Undergraduate initiatives

Developing a Clinical Academic Career

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has worked with with Health Education England (HEE) to create a short informative animated video about research opportunities available as part of the Clinical Academic Career pathway, including the new ICA programme.

Developing a Clinical Academic Career


  • Find out more about the Integrated Academic Training Programme at Birmingham. 

Intercalated Degrees

As a medical or dental student, you may choose to take a year out from your medical / dental course and study on one of our intercalated Bachelor in Medical Science degree programmes.

Reasons for intercalating

  • To get in depth scientific training in an area already of interest to you and develop practical research and analysis skills within that discipline.
  • To develop and conduct your own research (which may lead to publication)
  • To get an additional qualification of relevance to your future career.
  • To broaden your medical interests into an area outside the undergraduate curriculum or to take your interest to a higher level than can be covered within core curricula.
  • To develop and enhance transferable skills such as writing, project management, presentation skills, argument development and debating skills.
  • To study with students from outside a clinical medicine background (some programmes only)
  • As an intellectual challenge 

Funding for intercalating

Sir Arthur Thomson Trust Intercalating Bursaries

Award outline: The Trust wishes to support talented medical (and dental )students and will provide funding for up to 9 bursaries , each of £4000, to the most able students whom the programme expects are likely to appreciate the value of the research ethos which arises from an extended, in-depth study of a scientific discipline.  At least two of the awards are restricted to laboratory-based disciplines. The bursaries will be for one academic year of full-time study in a research environment in the University of Birmingham.

Further details, conditions of the award and how to apply

Conference Fund for Clinical Students

Supported by the Sir Arthur Thomson Trust, this fund has been established to assist undergraduate clinical students (MBChB and BDS) to attend national and international conferences when presenting their own research. Money is available towards registration fees, travel and accommodation.

2020 closing dates are Friday 13th March and Friday 18th September 2020.

2020 Application Form [pdf 47kb]

Students may submit applications retrospectively if a decision has been made to attend a conference which does not enable application prior to attendance.

Vacation and Elective Scholarships

Vacation and Elective Scholarships offer an early taste of life in research. There are a number of national funding bodies that award both Vacation and Elective Studentships.

Vacation Grants

These schemes give students the chance to work full time on their own research project for a period of 8 weeks over their holidays providing undergraduates with a glimpse of life in a research environment. The experience can be very rewarding, enabling students to sample the joys and frustrations of research.

The Sir Arthur Thomson Charitable Trust Vacation Studentship is a University based, locally funded scheme for Birmingham students. The Trust will support the award of studentships to candidates who are considered able and who would be expected to benefit from undertaking a research project - for full details please refer to the Terms & Conditions [pdf347kb].

Students will be expected to contact a supervisor and submit an application. Host supervisors can either be members of the University of Birmingham or from another institution.

The applications will be assessed and awarded by a panel of senior staff with knowledge of both the programme and the students. Preference will be given to research projects with a clearly defined objective, achievable in the time available, and those which give the student scope for thought and initiative. However the criteria by which the grants will be awarded will be flexible to encourage all forms of research.

Students from both the 5 year MBChB and the graduate entry MBChB course will be eligible to apply for the grant.

The deadline for applications for 2020 is Monday 6th April 2020.

The 2020 Application Form can be downloaded here [pdf 50kb].


Student Development Scholarships

There are two awards available to apply for as part of this scheme - the more generic Student Development Scholarships or the Graduate Travel Scholarships. You can only apply for one of these awards and the eligibility criteria will vary depanding on which award you choose:

The Student Development Scholarships are open to full-time registered students of the University undertaking worthwhile and original vacation projects (in the UK or abroad), which do not constitute an examinable part of their degree programme. The project or activity can be outside the applicant's own specific discipline, can be for academic or cultural purposes and should demonstrate originality and bring credit to the University. Applicants should also demonstrate academic excellence and fully describe and justify the nature of their project. This award is not available to students funded by research council awards.

The Graduate Travel Scholarships aim to meet the expenses, in whole or in part, of University of Birmingham graduates travelling abroad for the purposes of study. The scheme is open to those undertaking study abroad within a period of three years after receiving a first degree from the University. First degree students in their final year at the University may also apply. The award is not intended to fund elective studies.

Further information about the schemes, including the application criteria can be found here.

Elective Grants

Sir Arthur Thomson Bursaries for MBChB Elective Study

Award outline:  The Trust will offer up to 4 awards, each of £500, to eligible students who have demonstrated their ability in the earlier parts of the programme and have planned a high quality research project.  A talented student will be expected to have a broad perspective, a detailed knowledge of the specific area of their study, and have clear ideas of how they will achieve their objectives. The elective period is 6 weeks and the student should spend at least 4 weeks on the project.  Projects which give rise to quantitative data are strongly preferred over those leading to reflective reports.

The allocation of awards will be overseen by the academic lead for the elective programme.                         

Further details, conditions of the award and how to apply click here.

Sir Arthur Thomson Bursaries for BDS Elective Study

Further details, conditions of the award and how to apply

A comprehensive list of elective grants and prizes can be found at http://www.revise4finals.co.uk/medicine/abroad/funding.php