Our placements

Each year we offer around 12 industrial placements to students who are interested in early therapeutic discovery and/or diagnostic development. They will get involved in exciting project work at our centres for Translational Science in Stevenage or Diagnostic Development in Edinburgh.

The year-long placements are full time with an annual salary of £21,000 (£20,000 base plus £1000 allowance which can be taken as cash or used for additional benefits). The 2023 programme is now closed to new applications, but online applications for the 2024 intake will be open in September.

This year we’re introducing data sciences into our IP programme, a critical area within LifeArc.

Join us and you’ll support our teams working across a number of areas in the drug discovery and diagnostic development process. You’ll work closely with our expert team members to gain valuable experience in areas such as:

Stevenage – drug discovery:

  • Molecular biology
  • Protein expression and purification
  • Biophysical characterisation
  • Assay design, optimisation and automation
  • High throughput screening
  • Medicinal and synthetic chemistry
  • Chemical, analytical and purification technologies
  • Identification of therapeutic leads
  • Pharmacokinetic and metabolism studies
  • Target validation studies (gene editing, pharmacology, bioinformatics)
  • Cellular models of disease supporting small molecule and/or antibody programmes
  • Antibody discovery
  • Antibody engineering
  • Antibody screening and optimisation

Stevenage – data sciences:

  • Computational chemistry
  • Cheminformatics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Machine learning, AI
  • Data engineering, data visualisation
  • Practical programming, software development

Edinburgh – diagnostic development:

  • Assay development
  • Nucleic acid extraction (DNA, RNA)
  • PCR optimisation (qPCR, RT-qPCR and digital PCR) and evaluation of novel PCR technologies
  • Application of next-generation sequencing for progressing diagnostic opportunities
  • Running of clinical studies, obtaining clinical samples and associated processes that comply with necessary ethics and regulatory requirements
  • Data science (clinical data analysis, RNA-seq, Microarray, Blast, sequence alignment)
  • Machine learning/AI – in relation to clinical data sets
  • Molecular microbiology (cell culture, bacterial culture)
  • Working in accordance with ISO 13485 – the industry standard for quality management systems for in vitro diagnostics
  • Working as part of a cross functional team to progress cutting edge diagnostic projects to patient benefit

Edinburgh – data sciences:

  • Clinical/health records data analyses
  • Machine learning, AI, statistics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Data engineering, data visualisation
  • Practical programming, software development

During your placement, we’ll expect you regularly present your experimental results and conclusions to the project team, while maintaining high quality written lab notebook records of your research. In return, you will have the opportunity to use the work you do here to assist with your degree submission and gain true research experience.

About you

You must be studying for your first (undergraduate) degree and in your 2nd, 3rd or 4th year of study. You must be available to start a 12-month placement from September 2024 as part of your degree course and it must be approved by your university.

You should be studying one of the following disciplines:

Stevenage – drug discovery:

  • Biological sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Natural sciences
  • Molecular biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology

Edinburgh – diagnostic development:

  • Biological sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical sciences
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Data sciences
  • Life sciences
  • Medical sciences
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Statistics

Stevenage and Edinburgh – data sciences:

  • A life or physical science course that also involves a significant analysis/computational component
  • A life or physical science course with significant personal interest/experience in data sciences, computer programming
  • Data sciences
  • Health data sciences
  • Biomedical informatics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Statistics
  • (Bio) medical statistics
  • Computational biology
  • Artificial intelligence, machine learning
  • Mathematics

Skills and strengths we are looking for during the assessment process

  • Relevant degree subject (see above) and on track to achieve at least a 2:1
  • Collaboration
  • Drive and determination
  • Analytical mindset
  • Accountability
  • Adaptability
  • Desire to learn
  • Effective communication skills

In line with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, you must also have the right to work in the UK. Find out more.

What we can offer you

Because we understand everyone has different requirements, our flexible benefits allow you to choose which are important to you.

We can offer you a pension scheme which offers employer contributions of up to 12%, private health insurance and 31 days’ annual leave plus bank holidays.

Join us, and you’ll have the scope to be creative and take measured risks. You’ll be rewarded for your curiosity, for working as one team, and for learning fast. And you’ll have everything you need to be your best every day.

We all have potential. At LifeArc, you’ll discover what you can really do with it.

Application process

Applications for the 2024 industrial placement programme are now closed. Applications for the 2025 industrial placement programme will reopen in September 2024.

If you applied, and your online application form is successful, you will be invited to complete a short strength-based video interview, known as Snapshot. Full instructions and guidance on how to approach and prepare for a strengths-based assessment will be provided.

We are also proud to be using Rare Recruitment’s Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) which allows us to consider your achievements in the context in which they were gained. We understand that not every candidate’s achievements look the same on paper – and we want to recruit the best people, from every background.

Quotes from previous placement students

Find out about the highlights of the year from our  2021 placement students.

“As a student I feel as though my placement year has opened many doors for me and I have gained much invaluable experience that will help me progress in my career once I have graduated from university”

“I definitely believe that this year has been incredibly helpful in helping me to decide which direction I wish to take my career in. Through working full-time in a lab all year, I have gained a multitude of transferable skills that can be applied to my future career”

“I was very happy with how I was managed daily as my supervisor made sure that she always knew what I had planned for the week ahead and we had regular meetings to discuss my experimental results and personal progress”

“I have enjoyed meeting so many different people – all of which come from different backgrounds. It has been invaluable to learn from everybody’s experience. I can’t think what I have enjoyed least!!”

“I have had a brilliant year at LifeArc – the experience has been invaluable and is no doubt something that I will look back at with fondness”

Some of our placements require students to work with human biological samples. Those students who may be at an increased risk of occupational exposure of hepatitis B due to this work will be offered the relevant course of vaccinations and titre checks to protect them in the work environment. This is entirely voluntary and offered to all employees, where required.