Our 2023 programme is now closed for recruitment. You can register your interest for our 2024 programme here:

Register your interest

What the scholars say

It’s certainly very challenging and very interesting. And because it’s research, no one knows the answers, so we have to figure it out as we go. It has given me really, really good experience and will be very helpful in helping me to decide whether or not I want to progress into research.” Zhe Ren Ooi, UCL intern


You can apply for a Biomedical Vacation Scholarship if you’re studying for an undergraduate degree in a quantitative subject at a UK / Irish university and you’re interested in health data research. Examples of relevant subjects include:

  • Computer / data science
  • Engineering (all types)
  • Mathematics / Statistics
  • Physics, Chemistry or other quantitative sciences

You are in the middle year(s) of your degree, and have not yet undertaken a substantial period of research (for example exclusions see below)*. You should typically be on track to achieve a final degree grade of a 2:1 or First degree.

You must not:

  • 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 your degree (e.g. a sandwich year)
  • be a graduate-entry medical student who has completed a previous undergraduate degree in a science-related subject.

Details on widening access and the application process:

  • Whilst the internship is open to eligible candidates, we are prioritising applications from individuals who are underrepresented within health data research. This includes:

    • If you are in the first generation of your family to attend university
    • If you are or have been a looked after person (Care-experienced)
    • If you are a carer (i.e. someone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability or for another reason cannot cope without your support)
    • If you are a government refugee or asylum seeker
    • If you have a clinically diagnosed disability
    • If you were eligible for Free School Meals

    We will also encourage applications from those who are studying at a non-Russell Group university. Fulfilling one or more of the criteria above will mean that your application will be prioritised for review.

    If you are awarded a scholarship and have declared that you meet one or more of the criteria listed above you will be expected to evidence this either via a supporting statement from a referee, formal documentation or otherwise.

    Please note: This information will NOT be made available to those engaged in the vacation scholarship application shortlisting and interviews. The information will only be accessible by restricted administrative staff. It will be used to flag applications that meet one or more of the widening access criteria.

  • Applications open: Friday 10 February 2023

    Deadline: Sunday 12 March 2023 (midnight)

    Interviews: TBC

  • We accept applications on our application portal. You will be asked about the following in your application form to us:

    • Your contact details (name, email address, phone number)
    • An up-to-date CV
    • Your current degree subject
    • Eligibility questions
    • Your project choice
    • Criteria for widening access
    • 4 personal statement-style questions on your experiences, skills and motivation

    Please note that there is a timed assessment within this application. We will be asking 3 Maths-based questions with 15 minutes. If you have any reasonable adjustments that require extra time, please email us at phd@hdruk.ac.uk BEFORE opening this assessment.

    Please ensure that your university details (course, dates and university) are up-to-date to ensure proof of your eligibility for our programme. We would also recommend checking the contact details (phone and email) on your CV are current and match those in your application.

  • After your application has been submitted, we will be screening applications for eligibility before reviewing personal statement-style answers and timed assessment answers. This will be done in a blind and randomised manner to review applications in a fair manner.

    Shortlisted applicants will be contacted for an interview with host organisation academics, PhD students and HDR UK Training staff. Those who pass the sifting process and do not reach interview will receive feedback on their personal statement-style answers. All candidates who complete an interview within our scheme can receive feedback, regardless of outcome.

  • We are looking for applicants with an enthusiasm to learn how their mathematical and/or computational skills can be applied to biomedical and health care research problems.

    We will look for these:

    • In your Maths quiz scoring (at least 2/3)
    • In the answers you give to the personal statement-style questions in your application to us, which are then reviewed anonymously and given a score.

Register your interest here

A note on positive action

This scholarship programme is a form of positive action. Positive action is a range of measures permitted under the Equality Act 2010 which can be lawfully taken to encourage and train people from under-represented groups to help them overcome disadvantages in competing with other applicants. Applicants eligible for the Biomedical Vacation Scholarship are from groups which are under-represented in postgraduate research, with the aim of increasing participation in postgraduate research from these groups.


If you have any questions about the recruitment process, or about the programme, please feel welcome to reach out to us.

Email us