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Summer undergraduate research fellowships

Applications are closed and will open in March 2025

The RCR Summer Undergraduate Fellowships (SURF) in Clinical Oncology provide medical students with a unique opportunity to undertake a research project in the field of academic clinical oncology during their early years of study.

These prestigious awards are an excellent opportunity for medical students to bolster their CV while gaining an insight into the field of clinical oncology and the academic opportunities it provides. This will help you to gain key academic experience, including in public speaking as well as grant and academic writing, and key skills relating to data analysis, critical thinking and research governance.

You’ll also gain mentorship from senior academics and clinicians who will be able to provide you with advice and support to begin a career in academic oncology. The recipients will hold the title: RCR Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow in Clinical Oncology.


  • Each competitively-awarded SURF provides both bursary funding for the applicant and additional funding for the research project
  • Ten awards are available
  • Bursary of £1,440 each (equivalent to £180 per week) to provide expenses for a medical student to undertake a research project during the summer vacation
  • Project funding of £500 to the supervising department or laboratory to meet the costs of supporting the student including travel to the RCR to deliver a presentation on the project.


The RCR SURFs in Clinical Oncology are available to medical students enrolled in both undergraduate- and graduate-entry programmes within the UK.

  • Students should apply with a supervisor who must be a Member or Fellow of the RCR Faculty of Clinical Oncology. Prospective supervisors who are still in training should provide a letter of support from their Head of Department with the application
  • Undergraduate-entry students must be enrolled in their second, third or fourth year of study at the time of applying. (The equivalent will apply if you are undertaking a longer course; please note that those in their first or final years of study are not eligible)
  • Graduate-entry students must be enrolled in their first, second or third year of study at the time of applying.
  • Students should identify if there is any other funding available for their projects before applying. 

Guidance Notes

All applicants must read the Guidance Notes before applying. 

To apply

Applicants will need to submit:

  • A completed application form
  • Documents to be enclosed with the Application Form:
  • CV detailing your achievements at university
  • A separate letter of support from the your tutor.

Applications should be submitted to 

Assessment procedure

Applications are made in open competition and the Fellowships are awarded by the Academic Committee based on the recommendation of an assessment panel. The decision of the assessment panel is final and binding. Successful applicants will be invited to present the results of their work at an appropriate RCR event.

Enquiries should be directed to 

Previous recipients of the SURF awards

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  • “The RCR SURF programme has been a huge benefit to both my clinical and academic development. Being from a widening participation background, it is often difficult to find the rights mentors and gain insight into careers in medicine beyond what is explored on placement. Gaining lasting mentoring relationships has been invaluable and provided a new-found confidence in approaching the academic world. The research skills I have developed through the scheme have translated into my day-to-day practice, pushing me outside of my comfort zone in my approach to research. I can recommend the RCR SURF programme to any medical student who is passionate about Oncology and has a willingness to develop both clinically and academically in their current and future practice.”

    Alexander Bald2021 SURF award recipient
  • “The RCR SURF programme has been of huge benefit to my academic development over the last two years. Off the back of my research project, I have made lasting mentoring relationships that have been invaluable at each new step of my academic training. I have now authored two papers that would not have been possible without the help of the RCR SURF. Moreover, the skills I gained during my SURF have informed additional research and publications within radiation oncology, as well as fields way outside it. I would wholeheartedly recommend applying to the RCR SURF programme to any medical student who has a passion for clinical oncology, and beyond that, those with a real, tangible interest in the basic science that shapes decisions made at the bedside.”

    Joe Wilson2019 SURF award recipient

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