INSPIRE - undergraduate research

INSPIRE is designed to engage medical, dental and veterinary undergraduates with research. To do this we offer funding to medical, dental and veterinary schools across the country, which allows them to deliver locally designed activities aimed at informing and exciting students about the benefits and potential of a career in research. So far the INSPIRE scheme has included:

  1. Six rounds of ‘small grants awards’ open to all UK medical, dental and veterinary schools and offering up to £10,000 for INSPIRE focused activities.
  2. A ‘special project’ fund, for schools to pilot or expand particularly innovative projects, or to enable specific projects to be rolled out nationally.
  3. A series of workshops hosted by the Academy for schools to showcase their activities, share learning and develop new ideas.


The INSPIRE scheme is coordinated by the Academy of Medical Sciences and supported by the Wellcome Trust. 



INSPIRE began in 2012, with £1million in funding from the Wellcome Trust. The scheme has been open to all medical schools since its induction and all dental and veterinary schools since 2016. In this time, we have awarded 103 small grants and a further nine special project grants. The grants, previously of up to £10,000, over 1-2 years were awarded in four rounds, reaching 31 schools in the first round in December 2012, 22 schools in December 2014, 8 in 2016, 28 schools in October 2018 and 31 in January 2020. The nine special project grants were awarded in June 2014. In 2023, INSPIRE Round 6 awarded 14 applicants, with 10 of these applications part of wider collaborations with other schools. You can find out more information on the awards made so far here.

Schools have flexibility in how they use funds and, as a result, variation exists between the schools from developing events with broad engagement to supporting research projects for individual students. Many schools have chosen to collaborate on projects regionally with all schools delivering activities that have been designed and delivered with the input of students.


For a brief overview of the awards made, the activities implemented by each school and the impacts they have had, please visit the INSPIRE activities page. Additionally, more in depth case studies of certain schools can be found on the INSPIRE case studies page.

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