Herchel Smith Research Studentship is currently open for prospective PhD candidates in the University of Cambridge for life and medical science courses starting in 2019.

Herchel Smith, born in Plymouth (UK) in 1925, was a distinguished organic chemist who invented and patented new chemical reactions for the synthesis of novel steroids, including the contraceptive pill. His research interests can be traced back to his time as an undergraduate at Emmanuel College where he read for the Natural Sciences Tripos, matriculating in 1942 with distinction.

In June 2002, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge accepted with gratitude a most generous bequest of nearly $40 million under the Will of Dr Herchel Smith – one of the largest ever individual bequests to a British university. This was followed by a further $20 million from the residual estate in 2004. In accordance with Dr Smith’s particular research interests, part of the residual portion of his bequest was directed to Harvard University to fund a PhD studentship programme for Harvard and Cambridge students.

The Herchel Smith Research Studentships are among the most prestigious studentships offered by the Universities. Students are selected at both institutions within the broad area of Life Sciences and regular meetings of students and Managers are incorporated into the scheme, the first being held in July 2010 in Cambridge. The first Herchel Smith PhD studentships were awarded in 2008.

Worth of Award

At Cambridge the Herchel Smith Research Studentships provide:

  • Tuition Fees
  • Stipend at Wellcome Trust rates for four years (starting stipend = £19,913)
  • Research Support grant
  • Visa costs (for the overseas students)

Successful applicants may have the opportunity to apply to undertake a two to three month research project at Harvard University as part of their studies.


  • The Herchel Smith Research Studentships are offered for the promotion and encouragement of research in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Organic Chemistry, and related fields, in accordance with the bequest of the late Dr Herchel Smith.
  • In order to be eligible for a Studentship, a candidate must have been accepted to follow a course of research within the field(s) in which the Studentships have been advertised and have been admitted, or be seeking  admission, by the Board of Graduate Studies as a registered Graduate Student of the University.
  • The holder of a Herchel Smith PhD Studentship will be designated a ‘Herchel Smith Research Student’.

How to Apply

  • There is no separate form of application for Herchel Smith Studentships; all eligible Graduate Admission and Scholarship Application Forms will be considered.
  • You may apply for admission from 1 September of the year prior to the academic year in which you wish to commence study. Please see the Graduate Admissions website for more information.
  • If a Herchel Smith Research Student wishes to begin his or her studies after 1st October of the academic year for which the studentship has been awarded, the agreement of the supervisor, Faculty/Department, the Board of Graduate Studies and the Managers of the Herchel Smith Research Studentship Fund must be secured.
  • The Scholarship must be taken up no later than the beginning of the Easter Term 2018, otherwise it will lapse.
  • Studentships cannot be deferred to the next academic year.
Deadline: Thursday, 31 January 2019.

Click here to apply for graduate admission

Click here for more details and to apply

Subscribe to our newsletter!
Clicking "Subscribe me" is successful, even if you don't see any confirmation here