The HDRUK-Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarship (BVS) programme is an exciting opportunity for students, in the middle year(s) of quantitative degrees, to gain invaluable experience carrying out real-world research projects.

The programme has seven places, all paid the Real Living Wage and with additional allowances available, to carry out projects of up to eight weeks over the 2022 summer vacation.

The host organisations include:

  • The Institute of Cancer Research
  • Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
  • University College London
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Edinburgh, Centre for Genomics and Experimental Medicine
  • University of Oxford.

As the national institute for health data research we promote diversity. The HDRUK-Wellcome BVS scheme prioritises those from socio-economic groups that are under-represented in health data science, including students at non-Russell Group universities.

While at least half the seven available places will be allocated to people from under-represented groups the programme is open to applicants of all backgrounds.

Scholarship projects will be delivered in person, remotely or in a hybrid mode.

Professor Christopher Yau, Director of the HDRUK Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarship programme, said:

“As a British-born Chinese I am very excited to be able to lead this new scholarship programme at HDR UK.

“This is a fabulous opportunity to get a first taste of life in health data research – carrying out real-world work, with people and organisations that are leaders in their field, that contributes to projects which are helping to advance health and care in the UK and worldwide.

“As an undergraduate I was able to undertake research-based work placements that made me realise that research was something that I really wanted to do. I wasn’t so great with exams, but I found a passion for working on real world problems.

“I hope that this programme will provide the sort of experience that inspired me and enable talented undergraduates to consider becoming postgraduate researchers and perhaps even life-long careers in health data research.

“We believe these scholarships will be highly valued, providing superb experience and making a very valuable addition to people’s skills profiles.”

The HDRUK-Wellcome BVS is for undergraduates studying relevant subjects including mathematics, physics, engineering, computer science or any course that involves a substantial component of quantitative study.

Those with pre-existing computer programming experience or are willing to commit to developing those abilities are especially welcome.

Sarah Cadman, HDR UK Programme Director for Talent and Training said:

“We want research opportunities, and careers in health data science, to be open to everyone with the right talent and motivation – regardless of their socio-economic background and where they live in the UK.


“These scholarships will help towards that goal by promoting diversity and inclusion among those who often face particular challenges in moving on from undergraduate to postgraduate studies.”

This year will be a pilot programme and, if successful, we hope the BVS scheme will be expanded in future.

  • Applications are open from now until 14 March.
  • Full details, including information about eligibility, the applications process and our approach to inclusivity are available here.
  • Applications will involve filling in a form available here.
  • If you have any further questions, contact us at:

Find out more