Year in industry.

The Earlham Institute (EI) is a research institute focused on exploring living systems by applying computational science and biotechnology to answer ambitious biological questions and generate enabling resources.

Each academic year we welcome up to two undergraduate students to join us for a placement. Our placements are open to science undergraduate students, see further details under our eligibility criteria. We offer different routes for students based on their research interests, preferred skills development and academic requirements of the student’s university.*

Our students spend their induction period getting to know everyone and everything at the institute. There will be plenty of opportunities to discuss potential projects with members of our staff. This way, students are exposed to the organisational structure, how different groups interact and, most importantly, get to know everyone along the way to feel truly embedded within the institute.

Following completion of the initial weeks at the institute, the students then follow their chosen placement path within one of EI's research faculty groups*.

Placements depend upon the selection of the projects available at placement commencement. At least one of the projects will be a Research and Development project as a collaboration between one of the Research Faculty groups and our Genomics Pipelines group, involving technical and/or protocol development. The composition of the other faculty research project will depend upon the selection of projects available at placement commencement. These projects may focus entirely on computational methods of data analysis, or they may include laboratory work developing innovative methods to address a specific biological question, spanning from experimental design, protocol optimisation, and leading to data analysis.

*It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the placement type applied for meets the academic requirements criteria as set out in their university’s handbook.

Find out more first-hand from our previous Year in Industry students:

Applications for the academic year 2021/22 are now closed. If you are interested in the 2022/23 academic year, please email to register your interest.

Emily Angiolini

Emily Angiolini
Scientific Training and Education Team Manager

Roanne Ephithite

Roanne Ephithite
Events Manager

Example Project.

Bioproduction of novel high-value products

Nicola Patron Group


Synthetic biology has demonstrated that biological organisms can be re-programmed to produce high-value proteins and chemicals from simple, sustainable feedstocks, providing a viable alternative to chemical synthesis and petroleum-powered manufacturing. Photosynthetic organisms are particularly attractive, mainly requiring just water and light; plants have been shown to be capable of efficient expression of proteins and secondary metabolites, including those used in medicines, in just a few days. Nicotiana benthamiana, a relative of tobacco from Northern Australia, is highly valued as a platform for rapid gene expression. It is widely used for transient expression using a technique known as agroinfiltration. The student will have the opportunity to work on projects that aim to produce high-value proteins and metabolites. They will learn how to design and assemble genetic constructs and deliver them to plants using agroinfiltration mediated delivery. They will also learn several different methods for detecting and analysing the products.


Open to UK undergraduate students only. We accept applications from students studying one of the following disciplines:

  • Biological sciences
  • Natural sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Computer science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

You should be enrolled in a degree programme with a placement year. We encourage applications from those enrolled in an integrated Masters with industrial placement, a degree with a year in industry programme, or a degree programme that offers an optional year out. Your placement should form the final year if following an integrated Masters, or fall between penultimate and final years of your undergraduate degree. This programme is not available to those currently studying in first year.

How it works.

  • Applications will open in October
  • Interviews held in December and positions offered shortly after
  • Contracts finalised in July
  • Successful candidates will be paid a stipend, which is currently set for the academic year 2020/21 at £13,770 p.a.
  • Placements commence early September
  • Students split into research project groups in early October
  • Presentation to EI staff at end of placement (August)
  • Report on progress
  • 12 months post placement feedback
  • 5 years post placement feedback


Applications for the academic year 2021/22 are now closed. If you are interested in the 2022/23 academic year, please email to register your interest. Applications will likely require a personal statement and an up-to-date CV, but specific details may be updated.

Your CV should include (but is not limited to): educational history and results, work experience, extra curricular activities and transferable skills, awards, contact details of at least 2 referees.

Your personal statement should be a maximum of one side of A4. Within the personal statement, you should cover the following points:

    1. Why do you want to undertake a research placement, specifically at Earlham Institute?
    2. Describe how you meet the following essential skills (you should refer to any specific experiences, such as paid work, work experience or extracurricular activities, which have helped you develop these skills):
      • Problem solving
      • Independent, self-directed learning
      • Communication
    3. Describe a person or experience that has inspired you to pursue an education/career in science.
    Year in industry - apply