To encourage and enhance collaboration between research disciplines, principal investigators (PIs) from UCL, Imperial College London and King's College London can apply to set up an attachment at the Crick.

University attachments bring researchers from our partner universities to the Crick, often for several years, to establish new multidisciplinary collaborations.

We aim to attract people with skills that complement our core research areas, and bring in research projects that will benefit most from collaborative working. We generally prioritise applications from researchers working in physical, mathematical, computational, clinical, and translational sciences or engineering.

Attachment researchers are expected to collaborate significantly with Crick group leaders and the heads of our science technology platforms. These collaborations might be focused on specific research projects, or could involve multiple Crick collaborators in a more substantial research or technology development programme.

Crick group leaders can also apply to set up a reverse attachment at a university.

Examples of arrangements

Attachments are flexible and can take different forms:


A research group leader might transfer all or most of their research group to the Crick for up to six years. The Crick becomes the primary research base for the group and the group leader spends the majority of their time at the Crick.


A research group leader might transfer part of their group to the Crick, possibly on a part-time basis. The group’s primary research base remains at the home university, with the research group leader visiting the Crick occasionally. The scientists may be embedded within a single Crick research group or STP working on a defined project or might work with multiple groups or STPs.


A research group leader might spend up to a year (full or part-time) on sabbatical working in a Crick research group, for example to learn new techniques or undertake a hands-on collaboration.

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How it works

Researchers from UCL, Imperial and King’s can apply for university attachment positions at the Crick.

There is an annual call for research proposals, with slightly different deadlines for the three universities.

Successful applicants are selected through a competitive process, based on:

  • Excellence of the research proposal
  • Benefits in career development for the applicant
  • Added value to the research group, the Crick and the university
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Career stage and track record of the applicant: proposals from early-career researchers are encouraged, as it is consistent with our aim to create future science leaders.

It is expected that projects will be externally funded. Applications where funding is not yet in place can be considered but selection will be contingent upon a successful grant application.

The university staff transferring to the Crick remain employees of their home institution.


how to apply

Applications are currently closed

The 2023 call for attachments is now closed for researchers at King's College London, Imperial College London, UCL and the Crick.

Visit our university partners' websites to find out when applications will re-open:

The deadline for applications varies for each of our partners - please check the university websites for more details. 

Contact the Crick team

Case studies

Jernej Ule

Jernej Ule, UCL

Seconded to the Crick from UCL, Jernej Ule’s group is investigating how RNAs and proteins come together in our cells, and how this contributes to development or disease. Their research focuses on motor neurone disease (MND) – a fatal disease also referred to as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“My group of nine researchers are all based at the Crick, where we have greatly benefited from work with different research facilities and initiated important new collaborations,” explains Jernej. 

Ed Tate

Ed Tate, Imperial College London

Ed Tate manages a research group split between Imperial College London and the Crick, and is an example of how university attachments can bring expertise in the physical sciences to collaborations at the Crick. “We work with chemistry but we apply it to biology,” says Ed.

“When we see a biomedical or biological problem we think would be interesting to try to solve, we can decide to tackle it from a new perspective – and the Crick enables us to do that very effectively.” 

Snezhana Oliferenko

Snezhana Oliferenko, King's College London

On a five-year secondment from King’s College London, Snezhana Oliferenko’s group of six researchers is studying the comparative biology of cell division. “It’s a great environment for meeting like-minded people and talking science," she says.

"It’s also a very good experience for my team to be exposed to interesting and diverse thinking.” 

Research training with universities