Harry Smith Vacation Studentships

The Society offers a limited number of awards to enable undergraduates to work on microbiological research projects during the summer vacation. Applications must be made by the project supervisor on behalf of a named student.

In 2019, 50% of applicants were successful in receiving studentship funds. 

Key details
Maximum award: £2720
Deadlines: 17 February
Eligible membership categories: Full and Full Concessionary Members
Minimum membership: two consecutive membership subscription payments required

These awards have been named for Professor Harry Smith (1921-2011), Society President 1975-1978, in honour of his well-known support of microbiologists and microbiology students at the start of their careers.

Enquiries about this scheme should be made by email to grants@microbiologysociety.org or by phone: +44 (0)20 3034 4882.

Applications for the 2020 scheme are now closed.

New for 2020: partnership with the Lister Institute

In 2020 we will offer up to five studentships of up to £3000 in partnership with the Lister Institute. These studentships should take a new, interdisciplinary approach to tackling antimicrobial resistance. To apply for the AMR studentship please note this in the project description when applying as usual via the grants portal. Standard application rules and criteria apply. Applications with a clear interdisciplinary approach will be prioritised.

Download some guidance notes below:

Harry Smith Vacation Studentship Guidance

Please read all the information on this page carefully and ensure you have read and agreed to the grants terms and conditions before submitting and application. 


Full or Full Concessionary Members of the Society working in a Higher Education Institution, research institute or Small- or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME - as defined by Companies House) in the UK or Republic of Ireland. Applicants will act as the project supervisor and should be PhD qualified or hold a senior research or academic position. A minimum membership period of one year (two consecutive subscription payments) applies.

Applications must be made on behalf of a named student. The student must be registered for their degree at an institution in the UK or Republic of Ireland. Students may be undertaking an undergraduate degree in any area of biosciences or medical, dental or veterinary science. Students should have completed a minimum of two years of study on the programme, but not have started their final year at the time they take up the studentship.

This scheme does not support members of iGEM teams to undertake their iGEM project.

What is covered by the grant?

The studentships provide a stipend of £290 per week for a period of up to eight weeks (minimum six weeks). An additional sum of up to £400 for specific research costs may also be awarded.

Successful students will be offered free Undergraduate Student Membership for 12 months after completion of the studentship, as well as the chance to apply for a conference attendance bursary to present their data at the Annual Conference or the ECM Forum Summer Conference following the summer studentship.

Application process

Applications should be made online via Mi Society. All required supplementary material should be provided at the point of application. Full expected costs of the project should be given in the appropriate part of the application.

Award criteria

Awards are made by competition. Applications are reviewed by at least two referees and funding decisions are made by an Award Panel comprised of members of the Professional Development Committee, and are based on the reports of the referees. Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Scientific merit of the work and feasibility of the research as an undergraduate project
  • Educational value for the student
  • Suitability of the student candidate to undertake the proposed work

Download the scoring criteria below:

Harry Smith Vacation Studentship scoring criteria


Administration of awards

Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome of their application within two months of the closing date.

Applicants will be notified of an awarded grant via email. The grant award will also be displayed on the Mi Society account under ‘Grant History’.

To claim a grant, successful applicants should log into Mi Society, and upload evidence of the claim (this can be receipts or invoices, and evidence of attendance) when completing the grant claim form.

Awarded funds will be paid to the institution’s nominated account by bank transfer within one month of payment details being received by the Grants Office. Any errors in provided details may result in a delay in payment.