Summer Studentships and Fellowships

 The Animal Free Research UK Summer Studentship & Fellowship schemes have been established to assist undergraduate or recently graduated students in gaining practical animal-replacement research experience by working in a laboratory environment.


The Summer Fellowships have been made possible through the immense generosity of Alan & Kathie Stross. Alan and Kathie were both dedicated supporters of Animal Free Research UK and believed that medical research should continue without the use of animals.

Summer Studentships are open to students who have not yet finished their undergraduate degree and are 8 weeks long. However, students must have completed at least two years of study before the start of their studentship. Fellowships are for individuals to undertake shortly after the completion of their undergraduate degree and last 12 weeks. Students and fellows are paid a stipend for the duration of their project.


These short summer projects are a great way to get students to begin their research careers. They also allow students the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how to conduct animal-free research. Former students have found that these short projects influence their career decisions and encourage them to pursue non-animal based research careers. You can read about our 2017 Summer Students and their projects below.

Former student testimonials

“Working with non-animal approaches to leukaemia research was rewarding and highly motivating and gives me hope for the future in creating many more human methods rather than using animals in research.”  Rachel Henderson
“The Summer Studentship Scheme gave me a taste for research and greatly improved my confidence! I was able to learn and improve a range of skills, and it was nice to feel that the work I was doing was supporting a good cause.” – Lauren Richardson
“I have become far more aware of how non-animal approaches can be used and are technically feasible. This studentship will help in my final year project and will open so many doors for me in research in the future.” – Joy Girgis

How can I apply?

For further information about the grants and how to apply, please head to our ‘for researchers’ pages.

How can I support a Summer Student?

“Summer Studentships are a fantastic opportunity to enable a student to gain valuable research experience. By training young people to think about research without animals, we can influence best practice in our future scientific leaders.” – Dr Helen Wheadon

Make a donation


Our work is funded entirely by your generous support. Your donation can help start the careers of promising young students and contribute to developing some of the most advanced and successful human-related techniques in many areas of medical research. Help us help the next generation of scientists start their careers without using animals.


The average cost of a Summer Studentship is £1,940. If you would like to sponsor a Summer Student, please get in touch.

Summer Studentship Projects 2017

Cell culture model of osteoarthritis to replace guinea pigs, rats and rabbits

Alexander Lanz, at the University of Sheffield, will be developing a cell culture model of osteoarthritis, to replace current experiments on guinea pigs, rats and rabbits.

Switching to human stem cells to study leukaemia

Rachel Henderson at the University of Glasgow conducted human-relevant research into leukaemia, without harming any mice.

Pinning down the proteins of Parkinson’s disease

Lauren Richardson from Nottingham Trent University researched Parkinson’s disease using advanced cell culture and proteomics (the study of the proteins of a cell). This will help to replace the use of primates, rats or mice.

Breath of fresh air for lung disease

Joy Girgis at the University of Hertfordshire used human cell culture to develop novel testing methods in lung disease studies to replace rodent studies.

Modelling stroke and heart disease in cadavers to replace pigs

Using Thiel-embalmed cadavers at the University of Dundee, Emma-Jane Macrae has developed a ‘clot model’ to train doctors in treating stroke and heart diseases, without using pigs.

Characterisation of a novel organotypic skin culture model

Shreya Asher will be working at Queen Mary University of London on a skin cell culture model to better understand skin cancer without having to conduct any experiments on mice.

Creation of a 3D gastrointestinal culture model to study the influence of commensal bacterial on gut growth and differentiation

At Sheffield Hallam University, Oana Voloaca will use a novel gut tissue model to investigate the influence of bacteria in gastrointestinal diseases such as crohn’s disease to replace studies in rats.

Prediction of Cytochrome P450 2D6 interaction from atomic structure

Taleen Shakouri from the University of Hertfordshire, will be developing a computer model of certain toxicology tests which has the potential to replace many experiments currently conducted on primates and mice. Project sponsored by Raj Saubhag.

Building an adipose-rich tumour microenvironment model to study fat-cancer cross-talk

A cell culture model will allow Evie Gruszyk at Sheffield Hallam University an opportunity to understand colorectal cancer without the need to use mice.

Using CRISPR-Cas9 to correct mutations in hiPSC from patients with schizophrenia who have mutations in DLG2

Edward Nendick at the University of Edinburgh will be using one of the latest cutting edge, gene editing technologies, CRISPR-Cas9, in cell culture to further our understanding of schizophrenia without using mice.

Refining an all-human model for Atopic Dermatitis

Using explant cell culture to replace mice studies, Bronte Munro at the University of East Anglia will investigate the causes of atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.

Characterization of cancer stem cell sub-populations in melanoma

Stephanie Lunt will be working at Queen Mary University of London using patient cancer samples to identify biomarkers in skin cancer (melanoma) to help replace the use of mice.

Pasta la vista: a potential biomaterial for regenerative medicine

Joanitta Akpai from the University of Hertfordshire will be working on developing novel biomaterials from pasta to create 3D cell culture models to help to replace the use of rodents in vascular disease and cancer research.

The role of skin structure in protecting against pressure ulcers

At Imperial College London, Sergi Fayos Villalta will be doing a computational modelling project looking at the development of pressure ulcers and soft tissue damage to replace the use of mice and rats. Project sponsored by Raj Saubhag.

Evaluation of the quantity and quality of RNA extracted from formalin fixed paraffin embedded prostate cancer tissue samples

To replace the use of many animals in prostate cancer research and testing, Diliany Oliveira from the University of Portsmouth will be developing a non-animal based screening tool to detect cancer biomarkers.

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