Essay competitions, awards and prizes

If you have a flair for essay writing, then look out for competitions run by the Royal Colleges and many other professional medical associations, usually to encourage interest in their specialty. Closing dates for submission fall throughout the year so keep your eyes open!

Some organisations that run competitions include:

  • British Association of Dermatologists
  • British Association of Forensic Medicine
  • General Medical Council
  • Medical Women’s Federation
  • Pain Relief Foundation
  • Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • Royal College of Ophthalmologists
  • Royal College of Pathologists
  • Royal College of General Practitioners
  • Royal College of Radiologists
  • Royal Society of Medicine (for members only, costs £25 a year to join)
  • Institute of Medical Ethics (for F1 & F2 UK doctors)

Project Funding

Some organisations and Trusts offer funding for research projects, vacation research work experience and intercalated degree year research. We’ve compiled a list of these, again it isn’t exhaustive so we do encourage further research.

Some of these applications may require a supporting statement from a member of academic staff. Check criteria carefully before applying.

The Biochemical Society

Grants are available for stipends of £200 per week for 6 – 8 weeks, and up to £1,600 in total, to support a summer placement in a lab for an undergraduate student. Applications must be made on behalf of and in association with a named student.

Email: [email protected]

British Association of Dermatologists

The British Association of Dermatologists offer a range of awards between £250 and £3,000 towards fees and living expenses for an intercalated year project related to dermatology and skin biology. It also offers £500 undergraduate project grants.

Email: [email protected]

Association for the Study of Medical Education

The Association for the Study of Medical Education offers awards related to the development of excellent medical education. Applications are welcomed from anyone on the continuum of medical education (UG, PG or qualified and studying professional development) and will be assessed against their criteria. They also have a number of other essay prizes available and awards so it is worth researching their website.

Tel: 0131 225 9111
Email: [email protected]

The Genetics Society

The Genetics Society Summer Studentship scheme offers grants of up to £3,000 for undergraduate students interested in gaining research experience in any area of genetics by carrying out a research project over the long vacation (more information). They also have a range of competitions and awards that you can look into on their website.

Email: [email protected]

The Institute of Medical Ethics

The Institute of Medical Ethics (IME) offers grants, student elective bursaries, and scholarships (covering the next academic year) for students wishing to do an intercalated degree in medical ethics or an allied subject.


The Physiological Society

Vacation Studentships offer undergraduates the opportunity to undertake a research project on an area of physiology over their summer break. Working under an academic supervisor, they can get to experience day-to-day life in the laboratory first-hand. Funding of £150 a week, to cover living costs, is on offer for up to eight weeks.

Email: [email protected]

The Pathological Society

Funding for students wanting to intercalate a BSc in Pathology but who do not have LEA or other government support. Also offer awards to fund electives and vacation studies in pathology.


The Paget’s Association

The Paget’s Association awards Student Research Bursaries of up to £6,000 to promising UK medical or science students (MRes, MSc, BSc or equivalent higher degree) to pursue research into any aspects of Paget’s Disease of Bone.

Tel: 0161 799 4646

Other resources

The list above is not exhaustive so we do encourage further research.

A good place to start is RD Learning, a database of health-related research funding opportunities.

Please contact us if you notice any broken links, of any other funding opportunities or if any options are no longer running.