The NanoFutures Undergraduate Research Scholars Programme provides research experience in nanoscience and nanotechnology to undergraduate students who have previously only had limited exposure to research. Applicants will be selected based on their academic achievement and potential in the context of their education to date and benefit which the programme might provide.

The residential programme will run over 8 weeks at the University of Cambridge, from 4th July to 24th Aug 2022. NanoFutures Scholars will be paid at the Cambridge Living Wage, will be reimbursed travel to/from Cambridge, and will be provided with subsidised accommodation.

UPDATE (25/1/2022): We are delighted to announce that in 2022 NanoFutures Scholars will be provided accommodation free of charge at Selwyn College, Cambridge. The NanoDTC is hugely grateful to Selwyn for its support.


The aim of the NanoDTC’s new NanoFutures Scholars programme is to find and support those undergraduate students who have the potential to become the future of nanoscience and nanotechnology research—a future which we are striving to make more diverse and inclusive. The NanoFutures Scholars programme will be competitive, with both academic achievement and potential being taken into account for selection. We particularly welcome applicants who have not yet had the opportunity to demonstrate their full potential, because of particular social or personal circumstances.

Why should you apply?

Participation in the programme offers you a chance to experience postgraduate research first-hand before determining whether to pursue research as a potential career. The programme is also expected to bring other benefits to the NanoFutures Scholars, including:

  • Getting the chance to engage with inspiring staff and students at one of the most prestigious research-intensive universities in the world;
  • Learning useful skills for preparing strong postgraduate research applications, including interview skills, writing personal statements, and securing effective references;
  • Obtaining valuable research skills and experience that will enhance their CVs and strengthen their future potential postgraduate study applications.


The programme and the research internships will run for 8 weeks from Monday 4th July 2022 to Friday 24th Aug 2022. The deadline to submit your application is the 28th January 2022.


Click on the images below to explore some of the research currently being undertaken by NanoDTC PhD students:

Programme Details

The NanoFutures Scholars programme includes three main elements:

  • An internship within a research group in one of the departments related to nanoscience and nanotechnology at the University of Cambridge. Scholars will be supported within the research group through a daily supervisor (e.g. a PhD student or postdoc) and a faculty member (e.g. a professor). NanoFutures Scholars are expected to work on pairs of related projects so that they can also discuss their work with a peer;
  • Information and training on how to apply for postgraduate study, including interview skills, writing personal statements, preparing strong applications, and securing effective references;
  • Participation in a network of peers – other NanoFutures Scholars (we expect to recruit a cohort of 8 students for summer 2022) as well as current NanoDTC students and associates. The peer network will provide a weekly programme for sharing experiences, including social and extracurricular activities.

All NanoFutures Scholars will be supported by a nominated mentor as well as an overall programme tutor.


The programme is open to students currently studying for an undergraduate physical sciences degree, interpreted broadly, with at least one year left on their degree. At present only permanent residents of the UK who are studying for an undergraduate degree at a UK higher education institution are eligible to apply. Further details of the eligibility criteria are outlined in detail in the applicant guidelines (here), which we strongly recommend you read fully before applying.

In addition, in order to widen participation in the physical sciences at Cambridge, we particularly encourage applications from students who satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

  • have received free school meals;
  • at the time of applying for their undergraduate course, were living in one of the most deprived areas of the country;
  • at the time of applying for their undergraduate course, were living in an area where it is unusual for young people to go to university;
  • were the first generation of their family to go to university;
  • entered university at undergraduate level from a Care background or a Foyer resident;
  • estranged from their family;
  • have caring responsibilities for an ill or disabled family member who could not manage without this help;
  • have been a single parent, or lone guardian of a young person who is aged under 18 and/or still in full-time education during their undergraduate degree course;
  • received full state support for maintenance for their course of undergraduate study.

Further information on the above criteria, and whether or not you may satisfy them, can be found in the applicant guidelines (here).

Application Process

The application consists of:

  1. an online form (here)
  2. an application form (here) which you must email to team@nanodtc.cam.ac.uk
  3. a recent copy of your university transcript which you must email along with your application form

All parts must be completed by the application deadline of 12 noon on 28th Jan 2022. Full instructions, as well as details of the criteria by which successful candidates will be selected, are offered in the applicant guidelines (here).

If shortlisted, you will be invited to a virtual assessment event during the week beginning 21st  Feb 2022 (date to be confirmed). This will include virtual lab tours, informal chats with current PhD students and two short (c. 10 – 15 minute) interviews which will take the form of a conversation to further explore your application.