Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarships at the University of Sheffield

Important Update

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Sheffield will not be recruiting to projects for summer 2021. We anticipate that Sheffield's recruitment will restart in the 2021/22 academic year for projects to take place in summer 2022.

Wellcome LogoThe University is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant to provide Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarships for the summer vacation periods of 2020 - 2024.  The Scholarship provides the opportunity for an undergraduate to gain a paid, first-hand experience of research working in cutting-edge research facilities at the University of Sheffield.

The University of Sheffield will aim to host six of these scholarships each year.

We recognise that financial, socio-economic and other circumstances can make it difficult for some to continue studying beyond an undergraduate degree. A key priority of the Biomedical Vacation Scholarship is to provide research opportunities for groups that are currently underrepresented in postgraduate research. As such, we aim to award at least 50% of these scholarships to individuals currently underrepresented.

Applicants who do not meet any of these criteria are still eligible to apply.

Projects must take place at the University of Sheffield over a 6 to 8 week period during the summer vacation. All potential applicants must contact an academic member of staff at the University of Sheffield and have the agreement to work on a project in place before applying to this scheme.

The Scholarship

The Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarship provides the successful applicant with knowledge and experience in a professional research setting, useful for supporting applications for postgraduate study and postgraduate employment.  It also provides:

  • A basic salary at the real Living wage plus holiday pay and National Insurance contributions for the duration of a 6 - 8 week project.
  • Working hours of 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday
  • Up to £1500 to cover or subsidise accommodation and travel if required
  • £500 towards the cost of materials and consumables provided to the host research group

Successful applicants will be registered as employees at the University and will be required to complete eligibility to work checks before the project starts.

  • Projects must take place at the University of Sheffield over a 6 to 8 week period during the summer vacation and must be within Wellcome's Science remit.
  • Research projects are not suitable if they are part of a degree course or involve a clinical audit or are comprised entirely of a literature review.
  • Projects should be a self-contained piece of research with claim aims or research questions.

All potential applicants must contact an academic member of staff at the University of Sheffield and have the agreement to work on a specific project in place before applying to this scheme.

Approaching a potential supervisor can feel daunting, but most academics will be happy to talk to enthusiastic students about their area of research.

Many academics have small projects which are suitable for undergraduate students to work on over a short period. They often look for students who are interested and show enthusiasm for their area of research and have an open mind to try the project they have on offer. Equally, if a student has already formed an idea for a project which aligns with their research, it demonstrates that they will be engaged with the project and that is also desirable.

Regardless of whether you have a particular project in mind or just a broad area of research, it is good to contact a potential supervisor as soon as possible. An email is a good starting point, but one where you outline the scholarship (some potential supervisors may not be aware of the scheme) and suggest a phone call to discuss your ideas.

To help you find a potential supervisor for your Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarship project, please use the supervisor search tool. This tool is designed for potential postgraduate students, but many of the supervisors featured are happy to support undergraduate students with vacation scholarships.

Eligibility and suitability

To apply you must:
• Be registered on a relevant undergraduate course in the UK or Republic of Ireland. Examples of relevant subjects include: science (biomedical, natural, computing or physical sciences), medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, engineering, mathematics and psychology;
• be in the middle year(s) of your degree;
• have not yet undertaken a substantial period of research.

We are particularly interested in applications from students who meet one or more of the following criteria:

• a mature student (aged 21 or over when they started their first undergraduate course);
• have a postcode listed as ACORN 4 or 5 or Quintile ‘1’ or ‘2' in the POLAR4 column on the POLAR checking tool;
• are a care-leaver or an estranged student;
• are in receipt of a Disabled Student Allowance as part of your undergraduate studies;
• are from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background;
• have caring responsibilities for an ill or disabled family member;
• your university entrance qualifications were something other than A Levels / IB;
• you are the first generation in your family to attend university and be studying an undergraduate or equivalent qualification;
• are currently studying at a non-Russell Group university.

Applicants who do not meet the above criteria are still eligible to apply to the scheme

Please note, you are ineligible to apply if you:
• are in your first or last years;
• have previously undertaken a vacation scholarship from Wellcome or another funding body, or have had significant research experience;
• have completed or are currently undertaking an intercalated year;
• have completed or are currently undertaking a one-year placement in research as part of their degree (eg a sandwich year);
• are a graduate-entry medical student who has completed a previous undergraduate degree in a science-related subject;
• are enrolled on a course outside the UK or the Republic of Ireland.

Successful applicants will be registered as a member of staff at the University of Sheffield for the duration of the project and will be required to complete eligibility to work checks before the project commences.

How to apply

The scheme has been cancelled in 2020 as a result of Covid-19.  It will run again in 2021.

You will need to complete an application form and obtain a reference from your tutor.  These must be completed on the templates available to download from the right. 

Completed application forms and references must be uploaded to this google form.  The google form also contains equality and diversity and widening participation information.  

All applications will be assessed based on academic merit and potential to do research in biomedical sciences, as evidenced on academic record and answers provided in application form (e.g. motivation, contribution to host lab, skills to be gained).

We will be in touch on the outcome of your application by e-mail.  Please ensure that your email is entered correctly.

The Wellcome Trust has taken the decision to cancel the Biomedical Vacation Scholarship Scheme for 2020 as a result of the rapidy developing situation surrounding COVID-19.  The scheme will run again in 2021.

Any queries please email: WTVacation@sheffield.ac.uk

Privacy information:

The University of Sheffield takes the security and integrity of all the personal data it holds seriously. The University's privacy notice can be found here.

For all applicants, your data will be kept for the duration of the Scholarship Programme (a minimum period of 5 years) for planning and reporting purposes. It will not be published or used in a way that identifies you.

If you are successful in securing a place on the Scholarship Programme, your personal data will also form the basis of your record of employment.

The University makes certain statutory disclosures of information and your data may be used for those purposes. Your data will be used to report specifically to Wellcome on the Scholarship Programme.