GSoC Contributor Guide

Properties of a successful application

In order to be successful with your application, it is important to demonstrate the following:

  • An understanding of the major aims of the project
    • We do not expect you to have expert domain knowledge, but light reading in terms of the proposed tech and underlying science helps
  • An ability to craft an application that builds on the basic idea for the project
    • We provide a set of project ideas which act as a starting point, a good application builds upon this bringing new ideas and insights to the initial outline
  • Clear and appropriate levels of communication with your potential mentor(s)
    • It’s important to find a balance in terms of getting input from mentors. Engaging with them ahead of submitting an application is key to success. That being said, we expect contributors to show independence and initiative when writing the application. Mentors are there to give guidance and review the application before submission, but they will not write your application for you
    • If there’s something you’re stuck on or would like more background information for, make sure to communicate this back to the mentor(s) in a timely manner to allow them time to respond. Try to be concise, but clear in terms of the issues you want feedback on. Last minute requests for major feedback are a sign of poor planning
  • A sensible timeline for the work
    • The GSoC process is relatively short, even with the new ability to extend project deadlines further. Therefore, having a plausible timeline is key. This is something to get feedback from your prospective mentor(s) on in order to ensure the timeline looks achievable, with sensible milestones and deliverable that are tied to the various review deadlines
    • In line with this, we also need to understand your availability and existing commitments. For example, it’s not possible to both work 40 hour a week job or carry out a full time PhD and also devote a reasonable amount of time each week to a project. We do not want applicants working excessive hours each week to fit GSoC in on top of other major commitments
  • An enthusiasm for the project and working with the mentor(s) and the organisation
    • Seeing genuine interest and engagement from an applicant in turn motivates the mentor(s) and generally leads to better communication and applications

Steps to building an application

The steps below are a rough guideline to submitting an application. Please note that while we have linked to the suggested projects below, it is also fine to propose your own project. If you would like to propose your own project, follow onwards from Step 3 below. Please remember to send the description of your proposed project (including the potential tech) in the email to our helpdesk ( They will then see if there is a suitable mentor willing to take on the project.

  1. Visit our projects page to view potential projects:
  2. Select a project of interest, carefully read the description and the listed tech. Please read around the topic and the tech to get a better understanding
  3. Once you have chosen a project, contact our helpdesk with the subject line “GSoC 2022”. Please include a brief CV and explanation of why you are interested in the project. If you need more background information on the project, or have specific questions, please include them in the email
  4. Create a first draft of the application with plenty of time before the deadline. Get back in touch with helpdesk/the mentor(s) to get feedback
  5. Use the feedback to build the final application. Pass this on to the mentor(s) with sufficient time for a final review
  6. After the final application has been polished with any remaining feedback, submit your application

Final Notes

Good luck with your application and we look forward to talking to you. GSoC is a very rewarding program for both contributors and mentors and we hope to once again use it to help push forward the boundaries of genome analysis.


GSoC project ideas

Resources we run or collaborate on


Ensembl Rapid Release




WormBase Parasite

Alliance of Genome Resources