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Work Experience at the Gurdon Institute

The Gurdon Institute is a world-leading centre for research into the biology of development and how normal growth and maintenance can go wrong in diseases such as cancer. Many of our scientists have made pioneering contributions to the fields of basic cell biology, cellular reprogramming, epigenetics, and DNA repair.

This Work Experience programme is aimed at A-level and IB students from local state schools (in line with the University of Cambridge’s Widening Participation criteria). Our aim is to enable students with an interest in pursuing a career or higher education in science to get first-hand knowledge of an academic research environment when they may not ordinarily have the opportunity to do so.

We will offer a diverse and interesting work experience programme that will help students stand out in University applications and interviews.

Selected students will spend time in a lab and in hands-on workshops about topics central to research at the Gurdon Institute. In addition, students will read, analyse and present a research paper.


The programme is for students in state-sector schools, aged 16+ (in year 12 or 13) who are currently pursuing A-level or IB qualifications in biology and who are interested in higher education or a career in science.

Due to limited availability, please note that spaces will be competitive and completing an application form does not guarantee placement.


For one week, students will:

  • spend 3 hours in a lab each day, learning and practicing research techniques
  • attend four interactive workshops led by scientists and specialists on topics such as confocal microscopy
  • read and analyse a peer-reviewed research paper
  • create and deliver a presentation about the research paper and their experiences in the lab
  • meet and network with PhD students and scientists to talk to them about their jobs and get advice about careers and educational opportunities


Students who are selected to participate are eligible to receive free lunch at the Gurdon Institute (up to £10 per day) and reimbursement for transportation (up to £50 per week, receipts required). We will also provide all of the other materials and equipment needed for the work.

How to apply

  1. Read through the available job descriptions (listed on the right side of this page) and decide which labs are of particular interest to you.
  2. Check with your parents and your school to be sure that you are free and able to attend the work experience for all of the dates listed on the job descriptions.
  3. Look around online to find out more information about the labs that interest you and the work they do.
  4. Complete an application form (also found on the right side of this page):
    1. Read and complete pages 1-4 yourself
    2. Forward the full application form to a current or previous A-level science or maths teacher who is willing and able to complete the last page of the application form for you. (Please ask your teacher ahead of time to check that they are happy to do this for you!)
    3. Have your teacher send the completed job application form to Naomi at by 19 April.
    4. We will get back to you by the beginning of May to let you know whether or not you have been successful.

Important Notes:

  • We will only consider completed application forms that are sent by teachers!
  • If you are selected for the work experience programme and are age 17 or older, you will be required to provide proof of your Right to Work in the UK. This means you will have to provide an official document (such as a passport) to be checked BEFORE you can start the work experience with us. More information about the sort of documents you can bring to fulfil this requirement can be found here and here.


Please reach out to Naomi at with any questions.

Job Descriptions

Read through the job descriptions to find out more about what you'll do as part of the work experience and decide which labs interest you:

Available 9-13 July:

 Available 16-20 July:


How to Apply


Download the application form arrow

(You only need to complete one form, even if you want to apply to work in multiple labs).

Before you complete the form, please check:

  • With your teacher to ensure he/she is happy to complete the last page of the form and submit it on your behalf
  • With your parents and school to ensure that you are available and allowed to attend the work experience on the dates specified in the application form (and in the job descriptions)

Note: Only application forms that are sent by an A-level/ IB science or maths teacher will be considered.


If you have any questions, please ask Naomi at