skip to primary navigationskip to content

Sixth-form visitors: an insight into research careers

We host visits from sixth-form school students, some as part of their day learning about Cambridge life and others on a one-off basis

Schools from around the country have sent groups of sixth-formers for a one-off visit to the Institute to learn about biomedical research. Our events include a talk about the process of research and a tour of Institute labs and facilities, plus a chance to talk to researchers about their careers. These visits are run by Bernhard Strauss and Hélène Doerflinger.

In one scheme that is designed for Year 12 students with a specific interest in applying to the University of Cambridge, schools can arrange to send a group to the city for a day as part of the Cambridge Colleges’ Physics Experience (CCPE).  The visitors' day begins with talks about life at the University of Cambridge in the college that is hosting them. In the afternoon, students attend a workshop, choosing between physics at the Cavendish Laboratory or biology at the Gurdon Institute.


For the 105 students in seven groups that we hosted for the CCPE in 2015, our workshop consisted of a seminar about cell division and cancer, the observation of normal and cancerous tissues under a microscope, a demonstration of the super-resolution microscope, and a discussion with our scientists about their research and their career (the part that the visitors found most enjoyable). After being inspired at this visit, some of the same students came back for a week of work experience in one of our labs.


On five different days we hosted groups of sixth-form students for a two-hour visit, some travelling together from a local school and others via Cambridge college summer schools that bring together students from state schools all over the country.


A total of 38 Year 12 students attended on three different days for two hours. A special trip was arranged for four Year 9 and 10 students from Hendon School, London, who had won a science prize at school and who were treated to a visit lasting three hours.