Program Description

  • 20-25 participants each summer
  • 8 weeks of lab experience
  • Mentoring by faculty and scientific staff
  • Access to scientific seminars
  • Science related & personal development Friday afternoon workshops
  • Closing symposium with poster session or presentations from all participants
  • Rich program of social activities, including a day hike to Swiss alps with raclette, BBQs and a few possible excursions to points of interest such as  CERN

  • 2 months – July 4th to August 26th 2022
  • Students must be present during the entire program
  • Application deadline – January 31st 2022,
  • Please note that you must have your documents and referee details ready to upload when you start to fill out the application. There is no option to save and come back to it.   Also, the referees will only receive their link to upload your letter when you submit your application.  Please keep this in mind when organizing your application.

  • Join on-going research in a lab of the EPFL School of Life Sciences
  • Learn new techniques while studying a research topic related to current health issues
  • Improve critical thinking and experimental design
  • Prepare for future independent research as a graduate student
  • Experience the excitement and challenges of scientific research gaining insight into what a research career entails

  • Each student receives CHF 3,200 for the two-month period which covers housing and living costs.
  • Housing is reserved and paid for out of the stipends beforehand.
  • Students are housed together either in Lausanne or possibly in Geneva depending on lab assignment.
  • Students have either single rooms or double rooms and share a kitchen and bathroom facilities with their fellow SRP participants.
  • The majority of travel costs to and from Switzerland is covered. The program reimburses up to CHF 1,000 for overseas flights and CHF 500 for shorter distances

How to Apply

We hope to be opening our on-line application again in near the end of November 2021 for SRP 2022!  Stay tuned and stay safe!

Students must

  • be currently enrolled in a university in biology, bio-physics, chemistry, bio-engineering, bio-informatics, quantitative biology, genetics courses or other life sciences related programs
  • have a minimum of GPA equivalent to a 3.75/4.0 grade or higher
  • have completed at least two years of undergraduate work up to the first year of a master’s degree before the start of the program
  • show a strong interest in pursuing a career in life sciences

The selection is based upon

  • Your CV (1-2 pages)
  • Your motivation letter (maximum 750 words)
  • The explanation of lab choices (2-3 sentences per lab)
  • University transcript or school official list of classes and grades
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Basic life sciences understanding is essential; previous lab experience is a plus

Please submit your including pdf uploads of all the above mentioned documents. Only applications with the full application material will be taken into consideration.

On-line application

ATTENTION: Prepare all your documents (CV, Motivation Letter, Lab Explanations, Transcripts) and contact details for your 2 referees (name, institution, and email address) in advance. Once you begin your application, you must finish it in one sitting.



The online application usually opens each year in mid-November for the following summer.

The annual application deadline is 31st of January.

All applicants will receive an email about four weeks after the deadline with the result of their application.

Blanke Lab – Mechanisms of body perception, body awareness and self-consciousness in humans

Courtine Lab – Motor control and neuroprosthetics in rodents, monkeys and humans

Gerstner Lab – Computations in neuronal networks, plasticity and learning

Ghezzi Lab – Neuro-optoelectronic interfaces and visual prosthesis

Gräff Lab – Mechanisms of long-term memory in mice – epigenetics, PTSD and Alzheimer’s disease

Herzog Lab – Human visual perception and schizophrenia

Jaksic Lab – Experimental Evolutionary Neurobiology

Mathis A. Lab – Computational Neuroscience & AI

McCabe Lab – Motor circuits and diseases in flies, mice and humans

Petersen Lab – Neuronal circuits for reward-based learning of goal-directed behaviour in mice

Rahi Lab– Physics of Biological Systems

Ramdya Lab – Neural circuits driving behavior in flies and robots

Sandi Lab – Mechanisms of stress and anxiety in humans and rodents

Schneggenburger Lab – Synaptic mechanisms of fear learning in mice

Ablasser Lab – Innate Immunity

Fellay Lab – Genomics of Infection and Immunity

Lemaitre Lab – Drosophila Immunity and Symbiosis

Persat Lab – Bacterial mechanobiology and mechanotransduction

Altug Lab – Optical nanobiosensors, lab-on-a-chip devices, ultra-sensitive spectroscopy, nanoplasmonics, metamaterials

Correia Lab – Immunoengineering, computational biology, protein design and proteomics.

Barth Lab – Protein design, computational biology, protein biophysics and biochemistry, structural biology, cellular signal transmission, cell engineering, synthetic biology.

Dal Peraro – Computational biophysics and structural biology, multiscale molecular simulations, macromolecular assembly, protein and drug design, high performance computing.

Guiducci Lab – Micro-nano sensors, bioanalytics, lab-on-a-chip, 3D sensors, drug monitoring, aptamers, DNA quantification,

Ijspeert Lab – Articulated and biologically inspired robotics, modular robotics, humanoid robotics, control of locomotion and of coordinated movements in robots, computational neuroscience, neural networks, sensorimotor coordination in animals.

Manley Lab – Super-resolution fluorescence imaging techniques, live cell imaging and single molecule tracking.

Maerkl Lab – Microfluidics, systems biology, synthetic biology, molecular diagnostics.

Oates Lab – Developmental biology, genetic oscillations, physics of biology, quantitative imaging, single-cell biology, computer modelling, zebrafish.

Radenovic Lab – Solid-state nanopores, single-molecule imaging, biophysics, nanotechnology, 2D materials.

Renaud Lab – BioMEMS, microfluidics, cell chips, bioelectronics, biosensors.

Sakar Lab – Microelectromechanics, biomechanics, biomedicine

Schoonjans Lab – Metabolic Signalling

Stellacci Lab – Supramolecular materials, nanotechnology, surface science.

Suter Lab – Gene expression fluctuations, cell fate choices, embryonic stem cells, single cell analysis, single molecule imaging

Tang Lab – Biomaterials for immunoengineering

Van De Ville Lab – Computational neuroimaging, network analysis, dynamical systems, wavelets, mathematical imaging, sparsity, machine learning, (f)MRI, EEG, PET, Calcium imaging.

Aztekin Lab – Structural Regeneration

Brisken Lab – Breast cancer, mouse genetic, mammary gland development, mouse models, patient derived xenografts, estrogen and progesterone, endocrine disruptors

Constam Lab – Developmental and Cancer Cell Biology

De Palma Lab – Tumor-associated macrophages, tumor angiogenesis and antiangiogenic therapy Immunotherapy, microRNAs, exosomes and extracellular vesicles, mouse models of cancer, immune cell engineering, lentiviral vector technologies.

Gönczy Lab -Mechanisms of centriole assembly

FAQs and COVID Updates

Due to the pandemic and uncertainties concerning its evolution (new health restrictions, or for instance, a further deterioration of the situation), EPFL reserves the right to modify the Summer School’s participation conditions or even to cancel the event. EPFL cannot be held liable should this be the case.

If the summer program is taking place, please check what requirements are necessary for you to come into the country.  There are many factors (your vaccination status, where you are traveling from etc.) that will determine if you are allowed in and if so, what rules to follow once arrived.  Please use this tool provided by the Swiss Office of Public Health to determine what you will need to do. The rules may change many times as the situation of the pandemic evolves; this tool is kept up-to-date by the OFSP.

Who is eligible?

The Summer Research Program (SRP) enrolls students who have finished two years of a Bachelor’s degree up to the first year of a Master’s degree by the start of the program.

What if I have finished my Bachelor’s degree and I am not yet in a Master’s program?

If you are actively applying for a Master’s program in a life sciences related subject and planning to pursue a life sciences related career, you are eligible up to one year after you finished your Bachelor.

The program dates do not match my university’s academic calendar. Could I come from May to July?

To be eligible, you must be on-site for the entire time between the program dates i.e., July and August. It is impossible to come a month early and leave a month early. We regret that our summer program dates do not correspond well with some country’s academic calendars.

My gpa is almost a 3.75/4.0. Will my application be evaluated? (gpa = grade point average), is calculated by adding all the numbered grades you’ve received and dividing them by the number of credits you’ve taken.)

Yes, it will be evaluated, but the SRP is very competitive and your chances of being selected are low.

My background isn’t mainstream Life Sciences. Can I still apply?

Yes, students come with all kinds of backgrounds, but you should have at least a few mainstream Life Science courses on your transcript as e.g., cell biology, biotechnology

Do I need to have research experience already?

Most participants do already have lab experience, but some do not. It is not a requirement.

What are my chances of being selected?

The SRP is very competitive! In 2019, we received over 800 applications for 25 places. Your chances of being selected also depends on how many candidates choose the same top three lab choices – Popular labs have more applications from which to choose.

When will I hear back?

All applicants will receive an email the end of by mid- March with the result of their application.


Does my transcript/grade sheets need to be translated into English?

We accept transcripts in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian.

If your transcript is in another language, please translate it into English.

Do I need to have an official translation?

You may translate your transcript(s) yourself and have a faculty member sign it to verify that it is a true translation. Include the original transcript in your upload.

My grades/gpa doesn’t really fit into the asked for format of XX/4.0, or XX/10. What should I do?

Please just fill-in the space using another short format (ie 8.2/10) or simply say “Please see transcript” and then have an explanation of your school’s grading system attached to your transcript.

Do I need an official transcript?

Yes, if possible and not too expensive.

If it isn’t possible or too expensive, then unofficial transcripts or screen shots from your university student portal can replace the official transcript.

What do I do if my school has a completely different kind of grading scale?

Please upload an explanation of your grading scale and how difficult it is to achieve each grade.

I haven’t received my last transcript. What should I do?

Please make a list of your classes that you are currently doing and/or the classes on the transcript for which you are waiting. Explain on the document why your transcript is unavailable at that time.


Can I upload the recommendations to my application myself?

No, your referee needs to use the link that is automatically sent to them after you have filled in their contact details and invited them through the on-line application.

Whom do I ask for a reference?

Ask someone who knows you well enough to assess your potential to do research, if possible a lab head and/or professor.

My referee didn’t receive a message asking them to upload my recommendation! What should I do?

Check the the email address that you used is still functional. Then contact the SRP administrator giving the confirmed address and we will see if the address used in your application was filled in correctly and then send another email to your referee. If it still doesn’t work, please supply another email address for your referee and we will also try that address.

Is the deadline, January 31st, also for the referee to upload their letter of recommendation?

In theory, yes; it is the same deadline. In practice, we know that professors are very busy so we leave the portal open for 3 – 4 extra days so that they will have a little more time. Please let them know this when you contact them to inquiry if they are able to supply a letter for your application.

Will I receive a confirmation message when my professor uploads my letter of recommendation?

Unfortunately, no, you will not. Please recontact your professors to see if they have had a moment to upload your recommendation.

Motivation Letter

To whom should I address my letter of motivation?

“Dear SRP Selection Committee” works very nicely!

What should be in my motivation letter?

We want to know why you are applying, what has drawn you to want to do research, what you bring to the program and what you hope to get out of it.


I have never done a CV before! How do I do it?

There are many helpful CV methods available on the internet. Make your CV no more than 2 pages long, emphasize your education and lab experience, make it clean and easy to find the most important information that is useful for the selection committee to evaluation your scientific potential.

Lab Choices

How long should this document be?

Please write 2-3 sentences about each lab choice. We want to know that you have thought about your choices and that they make sense based on your background.

English Requirements

We do not require proof of your level of English.  We trust that you know if you can manage the program in English or not. If we have a doubt, we may ask you for a zoom/skype call.

How am I assigned to a lab?

When you apply to the SRP, we ask you to give us your top three choices from the participating lab list. We evaluate your application with the input from your top three labs. When we make our final selection, lab assignments are also finalized. 

Why are some of the labs located in Geneva?

EPFL has extended campuses and several labs are at the Campus Biotech in Geneva. This requires you to travel back and forth most days. Your extra travel costs will be covered by the lab.  Usually you are still housed in Lausanne so that you have the “living together” experience that is an important part of SRP. To find out if your lab is in Geneva, please consult the lab website.

What is the dress code?

Everyday is very informal (jeans etc.) but you must wear clothing that covers your legs and closed shoes in the lab for protection. 

What is the working language?

Work, lab meeting and seminars are all in English. We however do not require proof of your English level at the time of the application.

Socializing can be often in French, or other languages.

What are the working hours?

Usually you work ± 40 hours a week in lab related activities. Depending on the project, you may have to work some on the weekends e.g., cell culture.

Friday Afternoon Workshops

Do I have to participate in the Friday Workshops?

Yes. Most Fridays you will be required to participate in a workshop on a relevant subject such as science communication, lab visits, personal development etc. The goal is to help prepare you for a future career in science.

Closing Symposium

What happens at the symposium?

You will be required to make a poster and attend the Closing Symposium that is held on the last day of the program. Besides the good food and drink, you will have the chance to explain your work to the Life Sciences Scientific Community and some of our program sponsors. If the poster session is not allow under the current health situation, we will do zoom presentations of your summer work.


Do I have to find my own housing?

Your housing will be arranged for you and paid from your 3,200 CHF stipend before you arrive. Usually your housing is in Lausanne, a short metro ride from the EPFL campus.


Do I need to bring extra money?

Normally, if you are careful e.g., eating picnic lunches and eating-in, you can manage to live on the money left over after your housing is paid. You will most likely need to bring your own money for weekend travel and tourism.


I come from a country that requires a visa to enter Switzerland. What do I do?

We will help you get a visa. The rules change frequently, so we will provide you with an invitation letter and directions as to what to do to help you navigate the process. It can take more than three months to obtain your visa.

Asking for more Information

After reading all the website and the FAQs, what if I still have questions?

Please contact the coordinator with your questions, only if you have read all the information available on the website and the FAQs.

Remember! When you ask for information, it is not an SMS message, it is a professional communication and you want to make a good impression, therefore write in full sentences without slang or shortened forms of English words 

Example of an inquiry –

Dear Ms Goodman,

My name is XXXXXX and I am interested in applying to the SRP.

I have a question about XXXXXXX. (Give enough information to help explain your question.

Thank you for your time.


Your name.

Are there other summer programs at EPFL?

Yes there are!  Students also have the possibility to apply to the following programs (distinct eligibility rules):

For more information please open this link
Apply Here

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