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Leverhulme Centre for Life in the Universe


The Leverhulme Centre for Life in the Universe is committed to widening participation in postgraduate students at the University of Cambridge. Research within the Centre aims to develop a deeper understanding of life, its emergence, and its distribution in the Universe by addressing four questions:

                    What are the chemical pathways which led to the origins of life that are compatible with benign conditions for life in different planetary environments?

                    How do we characterise the environments on Earth and other planets that could act as the cradle of prebiotic chemistry and life?

                    What observational facilities and methods will allow investigation of bodies beyond the Solar System, the remote sensing of their atmospheres and the search for signatures of geological and biological evolution?

                    How can philosophical and mathematical concepts refine our understanding of what we mean by life, leading to new interdisciplinary collaborations and modes of scientific enquiry?

We are offering 8-week paid research internships to undergraduates currently studying science from underrepresented groups, who wish to consider a research career within the field of Life in the Universe.

We particularly welcome applications from:

  • Undergraduates who are Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME)
  • Undergraduates who are in the first generation of their family to go to university
  • Undergraduates who have been in care or who have been a young carer
  • Undergraduates from a low-income background

The programme in 2023 will run from Monday 10th July until Friday 1st September.

Interns will be invited to take part in additional events including training on how to apply for postgraduate courses and scientific lectures and seminars.

Interns will be paid the Real Living Wage for an 8-week internship, working 35 hours per week, which for 2023 is £332.50 per week.  Accommodation will be provided free of charge in Kings college. Intern’s research lab will be allocated £500 to contribute to laboratory expenses.

Successful LCLU summer interns will be automatically entitled to a LCLU PhD studentship interview for entry in 2024.


Eligibility criteria:

Students must meet all of the eligibility requirements listed below to apply for a LCLU internships:

The programme is targeted at UK and Republic of Ireland residents who are studying at a UK or Republic of Ireland university for their undergraduate bachelor degree. This does not include international students on Tier 4/Student visas or EU citizens with pre-settled status. 

Be undertaking their first undergraduate degree studies (or integrated Masters). Note: students in their final year who have graduated and no longer have student status at the time the placement starts are not eligible. If the student meets the eligibility criteria (i.e., has student status) at the beginning of the placement, we would consider the eligibility criteria to be met even if the student graduates during the course of the placement.


In order to be considered for an internship, please apply to by 8th May 2023.

In your email please provide your: (a) full Name, (c) email, (d) home address, (e) nationality including confirmation of right to work in UK, (f) current academic course and expected graduation date, (g) project(s) for which you wish to apply; if more than one is indicated please list these in priority order.

CV (no more than 2 pages). CV should include a list of grades for all University courses taken. 

A personal statement: (i) giving your reasons for applying for this internship; and (ii) explaining how you would benefit from this research experience (maximum words 300).

One academic reference (no more than one page) emailed to by the closing date.

Complete the online EDI form (This form is a mandatory part of the application process, but contains ‘prefer not to say’ options for all questions asked). The form will be viewed by LCLU management only and will not be forwarded to supervisors.