The Sanger Prize

About the Prize

The Sanger Prize is an outreach competition aimed at undergraduate students who live and study in low or middle income countries.

The prize was set up in 2002 after John Sulston, Sydney Brenner and Robert Horvitz won a Nobel Prize for their work on C.elegans. John Sulston wanted to donate his part of the prize money to a charitable trust to be administered by the Sanger Institute and he appointed a Board of Trustees who decided that the money should be used to fund an annual essay competition to benefit students who would otherwise not have access to the facilities the institute has to offer.

The winner of the competition is invited to spend three months at the Institute working in a lab of their choice, hosted by a member of the Sanger Faculty. All of their essential travel, living and training expenses are paid for by the fund, and support and mentorship is given by the Institute, both from the scientific programme they work with and the team who administer the fund.

How to apply

Further information about applying for the prize can be found here.

Please note that the prize will be launched in the middle of November each year, please keep an eye out on this webpage for further information.


This experience opens the door to many opportunities for the student, as well as giving them the chance to experience life in Cambridge and the UK which many of them wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do.

Many of the students have returned to the UK after they have graduated to do post graduate studies and often cite the contacts they have made during their experience with the Sanger Prize as instrumental in helping them achieve this.

“The outstanding and unparalleled research environment at the Wellcome Sanger Institute is highly conducive for scientific progress. Working here as a Sanger Prize winner allowed me to be a part of this atmosphere and I also got immense opportunities to connect with world leading scientists from diverse fields of biomedicine. The perfect blend of experimental and genomic approach for solving scientific questions has provided me with new perspectives which I believe will help me lifelong in my scientific endeavours. At the same time living in the majestic city of Cambridge for 12 weeks adds up to this wonderful experience.”

Sushovan Dan, Sanger Prize Winner 2013 – Internship spent with Trevor Lawley 


“Winning the Sanger Prize changed my life. Everything started with an engaging application process that stimulates your scientific thinking from the very beginning, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your passion for genomic sciences. A few months after I decided to apply, I found myself in a magical moment: I heard from the Wellcome Sanger Institute that I had won the Sanger Prize Competition! Being awarded this outstanding prize allowed me to travel to the UK and to undertake cutting-edge research within an enriching scientific atmosphere. The Institute was extremely supportive and always provided me with the best guidance throughout the whole process. During my 3-month internship I worked with Dr. Sarah Teichmann and her team to understand how the adaptive immunity develops a response against SARS-CoV-2 from the moment that an individual gets infected. I lived in the lovely town of Saffron Walden and had enjoyable trips to Cambridge and London, having an incredible experience in these historical cities. I am profoundly grateful to the Wellcome Sanger Institute for launching the Sanger Prize Competition and enabling students from low and middle-income countries to have this phenomenal research experience. Thanks to the opportunity that I had at the Institute, now I am sorting everything out to return to the UK in October and start my new position as a bioinformatician within Dr. David Adams’ group!”

Jacqueline Marcia Boccacino, Sanger Prize Winner 2021 – Internship spent with Sarah Teichmann

Previous Sanger Prize winners

The prize has grown in popularity and so far we have had 16 winners from 11 different countries.

Anna Protasio Uruguay
Rodrigo Espinosa Mexico
Feichen Shen China
Laura Romanelli Uruguay
Sushovan Dam India
Edyth Parker South Africa
Bridgious Walusimbi Uganda
Leizel Tamon Philippines
Kwabena Owusu-Boateng Ghana
Ryan Yu Philippines
Andrea Ong Philippines
Sophia Hernandez Philippines
Maliha Chowdhury Bangladesh
Ana Ribeiro-Orsi Brazil
Boluwatife Adewale Nigeria


The email contact for the Sanger Prize is

Charity Information

The Sanger Prize is registered with the Charity Commission – Number 1091349.