International Undergraduate Summer School

Applications for 2019 are now closed.

The Undergraduate Summer School is a unique opportunity for undergraduates from all corners of the world to spend eight weeks at our internationally renowned research centre, partnering with fellow Norwich Research Park institutes; The Sainsbury Laboratory and The Earlham Institute. The 2019 summer school runs from Sunday 29 June – Friday 24 August.

Students experience plant and microbial science, interacting with some of our world-leading scientists and gain an unrivalled insight into research, for your future career.

One afternoon each week is dedicated to training events that cover activities such as science communication, computer programming, field studies, advanced presentation skills, and discussions with students from previous years about career development.

Social interactions and teamwork are encouraged throughout, with activities including make-your-own pizza, bat walk and BBQs.

The programme culminates in a two-day conference on the beautiful North Norfolk coast where students present and share their research.

Our International Undergraduate Summer School includes;

  • £200 per week spending money
  • Free accommodation in your own en-suite room, with shared kitchen
  • A programme of training, research, seminars, workshops and social events
  • Be part of a world-renowned scientist’s laboratory and contribute to their research
  • Experience life in a world-leading scientific institute across a variety of biological and chemical sciences; including microbiology, cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics, molecular biology and computational and mathematical biology

2019 Projects

We have a huge range of projects available as part of the 2019 Undergraduate Summer School.

Below are a list of the project titles, grouped by departmental research area, alongside the laboratory senior scientist.

Biological Chemistry

  • DNA topoisomerases in bacteria and plants – Tony Maxwell
  • Structural Biology of host:pathogen interaction – Mark Banfield
  • Iron cofactors in plants and for human nutrition – Janneke Balk

Cell and Developmental Biology

Computational and Systems Biology

  • Inference and simulation of gene regulatory networks – Richard Morris

Crop Genetics

Metabolic Biology

  • Molecular mechanisms of starch synthesis in plants and applications for improving crop quality – David Seung
  • Engineering triterpenoids for medicinal, agricultural and biotech applications – Anne Osbourn

Molecular Microbiology

  • Investigating how Pseudomonas bacteria colonise plant root systems – Jacob Malone
  • Engineering new DNA-binding specificity – Tung Le
  • Zooming in on bacterial cell division – identification and microscopic analyses of novel cell division proteins in the antibiotic producing bacteria Streptomyces – Susan Schlimpert

The Sainsbury Laboratory

  • Interactions between plants and the plant pathogen Phytophthora – Sophien Kamoun
  • Genetics of immunity in crop species – Matthew Moscou
  • Investigating plant immune receptors – Jonathan Jones
  • Defining, exploiting and editing resistance to potato and tomato diseases – Jonathan Jones

Earlham Institute

  • Discovering cellular heterogeneity through single cell genomics – Iain Macauley

What previous students had to say

“One of the best experiences in my life – it gave me the opportunity to both enrich my scientific education and meet other like-minded students with a passion for science. I shared this incredible journey with them and created lasting friendships” –Sylvia Marinova

“The John Innes Centre Undergraduate Summer School perfectly balances learning, working and socialising. It is a once in a lifetime experience that you will treasure forever” – Vladu Iulia

“An incredibly fun 8 weeks of science. I have improved dramatically as a scientist” –Thomas Gate

“The Undergraduate Summer School is an amazing experience. Meeting and living with students from many different backgrounds was as enjoyable as the science was interesting. It was a challenging but rewarding experience” – Sam Deans

“This has been an invaluable research experience for me. Not only has it prepared me for taking on an independent project at my university lab, but I feel very prepared for graduate level research as well. The training programme has confirmed that pursing a PhD is something that I want to do. Besides gaining a wonderful research skillset, you will also gain lifelong friends that you’ll never forget” – Natasha Bilkey


The International Undergraduate Summer School is supported by;