Postdoctoral Fellow Programme

Postdocs at Sanger are Early Career Researchers (ECRs) that push the boundaries of science, driving our world-leading research further than ever before, while training to be the next generation of Leaders in genomic research, and beyond. Read on to explore:

  • What research can Postdocs do at Sanger?
  • Why join Sanger as a Postdoc?
  • What does the Postdoctoral Fellowship Development Programme offer?
  • Meet some past and present Sanger Postdocs
  • How can you become a Postdoc at Sanger?
  • Working on the Wellcome Genome Campus
  • Contact information

What research can Postdocs do at Sanger? 

Sanger science is organised into five Scientific Programmes, each defining a major area of research with a particular biological, disease or analytic focus:

In all cases, the studies provide insights into human, pathogen, cellular evolution, the phenotypic and hence biological consequences of genome variation and the processes which cause mutations. The vast majority of Postdocs are based within these five Programmes, but some lead projects within the Pipeline Groups based within Sanger’s vast Scientific Operations team, and have also led social science research projects within Wellcome Connecting Science.

Read more about our five scientific programmes here or download Sanger’s ‘Expanding horizons of science and knowledge – Highlights 2021/22’ for further inspiration on the science you could contribute to delivering at Sanger.


EMBL-EBI-Sanger postdoctoral fellowships

The EMBL-EBI–Sanger Postdoctoral (ESPOD) Programme builds on the collaborative relationship between EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, offering projects that combine experimental (wet-lab) and computational (dry-lab) approaches.

Both institutions are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus: their proximity fosters great opportunities for close collaborations. Our researchers have easy access to scientific expertise, well-equipped facilities and an active seminar programme.

Position: EMBL-EBI/Sanger postdoctoral fellowship (ESPOD)

Duration: 36 months

Funding: EMBL stipend rates

Application open: There will be no competition in 2023 and we intend to open the call again in September 2024

Interviews: To be announced

Application process

  • A cover letter specifying the project you are applying for (pre-defined or proposed by the applicant)
  • Your Curriculum Vitae
  • Two recent letters of reference
  • All applications for predefined projects should be submitted through the EMBL jobs page.

Self-proposed project applications, including a project description (maximum: 1000 words), a CV, and either two letters of recommendation or the names of two referees, may be submitted via e-mail:

Why choose Sanger for your Postdoc?

Postdocs joining Sanger become part of a rewarding and vibrant research community.

Postdocs receive the same employee benefits as other Sanger employees, with the Postdoc pay scale currently ranging from £35,707-£48,256 dependent upon experience. Postdocs also gain access to the Postdoc-specific offered by Sanger’s dedicated Postdoc Programme (see below). Further, many Research Groups and Scientific Programmes run their own seminar series, retreats and other activities.

Regarding funding, Sanger receives generous core funding from the Wellcome Trust, which covers the research agendas of our Faculty, Pipeline Groups and Wellcome Connecting Science. Most Postdoc roles are funded via this core funding, which typically covers salary, research costs, relevant training and conference attendance. However, we also welcome Postdocs with their own third party funding (and support our current Postdocs to apply!), recognising the importance of this in building a track record that will further Postdocs’ careers.

Core funding makes Sanger less dependent upon third party funding than, for example, some University groups, affording our Faculty and our Postdocs greater freedom to:

  • Be curious
  • React to emerging ideas and technologies
  • Recruit the specific talent required to drive and deliver new innovations

Our unique funding position also allows Postdocs to operate at a scale unrivalled by most other academic research hosts. As a Sanger Postdoc, you can aim higher, and achieve more. Our bioinformatics Postdocs, for example, are able to work on huge datasets, supported by approximately 30,000 high-performance compute cores and 84Pb of usable storage. Postdocs can also accelerate their research by leveraging the in-house services provided by the Pipeline groups based within its Scientific Operations team who in 2021-2022:

  • Created 287 gene-edited cell lines
  • Read the equivalent of one gold-standard (30x) human genome every 3.2 mins
  • Sequenced the genomes of 1,551 species.

Being self-contained within a single Campus location (see below) also means that all of Sanger’s management operations teams – such as the Grants Office, the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Team, the Outreach and Public Engagement Teams at Wellcome Connecting Science, and more, are just a short walk away. All offer support, training and activities for the Postdoc Community – for example, Start-up School – at no cost to researchers or their Supervisors.

You can read more about Life at Sanger, including the general Employee Benefits, available here.

What does the Postdoctoral Fellowship Development Programme offer?

In addition to the general Employee Benefits offered by Sanger, Postdocs can access rich benefits tailored to the Postdoc career stage through the Postdoctoral Fellowship Development Programme.

To find out more about the Programme and what we provide for our Postdoctoral Fellows, please see the interactive brochure below or click on this link to download our Postdoc Programme PDF document.

How can I become a Postdoc at the Sanger Institute?

1.    Open calls Apply for an open position to work on specific projects Open positions in our Faculty and Scientific Operations teams are listed on our recruitment site.

Click here to view our latest Postdoc vacancies.

2.    Sanger Fellowships (eligibility criteria may apply) Apply for a Sanger (or Partner) Fellowship e.g.:

·      The Janet Thornton Fellowship

·      The Sanger Excellence Fellowship

·      EMBL-EBI-Sanger Postdoctoral (ESPOD) Fellowship Scheme

These fellowships often have specific eligibility criteria. Calls vary between those to work on specific projects and those where you can co-develop a project tailored to you with a member of Faculty.

Calls can generally also be found on our vacancies page.

3.    Direct Approach Make a direct approach to a member of Faculty and suggest a project that combines each of your knowledge and expertise and drives progress towards Sanger’s vision. Sanger’s core funding gives Faculty to freedom to craft ad-hoc Postdoc projects if they are approached by qualified individuals with proposals that will further their research ambitions.

Such roles do not necessarily have to be advertised in an open call, but projects must satisfy Sanger’s vision and the Postdoc will still be required to undergo a formal interview.

You are encouraged to approach our Faculty at conferences or via email.

4.    Bring your own third party funding Secure research funding (e.g. a Fellowship) from a third party such as a research funder or private source. Sanger welcomes Postdocs with third party funding so long as a member of Sanger Faculty agrees to host them and their project contributes to Sanger’s vision.

If you are thinking about applying for third party funding to undertake a project at Sanger, you must secure a Faculty host before you submit your funding application.

Approximately two thirds of the Postdoc community are non-British. Their transition to working in the UK is supported by a talented in-house Global Mobility & Immigration Service – you can read more about the support available here.

Working on the Wellcome Genome Campus

Sanger is located on the Wellcome Genome Campus, home to a number of the world’s foremost institutes and organisations for genomics and computational biology. The Campus brings together a diverse and exceptional scientific community in a culture and environment that fosters creativity and rewards bold, ambitious thinking. The EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), Biodata Innovation Centre (home to numerous innovative genomics and biodata companies), and Hinxton Hall Conference Centre are all co-located on the Campus.

The Campus is approximately 10 miles south of Cambridge city centre and is served by free coach and shuttle bus services throughout the day connecting it with Cambridge, local villages and train stations in Cambridge, Whittlesford and Great Chesterford. There is also:

  • Plenty of free parking for those travelling from other locations
  • A Campus nursery for staff with young children
  • A gym, other fitness facilities and a sports & social committee
  • A restaurant and cafes
  • Amazon lockers
  • Beautiful walks, including through a wetland area.

Planning permission was granted in 2020 to expand the Campus providing many new facilities – including additional research facilities, social spaces, a primary school and staff accommodation – that will enhance the current offer and deliver opportunities for new activities, research and commercial endeavours.

You can read more about the wider Genome Camus here, and its ambitious and exciting expansion plans here.


Wellcome Sanger Institute

Do you have questions?

For questions about recruitment, please contact: