Application advice for students

About us

InterMine is an open source biological data warehouse, based in the University of Cambridge. There are nearly thirty instances of public InterMines, covering a range of subjects from organisms like mice and rats, mines dedicated to plants such as the soybean, insects like the fruitfly or bees and wasps, and even mines dedicated to mitochondrial DNA and discovering drug targets. You can see a full list in the InterMine Registry, which incidentally was a project carried out by a GSoC 2017 student!

We’re interested in mentoring students with computer science, informatics (bioinformatics, cheminformatics, etc.) or computational biology experience and/or demonstrable interest.

You don’t have to be a biologist to work on InterMine related projects - many of the full time developers on the team didn’t come from a biology background.

We use a range of languages in our projects, but most commonly you’ll see Java, Python, SQL, Clojure/ClojureScript, and JavaScript. Each instance of InterMine has its own set of web services, and there are client libraries in six different languages.

Browse through our GitHub repos to see more of our projects:

Getting started

If you’re interested in applying for one of our projects, drop an email to the people named in the project description to introduce yourself, and explain which of the project(s) you’re interested in and how you think you can contribute.

Custom projects

We’re open to project proposals that aren’t on this list. If you think you might have an idea that utilises the InterMine APIs, data, or codebase in some way, contact us to discuss it.

Proposal Guidelines

We expect to receive, as we did last year, lots of high quality applications. So please do give your application some thought!

  • Follow Google’s outline exactly:
    • The “deliverables” section is most important!
  • A clear understanding of the problem we need solved.
  • A clear plan of action. What are you going to actually do?
  • Milestones should be achievable and realistic.
  • Things happen! We can’t foresee every problem! We are happy to see proposals that say “I will do A and B. If there is time, I will do C.”
  • Read about our grading criteria for proposals.
  • Read the proposal from one of our successful 2018 applicants to get an idea of what a good proposal might look like.

We are happy to read your proposal and give you feedback. Please allow for a few days for us to get back to you – don’t wait until the last minute!

When you mail us, please make sure to include as many of the following as possible:

  • A CV / Resume. Tell us about yourself!
  • Links to GitHub, BitBucket, LinkedIn or similar.
  • Sample code. If you don’t have GitHub/Bitbucket etc. we’d still like to see what you can do. A class coding assignment or personal project you’re proud of is a great alternative.
  • A great way to familiarise yourself with the basics of building InterMine is to run through our tutorial - or alternatively you could try familiarising yourself with the web interface for your preferred InterMine. FlyMine is a popular mine for Fruit Fly data. You can find the full list of InterMines on our InterMine Registry, or try our experimental new interface
  • We’ve also set up a few tickets on the core InterMine repo with the tag “Good first bug” if you’d like to get your hands dirty. Pop a note on the ticket and make a pull request when you think you’re ready. We have some guidelines for contributing that you should read before you make the pull request.

Finally, if you have any ideas or questions, please don’t hesitate to email us.