International Undergraduate Summer School

Subject to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we are planning to run the 2022 International Undergraduate Summer School from 3 July to 26 August 2022.

Applications for the 2022 summer school closed Monday 17 January 2022.

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.

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

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, a 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;

  • £250 per week stipend
  • Free accommodation in your own en-suite room, with a shared kitchen and within walking distance of the John Innes Centre
  • A programme of training, research, seminars, workshops and social events
  • The opportunity to be part of a world-renowned scientist’s laboratory and contribute to their research

This is your opportunity to 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.

2022 Projects

We have a huge range of projects available as part of the 2022 Undergraduate Summer School.

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

Cell and Developmental Biology

Computational and Systems Biology

  • Inference and simulation of gene regulatory networks – Richard Morris

Crop Genetics

Biochemistry and Metabolism

  • Molecular mechanisms of starch synthesis in plants and applications for improving crop quality – David Seung
  • Genomic variation underpinning the control of metabolism in pea – Claire Domoney
  • Genetic lockdown of root disease: improving the benefits of nitrogen-fixing crops – Sanu Arora
  • Structural biology of host – pathogen interactions – Mark Banfield

Molecular Microbiology

  • Investigating how Pseudomonas bacteria colonise plant root systems – Jacob Malone
  • Zooming in on bacterial cell division – identification and microscopic analyses of novel cell division proteins in the antibiotic producing bacteria Streptomyces – Susan Schlimpert
  • Sustainable crop protection using antibiotic-producing Streptomyces bacteria – Matt Hutchings

The Sainsbury Laboratory

  • Interactions between plants and the plant pathogen Phytophthora – Sophien Kamoun
  • Investigating plant immune receptors – Jonathan Jones
  • Understanding how fungi cause disease in plants – Nick Talbot
  • Identifying novel sources of genetic resistance to a devastating soybean pathogen – 2Blades

Earlham Institute

  • “Assessing the power of SNPs to distinguish wild and agricultural beet rust pathogens” – Mark McMullan and Helene Yvanne
  • “RNA sequencing and expression analysis to identify differential genes and pathways between contrasting conditions in crops” – Jose de Vega
  • “Combatting childhood enteric disease in Africa and Asia through computational genomics”  Neil Hall, Matt Bawn and Ross Low

What previous students had to say

“An excellent insight into the world of scientific research, which not only broadened my skillset and career aspirations but was great fun” – Alex Cook

“I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to improve and extend my scientific education and to have been able to work in a scientific environment with many influential and respected scientists. It also gave me the chance to work and socialise with 14 other students who share similar interests to me and has created many friendships” – Alice Pettitt

“The summer school made me a better scientist, and I made some amazing new friends” – Christian Harrison

“The Summer School experience, set in the incredibly positive environment of John Innes Centre, has given me an incomparable insight into research career paths and has made me even more aware of how incredibly surprising and stimulating daily lab’s life can be, interacting with scientists and students from around the world” – Luca Argirò


The International Undergraduate Summer School is supported by;