We aim to award at least half the scholarships to people meeting one or more of the criteria below. Applicants who do not meet any of these criteria are still eligible to apply.

Scholars will be paid the real Living Wage, plus holiday pay and NI contributions, receive up to £1,500 (of £2,000 if living in London) towards travel and accommodation if required and up to £500 towards the cost of materials and equipment.

Criteria for Widening Access

  • People in the first generation of your family to go to university (e.g. your (step)mother or (step)father did not go to University)
  • If you are or have been a looked after person (Care experienced)
  • If you are a carer (ie 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 declared a disability or a Mental Health issue
  • If you have previously received free school meals.

The following criterion will also apply

  • Studying at a Non-Russell group University (a list of Russell group Universities can be found here)

Fulfilling one or more of the criteria above will mean that your application will be prioritised for funding.

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.


You can apply for a Biomedical Vacation Scholarship if you’re studying for an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject and you want to find out more about research in the biomedical sciences. Examples of relevant subjects include:

  • science (including biological, biomedical, natural, computing or physical sciences)
  • medicine
  • dentistry
  • veterinary medicine
  • engineering
  • mathematics.

The University where you are currently doing your undergraduate degree is in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

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.

How to apply?

To be considered for funding all applicants must complete HDRUK-Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarships application form. They will need to decide which one of the projects they wish to apply for.

As part of the process they will need to answer three multiple choice questions to test their mathematical and analytical skills.

The application process also involves answering three sift questions.

Every applicant will also need to provide a CV.

To be prioritised for funding because you meet one of our widening access criteria, you will be expected to provide a personal supporting statement of no more than 400 words which details why you should be considered under the widening access criteria.

Candidates should note that 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.

Part 2 of the application form gathers information about your research interests and motivation to participate in this scholarship scheme and will be used to rank applications.

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.

If you would like to have an informal chat about whether the scholarships are for you please email Sarah Cadman at sarah.cadman@hdruk.ac.uk.

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.