Undergraduates at the Crick

Although we don’t carry out undergraduate teaching, there are still lots of opportunities to get involved with the Crick as an undergrad. Find out about our different programmes and how you can apply.

Students have to make career decisions soon after graduating, but it can be difficult to choose your next step without having experienced the world beyond your course. This means that undergraduate degrees are a time to try things out before committing.

We have three different programmes for undergraduates at the Crick, all designed to give students a taste of life in a biomedical research institute. Hear from our students about their experiences, and the differences and similarities between the three programmes. 

Sandwich students

Sandwich students join us for a year as part of their degree at a UK university. They’re often students on courses that specifically include a year in industry or another placement year. They can also be students who have chosen to pause their studies for a year. They’re based in our labs and core science facilities, contributing to a defined research project with support from the rest of their team.

“Sandwich students spend a whole year at the Crick, long enough to really settle into their project - they become essential members of their teams,” says Sally Leevers, Director of Academic Training. “It’s a great chance for students to get a taste of the world of science and research before their degree is finished.”

“I know for a fact that in my future career, I’m going to use the things that I’ve learned here”, says 2023 sandwich student Alex, who was based in our Software Engineering and Artificial Intelligence team.

Applications for our sandwich student programme are submitted through the Crick website, and applications are evaluated by hiring managers in the lab teams. This often includes group leaders, science technology platform heads, and laboratory research scientists.

Summer operations and science technology platform interns

A group of people sitting around a table, eating and talking.

We partner with the 10,000 Interns Foundation to hire interns of Black ethnicity for teams across the Crick. “They are a great organisation and we fully recommend them to other employers,” says Alison Forbes, the Crick’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead. Interns spend nine weeks over the summer hosted in our operational (non-science) teams and our core science facilities

They’re matched with a supervisor and a mentor during their placement at the Crick. “Throughout our time here, we have regular sessions with our mentors, to talk about our interests, our project, or what we would like to do afterwards,” explains Fatihat, a 2023 student who was placed in our Electron Microscopy team.

About the 10,000 Interns Foundation

The 10,000 Interns Foundation provide paid internships for Black students and graduates through the 10,000 Black Interns programme, and paid internships for disabled students and graduates of all ethnicities, through the 10,000 Able Interns programme across a range of UK industries.

Visit 10,000 Interns Foundation >

For this programme, students apply directly through the 10,000 Interns Foundation. “You can apply to the 10,000 Interns programme if you meet their criteria, and select the sectors you’re interested in,” explains Alison. “You cannot specifically request to be matched to the Crick, but 10,000 Interns will send you a range of opportunities with different employers across the country.” 

10,000 Interns also support with pre-application, pre-interview and pre-internship training sessions. 

Summer research laboratory students

Summer research laboratory students are undergraduates who have at least one year of their degree left at a UK university. This means that they are typically in their second year of a three-year undergraduate degree or in their third year of a four-year degree.

A person standing in front of a podium and a screen presenting in an auditorium.

Each programme ends with a symposium where students present their summer projects back to the rest of the Crick.

These students join our summer student training programme, and spend nine weeks in one of our research groups, being trained by one of our postdocs. Our summer student training programme is a widening participation programme for students who might not otherwise have access to high-quality research experience during their undergraduate degrees.

This year the programme included students of Black heritage, students with a household income below £25,000, and students at universities on our priority institutions list (which doesn’t include Russell Group universities). 

“By diversifying the pool of undergraduates who can access to research experience via our summer training programme, we hope to diversify future applicants to PhDs and other scientific career pathways in the future,” says Sally.

Each summer student is based in a specific research group, but as with all our student programmes, the students have plenty of opportunities to meet and interact with people from across the Crick. “In the communal lab, which is where multiple groups share a lab space, you always speak to each other about your own research and say ‘hello’”, says Cyrus, a 2023 summer student. “Everyone’s a lot more sociable than I thought!”

Undergraduate community

At the Crick, we want to create a great environment for all the undergraduates who spend time here over the summer. 

All of our programmes pay above the London Living Wage, and our summer students and interns also have the option of having accommodation provided.

The programmes kick off with an induction to introduce the students to the Crick and what to expect over the summer, and include regular training and social events.

Throughout their time here, students are supported by both their project team, and the Crick’s Academic Training and HR teams. 

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