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.

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 7685 2698.

Applications for the 2018 scheme are now closed.

Download some guidance notes below:

Guidance - Harry Smith Vacation Studentship

Please read all the information on this page carefully before submitting an 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 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 support at a rate of £185 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 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 travel grant to present their data at the Annual Conference following the summer studentship.

Terms and conditions

Each applicant (project supervisor) may apply for sponsorship of one student candidate per round of application.

Awards are made at the discretion of the Society and the decision of the Award Panel is final.

Grants are made to the applicants’ institution on the understanding that it will administer the award. The institution is responsible for providing adequate facilities and ensuring that all necessary requirements of regulatory authorities are in place before work begins and are maintained for the duration of the grant. The project supervisor is responsible for the conduct of the research.

Studentships will not be awarded for projects that are part of degree work.

The work must take place in the summer immediately following the award.

The research project must be on a microbiological subject.

A studentship may be held in a laboratory away from the normal place of study, but it must be located in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

Once an award has been offered, it cannot be transferred to another student.

A brief report and financial statement must be provided within three months of completion of the project.

By accepting a grant, recipients give their approval for the Society to use this and related information in publicity and marketing communications.

If the project is not completed or if consumables funds are not used, excess funds should be repaid.

Application process

Applications must be made on the appropriate form.

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

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

Administration of awards

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.