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Skills Development Award

In light of the current SARS-CoV-2 virus outbreak, the British Society for Immunology has decided to pause this grant scheme and will not be accepting any new applications until such a time when travel restrictions are lifted.  This scheme is an important part of our work to support immunologists to build their skills base; however, after carefully reviewing the situation, we feel that pausing this scheme is the responsible option at this time. We encourage researchers to use this time to connect virtually if possible and we are currently looking into options for how we can help to facilitate this type of networking - keep an eye on our news pages in the coming weeks for more details.

Please note that prior to September 2019 this award was known as the Summer Placement Award.

The BSI is offering financial support to both medical students and postgraduate students (PhDs & MScs) who are planning to undertake a formal placement in a selected laboratory for their medical elective or for a placement. To be considered for support by the BSI, you must be a BSI member and the placement must have immunological relevance.

Application Deadlines

Applications will be reviewed four times a year. The deadlines for submitting applications are as follow:

  • 1 September
  • 1 December
  • 1 March
  • 1 June

We recommend you apply for the award with the review deadline at least 4-6 weeks ahead of your placement. Further information is available in the guidelines.

Please note the outcomes of the applications will be sent via email within four weeks of the application deadline date.


Depending on the location of the placement the award is capped at the following amounts:

  • Placement overseas - £1,500
  • UK placement (outside host institution/hometown) - £1,000
  • UK placement (at host institution/hometown) - £500

As part of the application we ask for a detailed breakdown of the costs and what the award will contribute towards.

Applications for the 2019/2020 Skills Development Award are now open. 


  • Applicants must be either medical students or postgraduate students (PhDs/MScs)
  • Applicants must be current BSI members
  • Planned placements must be greater than two weeks in duration (for shorter placements, please use the standard travel award application)
  • The placement must have immunological relevance
  • As part of the submission, the applicant will be required to describe the planned placement in detail, and their enthusiasm for the subject of immunology (see application form for full details)
  • The application process will require the formal support of the applicant’s supervisor in the form of a supporting letter
  • A letter of support from your placement supervisor should also be provided as part of your application
  • The applicant will be required to provide a formal report of their activities for the BSI – this should be written in the style of an online blog within four weeks of completing the placement
  • See application form for other stipulations
  • The BSI’s decision regarding any individual application shall be final

Please read the guidelines before submitting the form

How to apply

Applicants will need to complete an application form describing the planned placement and their personal scientific interests, and include a letter of support from their current supervisor and their host placement supervisor.

Download the application form (Word)

Download the application form (Word)

Further information

Medical electives and summer placements can provide key experience for budding researchers who wish to acquire cutting-edge skills and develop laboratory experience. 


Ejaj Intisar (University of Southampton) is one such student who was supported by the BSI to carry about a summer placement (you can read about Ejaj’s experiences here). His placement supervisor Professor Wilson Wong (Boston University) had this to say:

"I would like to thank you for giving Ejaj a Summer Internship... Ejaj was hard working, incredibly smart and very driven. He made great progress beyond my expectation... All these successes would not have happened this rapidly without your fellowship..."


Mrinalina Dey (University of Cambridge) was a final year medical student who received an award to support her elective at the Centre for Life Sciences at the National University of Singapore in 2015. You can read about her experience here.


Charlotte Grant (University of Warwick) received an award to support her elective at the MRC Unit in The Gambia in 2017. You can read about her experience here