Getting Involved in Research as a Pre-Clinical Medical Student

There are many ways to become involved in research as a pre-clinical medical student (1st and 2nd year).

Taster Days

The best way to get started is through doing a 1 day placement in a research lab of your choice known as a ‘taster day’. This one day experience is fully funded and is the 1st step towards becoming involved in more substantial research.

A taster day is normally conducted in November or December every yearand are very popular with 1st year students.

The range of specialities offering taster days is very broad and not all involve lab work. Find out more about taster days and see example projects here.

Summer Projects

After a taster day, many students opt to apply for a summer project (or ‘vacation studentship’) which is 6-8 weeks long. These are fully funded by the school of medicine or Cardiff University.

You can also undertake summer project with the lab you did your taster day in and this would be funded by INSPIRE

It is important to think about doing a summer project over the christmas break as deadlines are usually before the end of February each year.

Find out more about INSPIRE Vacation studentships or Other Summer Projects (Cardiff and Elsewhere)

Short Duration Projects

These are short projects which are undertaken during the academic year and involve a wide range of activities from conducting an audit or helping design an admissions clerking form for use in A&E to undertaking a literature review.

These short duration projects serve to introduce a student to research and also lead to a tangible output such as a conference presentation or publication in a medical journal.

To view examples and the currently available projects: Short Duration Projects


If you have conducted research during a summer project or previously, you can apply to give an oral presentation or present a poster at a national conference.

Every October we hold out annual CUReS Research Symposium where you can present your research as an oral presentation and/or poster to get valuable feedback from judges which you can use to prepare for submitting work to national conferences.

There are conferences every year for almost every speciality and the school of medicine can aid with the cost of attending conferences.

list of conferences 

How to design a poster

How to give an oral presentation