Institute of Genetics and Cancer

Career options

Inspiring the next generation of researchers, with resources and events for teachers and pupils.

The researchers in our Institute are from a variety of backgrounds, with biologists, chemists, mathematicians, computer experts and doctors all working together towards our research vision.

The research we do is also made possible by teams of professionals who provide vital support - including those with careers in Design and Communications, Engineering, Finance, Human Resources and Lab Management – so there are a variety of career paths you can follow to work in a biomedical research institute.

We are keen to inspire and encourage the next generation of researchers, so we offer a wide variety of opportunities for teachers and pupils to engage with us.


"Science Insights" work experience programme (July)

IGMM events science insights 2016

Science Insights is an exciting work experience programme designed to give 5th year high school pupils a real insight into the work and life of research scientists. The annual programme, which we launched in 2014 in partnership with the Roslin Institute, has proved a great success.

40  high school pupils spend a week of their summer holidays following a varied programme of activities on different University of Edinburgh campuses, gaining a real insight into research and work in biological sciences. Activities include:

  • Shadowing researchers in the lab
  • Tours of a range of scientific facilities
  • Presentations and discussions on a range of topics, including ethics in research, the use of animals in research and various careers paths
  • Opportunities to meet current University of Edinburgh students
  • Skills session to help with future university and job applications

Further information:

"So you want to be a biomedical scientist?" career exploration event (October)

What's it like to be a biomedical researcher event 2016

Half day career exploration event, launched in partnership with the University of Edinburgh's Widening Participation Team, to give 5th and 6th year high school pupils an insight into the variety of study and careers options available in biomedical science. The event includes:

  • "A day in the life of a biomedical scientist" talks from researchers with a variety of backgrounds
  • Opportunities to meet undergraduate and PhD students studying biomedical science
  • Information about courses that may be of interest at the University of Edinburgh

Further information:

“Pathology in Action: disease, dissection & diagnosis” schools event (November)

Pathology in action event 2014

This schools event is organised by Prof Mark Arends, Professor of Pathology in our CRUK Edinburgh Centre, as part of National Pathology Week and International Pathology Day. The event enables 4th year high school pupils to discover the variety of careers in human and animal pathology. Activities include:

  • Post mortem dissection of a sheep
  • Discovery of pre-prepared dissected specimens in the dissection room
  • Viewing slides on a multi-headed microscope
  • “Pathogens up close” lab session
  • Series of short presentations highlighting the career paths of pathologists e.g. in the fields of veterinary pathology, marine mammal pathology, medical pathology and forensic pathology.

Further information for teachers:

Broughton High School partnership

Researchers from our MRC Human Genetics Unit work in partnership with Broughton High School, the local school in our community, to inspire pupils to study and consider a career in biomedical science. Events include sponsorship of the Science Awards at the school's Annual Celebration of Achievement Event, workshops delivered in the school and pupil visits to the Unit.

Other events

Our researchers organise and attend other public events, such as open days and science festivals in our annual programme of events.

Our researchers are also very proactive in visiting their local schools and nurseries to give insights into their careers and taking part in online activities such as “I’m a Scientist, get me out of here!”

MRC Human Genetics Unit data resources for schools

IGMM resources

In 2016, staff and researchers from the MRC Human Genetics Unit worked with Edinburgh biology teachers to create a real data resource to allow senior phase school pupils to explore genetic and phenotypic data as part of their Scottish Qualifications Authority Nat5 or Higher Biology Assignment.

The "Human Genetic Variation & Disease Date Resource Pack provides data from the MRC Human Genetics Unit and provides information on:

  • Genetic variation/ DNA mutations
  • Genetic basis of disease risk
  • Human population cohort studies and methods
  • Genes and Proteins in Health and Disease
  • Human Genomics
  • Expression of genotype and protein production

The resource pack can be downloaded as a pdf below.

If you use this pack, we would be grateful if teachers and students could provide feedback via these online surveys

Student feedback on resource pack:

Teacher feedback on resource pack:


Are you a teacher or pupil with a project idea that could enable our researchers to connect with the next generation of researchers?

Please contact the Institute Communications: