Undergraduate summer opportunities in Life Sciences

We offer summer research opportunities for undergraduates, giving students the invaluable experience of working in real research laboratories during the summer vacation months

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A career in life sciences research can be extremely rich and rewarding. However, you might find it difficult to imagine what it would be like to work full-time in a world-class research team.

What is it like in a real laboratory? What does it feel like to discover something new about, for example, cancer biology? It is almost impossible to get a feel for how research is conducted from the comfort of a lecture theatre or from within a busy practical class.

We aim to address this via the summer research traineeship, which provides invaluable experience of working in a real research laboratory during the summer vacation months. 

The schemes are open both to University of Dundee students and those studying in other UK universities.

Research in modern biology is becoming ever more interdisciplinary. We are looking for:

  • students studying biological or biomedical sciences
  • MBChB undergraduates with an interest in basic biological mechanisms
  • students with a background in chemistry, physics, mathematics, programming, and engineering.

Summer lab-based research traineeships

We offer summer lab-based research traineeships supported by a variety of funding bodies.

When you apply you will initially be considered for our Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarship scheme.

A priority of this scheme is to provide research opportunities for groups that are underrepresented in postgraduate research. Should you not meet the eligibility criteria for this scheme or not be successful in securing a place, your application will also be considered for other schemes we run:

If you are unsuccessful, you might like to try: 

SLS Vacation Scholarship Programme 2024

The call for 2024 applications has now closed.

Summer lab-based research traineeship supervisors

Salary payment

Most students will receive a salary payment at the national living wage to work in a specific laboratory for 6-8 weeks across the summer months (June, July, August). Some of the Learned Societies, such as the Medical Research Scotland Scholarships, provide a stipend payment at around £250 per week.

Your application

Only one application per student will be considered.  Submitting multiple applications and nominating additional supervisors will not increase your chance of success. 

All placement offers are subject to a successful interview. The interview panel may also include any nominated supervisors.

The application process is two-tier. Shortlisting for interview is based on your grades in relevant modules, your previous academic and extra-curricular experience, and the quality of your application (all applications are reviewed by independent assessors). 

This is followed by the interview stage where we are looking for enthusiasm and knowledge in the area of your prospective placement. For the Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarship scheme, applicants who meet one or more of our widening participation criteria will receive a contextual flag which will be used to prioritise for funding.

Applicants with caring responsibilities

If you have caring responsibilities, we actively encourage you to apply. Additional bursaries are available to enable you to participate in this programme.

“Real project work, help and advice from colleagues, opportunity to link with professional scientists, insights into lab based work that just aren't possible in an undergrad lab, end-to-end execution of projects including all prep of materials, the summer school Symposium... actually I'm struggling to think of anything I didn't like!”

Former summer student


For further information, please email sls-summerschool@dundee.ac.uk