears by the institution and it is crucial that you ensure your student receives their first support payment before the project begins. If your institution is unable to provide the student support up front, please contact us in exceptional circumstances as The Society can arrange this.
- You must help the student complete certain sections of the application form, and it would be useful for you to proofread before it is submitted.