The Sanger Prize Competition 2021

The prize

The winner of the Sanger Institute Prize will be offered a three-month internship with a research group at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Travel, living and research expenses are all covered by the award.


To be eligible to apply for the Sanger Prize applicants must meet all of the criteria below:

  • Be from a low or middle income country (a full list of eligible countries is available below).
  • Be studying an undergraduate degree relevant to genomics at a University/Institute in a low/middle income country at the time of the first stage application. This could include any biological science degree, bioinformatics or any degree which includes genomics as a large part of the content.
  • Demonstrate an active interest in research in the genomics field
  • Have a good command of English (demonstrated by the clear writing within the application form, no certificate of English is required).
  • Be over 18 at the time of applying

Applicants who do not meet all of the above criteria will not be considered for the second stage of the competition.

Application process

The 2021 competition will be run as a two-stage process. Please read all of the information below before clicking on the link to the form.

Stage one - Expression of interest

Submissions for the Sanger Prize Competition closed at 5pm UK GMT, Friday 11th December 2020. Entries received after this time will not be accepted.

First stage applicants needed to complete a short application form and write an expression of interest detailing their scientific interests, their interests in genomics and why they want to come to the Sanger Institute.

Two academic references are also required at this stage. Academic references should ideally be from the University or Institute which the applicant is currently studying at and at least one of them should include the university tutor or supervisor from the genomics degree course. Contacts details for the referees will be required when completing the form and the referees will then be emailed with a form for them to complete which will then be emailed directly to the Sanger Prize Committee. Applications will not be accepted without two complete references so applicants should chose references who are available to supply a reference and ensure, to the best of their ability that the reference is submitted on time. Due to the large number of applications received we cannot review any applications which do not have the full set of references.

The Institute is not responsible for applications which are not received in time due to last minute technical issues. There will be no technical support available on the 11th December.

The deadline for references is Friday 18th December 2020.

Only applications which meet the criteria listed above and have two references submitted by the deadline will be accepted and reviewed.

The link to the online form is

Successful applicants will be informed of the results of this stage at the beginning of February 2021 and be invited to take part in the second stage of the competition.

If you have not had a response by the 28th February 2021 please assume that your application has been unsuccessful this time. Due to the high number of applications received we do not contact unsuccessful applicants to inform them of the decision.

Stage two - Essay

Successful candidates will then be asked to take part in stage two of the process, which is to write an essay with a given title. Details of this stage will be emailed to the candidates at the beginning of February 2021 and they will be given one month to complete the essay.

The judges’ decision will be communicated by the middle of May 2021, the decision is final and no further correspondence will be entered into.

Due to the large number of applications we receive we do not give feedback on the application process to anyone who is unsuccessful.

Information about the internship

All essential expenses will be paid for by the prize fund including travel costs, visa costs, accommodation and reasonable food costs during the three month internship.

The winner will be able to choose the lab and faculty host they work with, subject to the availability of the host.

The winner will be able to choose the timing of their internship which should be taken within a year of being awarded (travel restrictions due to Covid -19 or other unexpected events will be taken into consideration and exceptions made).


If you have any questions, which are not answered within the information above please contact:

Help with CV’s and Expressions of Interests cannot be given by the Sanger Prize Committee, please seek this help from your University tutors or mentors.

Only applications submitted via the form linked above will be accepted. Please do not email CV’s and reference letters directly to the Sanger Prize Committee as they will not be accepted.

All applications must be completed in English.

Eligible countries

Afghanistan Albania Algeria
American Samoa Angola Argentina
Armenia Azerbaijan Bangladesh
Belarus Belize Benin
Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana Brazil Bulgaria
Burkina Faso Burundi Cabo Verde
Cambodia Cameroon Central African Republic
Chad China Colombia
Comoros Congo, Dem. Rep. Congo, Rep.
Costa Rica Côte d’Ivoire Cuba
Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic
Ecuador Egypt, Arab Rep. El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Eswatini
Ethiopia Fiji Gabon
Gambia, The Georgia Ghana
Grenada Guatemala Guinea
Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti
Honduras India Indonesia
Iran, Islamic Rep. Iraq Jamaica
Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya
Kiribati Korea, Dem. People’s Rep. Kosovo
Kyrgyz Republic Lao PDR Lebanon
Lesotho Liberia Libya
Madagascar Malawi Malaysia
Maldives Mali Marshall Islands
Mauritania Mauritius Mexico
Micronesia, Fed. Sts. Moldova Mongolia
Montenegro Morocco Mozambique
Myanmar Namibia Nauru
Nepal Nicaragua Niger
Nigeria North Macedonia Pakistan
Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru
Philippines Romania Russian Federation
Rwanda Samoa São Tomé and Principe
Senegal Serbia Sierra Leone
Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa
South Sudan Sri Lanka St. Lucia
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Sudan Suriname
Syrian Arab Republic Tajikistan Tanzania
Thailand Timor-Leste Togo
Tonga Tunisia Turkey
Turkmenistan Tuvalu Uganda
Ukraine Uzbekistan Vanuatu
Venezuela, RB Vietnam West Bank and Gaza
Yemen, Rep. Zambia Zimbabwe