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student research placement programme - cessation of activity (for now)


All IDRN activity, including this placement programme, has stopped at least temporarily. See the below paragraphs for more information and do keep an eye on the IDRN website for updates about it's future.


The Infectious Disease Research Network has been in existence since 2001, and we are grateful to have been funded through that time by the Department of Health.
The existing contract ends 30 September 2015. At the same time, IDRN Manager Michael Head, who has been in post since 2004, will be moving to the University of Southampton to lead on the Research Investments in Global Health study (ResIn,

Therefore, there is likely to be a hiatus in IDRN activity after 30 September, including with all aspects of the student placement programme. We have had some modest success with this, but such schemes probably require, in themselves, dedicated funding to fully succeed.

We have an ongoing process in place with our steering group to consider ways forward for the Network, which will likely include a new institution acting as lead and attempting to secure new funding.
Updates on the IDRN will be posted on and sent out to the mailing list. From the secretariat at UCL (Andrew Hayward, Michael Head, Cherry Heaven), thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of the Network over the last 14 years.


See below for the archived information from this webpage, for information only.






The Infectious Disease Research Network (IDRN) Student Research Placement Programme is intended to act as a catalyst, or 'match-making' facility, linking talented and committed students and research institutions in the United Kingdom.

This facility will assist in allocating volunteers to research projects (placement time could be anything from a few weeks, to a year-long placement, to one day a week during term times).

(Focus is predominantly on UK studies and placements, although international collaborations are welcome)

navigating this page

Information on this programme - see immediately below

Projects and studies potentially able to place students

Grants available, on competitive basis, for student scheme

Other funding sources of interest to students


More information

Placements could be carried out during university summers, during academic course research placements, during medical elective periods, during Masters’ projects, or during sabbaticals. Projects from any field relevant to infectious diseases are eligible, and students can be in any type of adult education (whether postgraduate, undergraduate, medical or any other kind of student).

All research and surveillance institutions are welcome to send us their details, and all types of research are welcomed, whether they are laboratory-based, epidemiological etc.

If you're a student...

And you are thinking a work placement in a research institution might be for you, then do send us your details, research interests and requirements (e.g. location of work, prefer lab-based or non lab-based activity etc). We're not uploading students details to the web anymore, but receiving your info means we have a better idea of what researchers to approach and in which UK locations.

If you're a researcher...

And you are keen to offer a placement to a student, then do send us your current (or forthcoming) studies, with brief details of the likely type of work on offer, plus the length of time of placement and also whether you'd be able to offer any kind of funding for the student.

Also, see below for students interested in placements. if of interest, please do contact them directly. The method of recruitment (interview, taking up of references etc) is up to you, although if the IDRN can help in any way, please do contact us.

Also, when considering your next infection-related grant, it may also be worth remembering that there is a service available that can place medical students or undergraduates with you during busy times.

What about funding for the student?

Anticipated that most placements would be voluntary.

However, research institutions may have funds in their budgets. Also, see below for a list of professional bodies, funders and societies that provide bursaries and small grants on a competitive basis. Whilst some students may have the capacity to work on a voluntary basis, that will not always be the case, so we will keep this page updated with the latest information.

How will the programme organisers make this scheme a success?

The IDRN will use its extensive contact list to invite researchers to join in with this programme. Their mailing list numbers around 2500 individuals with an interest in infectious disease research, and they have contacts within most of the many infection-related professional bodies and societies.

Joseph Fitchett is a current medical student who is well-connected within the various student societies and groups, and has good experience of seeking both placements and sources of funding. He will be able to raise awareness of this scheme within all corners of the UK student community.

Advantages of this programme

The student will

  • Gain valuable skills, experience and knowledge relating to current research and research methodologies
  • Gain valuable contacts in research institutions
  • Have a stronger curriculum vitae

The research institution will

  • Benefit from an extra team member
  • Have an extra pair of hands, that can enable activity, processes or other short-term projects to be put in place that may otherwise not have been possible
  • Have positively contributed towards a students' knowledge and experience
  • Have promoted their own area of research and facilities for the 'next generation'.



grants available
  • The information below will be kept as up to date, and as accurate as possible, but please do contact us if there are any inaccuracies. Also, if you find further grants available that are not listed below, please do send the details our way (
  • All grants have slightly different eligibility criteria and requirements, so do read the small print carefully, and contact the institution if necessary. Most funding bodies make it a requirement that you compile a report of your experiences in the placements, and some will not pay out until this report has been received. Also, any application should clearly reflect the interests of the institution offering the grant.
  • We have only included grants that are not 'institution-specific'. Universities and medical schools sometimes have small amounts of money available for activity like this, so it is well worth asking your tutors/supervisors, or trawling the institution website, to see if anything relevant is being offered.
  • Many grants and bursaries will also require input from a supervisor, so it may be that you will already need a placement already arranged before applying for these various grants.
  • Some grants are only available to members of that particular society (typically referrring to the potential supervisor, rather than the student). Where possible, we have tried to highlight this.

Wellcome Trust

Biomedical Vacation Scholarships
Information: These awards provide promising undergraduates with hands-on experience of research during the summer vacation, with the aim of encouraging them to consider a career in research. Scholarships are available for up to eight weeks' work and currently provide a stipend of £180 (£190 in London) per week. Research expenses are not provided.
Basic eligibility criteria:
Applicants must be at a university within the UK or Republic of Ireland and should be one of the following: an undergraduate in the middle year of a first degree (i.e. not the first or last year) and registered for a basic science, dentistry or veterinary degree a medical student between the end of the second year and the end of the penultimate year. Medical students who have completed an intercalated BSc year, and graduate entry medical students who have completed a previous undergraduate degree in a science related subject, are not eligible to apply for a Biomedical Vacation Scholarship.
Relevant dates: Closing date for 2011 is end of October.
Website/further information: Click here for Wellcome website

Student Elective Prizes
To note, this has been discontinued. Keep an eye on the Wellcome website for future announcements on any revised forms of this scheme. Click here for the Wellcome website.

Nuffield Foundation

2010 Undergraduate Bursaries
The Nuffield Foundation offers around 400 Undergraduate Research Bursaries each year, allowing students across the UK to experience first hand what it would be like to be a scientific researcher by taking part in a research project during their summer holidays. Likely bursary of £180 per week (£190 in London)
Basic eligibility criteria:
Must be taking an undergraduate science degree, and in the middle years of the degree.
Relevant dates:
Deadline for applications to be confirmed, likely to be Feb 2012.
Website/further information:
Click here for the Nuffield website.

Society for General Microbiology

Vacation Studentships
The Society wishes to offer a limited number of awards to enable undergraduates to work on microbiological research projects during the summer vacation. The purpose of the awards is to provide undergraduates with experience of research and to encourage them to consider a career in scientific research. The studentships provide support at a rate of £185 per week for a period of up to 8 weeks. An additional sum of up to £400 for specific research costs may also awarded.
Basic eligibility criteria:
Applicants must be members of the Society working in a higher education institution or research institute in the UK or Republic of Ireland, and applications must be made on behalf of a named student. Students must normally be in the penultimate year of their undergraduate course.
Relevant dates:
Deadline for applications to be confirmed, likely to be Feb 2012.
Website/further information:

Elective grants for medical, dental and veterinary science students

Information: The studentships provide a maximum payment of £1850 to support travel and living expenses for a period of up to 10 weeks. An additional sum of up to £400 for specific research costs may also awarded.
Basic eligibility criteria:
All applicants must be medical, dental or veterinary science undergraduates undertaking their clinical studies at a university in the UK or Republic of Ireland. The research project must be on a microbiological subject, and it must be realistically designed.
Relevant dates:
The next closing date is 23 Sept 2011. Likely to be the same for 2012.
Website/further information:

The Genetics Society

Summer Studentships

Information: The aim of the Genes and Development Summer Studentship scheme is to provide financial support for undergraduate students in any area of genetics. A maximum of 40 studentships will be awarded. They will consist of an award of £225 per week for up to 10 weeks to the student plus an expenses grant of £750 to the host laboratory. The award will be made to the host institution.
Basic eligibility criteria:
Applications are invited from members of the Genetics Society who run a research group within a University or Research Institute or a commercial research facility. Applications must be for a named student. Undergraduate students are encouraged to seek a sponsor and develop a project application with the sponsor.
Relevant dates:
Typically the closing date is 31 March each year (please clarify this with the Society)
Website/further information:
Click here for more information from the Genetics Society website.

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

Research Experience Placements
Information: The Research Experience Placements (REP) scheme has expanded for 2010 with 200 awards available. Awards are allocated to a number of departments/institutes selected and approved by BBSRC and the Bioscience Skills and Careers Strategy Panel.
Basic eligibility criteria:
Bursaries are allocated to specific departments, who then select the students. Individuals cannot apply for these awards. Selected students must be: In the middle years of their first degree studies; Registered for a basic science or veterinary degree at a UK university; Expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree. Preference should be given to students who have not had previous research experience.
Relevant dates:
Check with the BBSRC.
Website/further information:
Click here for more information.

British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Vacation Scholarship Grants
Each research project should be designed so that it could be completed in the time available (up to 10 weeks).Successful candidates will be paid a grant of £180 per week for up to 10 weeks and the Department will be paid a consumables grant of £500. Payment will be made direct to the Secretary/Finance Officer of the Institution who will administer the grant. A maximum of 3 vacation grants will be awarded each year.
Basic eligibility criteria:
Candidates should be in the middle years of a full-time first degree course in the sciences, medicine, veterinary medicine or dentistry. Candidates on Masters degrees will not be considered. Project development designed to be presented as undergraduate or postgraduate laboratory practical assignments will not be considered.
Relevant dates:
31 March each year.
Website/further information:

The Pathological Society

Undergraduate Bursary
Available to undergraduate students of medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry or biomedical science to enable them to work for elective or vacation periods in departments of pathology in universities, medical schools, NHS laboratories or research institutes in the United Kingdom or overseas. The bursary will be up to £150 per week, inclusive of expenses, for a maximum of 8 weeks.
Basic eligibility criteria:
These funds are not meant to support routine course elements, such as student selected modules in the applicant’s own school. Work should normally be sponsored by a Member of the Society.
Relevant dates:
There are 4 deadlines each year 31 January, 30 April, 31 July and 31 October (as per regulations, check with Society for latest info)
Website/further information:
Click here for the Pathological Society website.

The Physiological Society

Vacation Studentships
Studentships are available for a maximum of 8 weeks at a rate of no more than £150 per week. The Society will cover maintenance only - no funds can be provided for consumables or research expenses.
Basic eligibility criteria:
Applications must be completed by an Ordinary Member of the Society, on behalf of their student. Members are only eligible to apply for one Studentship per year
Relevant dates:
Application forms should be completed by the Society Representative by 1 April.
Website/further information:

The Biochemical Society

Summer Vacation Studentships
Grants are available for stipends of £200 per week for 6 – 8 weeks, and up to £1,600 in total, to support a summer placement in a lab for an undergraduate student. This scheme not only benefits the student as they get valuable lab experience, but the supervisor also gains an extra pair of hands.
Basic eligibility criteria:
Applicants (supervisors) must be members of the Biochemical Society working in a university or research institute. Applications must be made on behalf of and in association with a named student.
Relevant dates:
Closing date 13 February 2012.
Website/further information:
Click here for the Society website.

Royal Society of Medicine

Epidemiology & Public Health Prize
Information: 2 prizes of £800 Open To: Undergraduate students of a UK university going on an elective module abroad related to public health or epidemiology or students taking a postgraduate degree such as an MSc in Public Health or similar at a UK university who plan to travel abroad on an elective module as part of that degree
Basic eligibility criteria:
Not open to phd students.
Relevant dates:
See website for next deadlines.
Website/further information:

Clinical Immunology & Allergy Section Prize
Information: The prize is intended to help towards the cost of medical student electives for those intending to work in any area related to immunology. Prize of £600
Basic eligibility criteria:
Open to all student members
Relevant dates:
See website for next deadlines. .
Website/further information:

Respiratory Medicine Section Prize
Information: £400 and a certificate
Basic eligibility criteria:
Candidates must be undergraduates from a recognised medical school within the United Kingdom who intend to go on an elective module related to Respiratory Medicine during the year 2009-10.
Relevant dates:
31 July 2011
Website/further information:

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