The following excellent feedback was received from Dr Ken McNamara, Sympromics, regarding UoE 2014 EASTBIO PhD student Matthew Dale’s doctoral internship:
“Firstly, some feedback on how things went with Matt: gold star. Matt has been a terrific addition to our team over the last 3 months. He has exceeded expectations by some way. He showed himself to be very astute, diligent, enthusiastic and a pleasure to have in the office. We’d have happily kept him longer and I would have liked to have the conversation about offering him a position with Synpromics but sadly, another year before he finishes his PhD.”
Dr Ken McNamara
Business benefits of taking on a PhD intern:
- A high-calibre temporary resource to assist with a strategic project
- Extra support at no cost as PIPS students are fully funded by the University through their PhD salary
- Resource to undertake projects that might have been on hold/will not otherwise be done
- Involvement with intelligent minds that bring innovation, skills and knowledge to benefit your business success and performance
- Opportunities to get energy and fresh insights to a particular business area; a different perspective to problems, and a new motivated member of the team
What roles could an intern undertake for my organisation?
An intern should help you accomplish something that is clearly important to your organisation. Ideas could include but are certainly not limited to:
- researching new development ideas or products (but not within an academic or research institute)
- creating a marketing, publishing or sales campaign
- a business development project
- managing a specific project
- developing teaching/science communication materials
- improving a specific policy or working in a setting related to policy (e.g. government department or charity)
Standard of the PhD students:
- The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership PhD students are from the top six Universities in Scotland. Students are motivated, adaptable, smart and may have relevant previous work experience.
- During their PhD they are supported to deliver world-class research in the areas of (a) agriculture and food security, (b) industrial biotechnology and bioenergy and (c) bioscience for health.
- Internships are 12 weeks-long or can be taken over multiple shorter blocks, where the student is based within the host organisation
- Internships can be run any time throughout the year so you can make them a part of your business priorities
Requirements from the organisation:
- A challenging internship project with clearly defined task/s – either one big project or the workload could be spread across a number of areas to give as much diversity in work as possible
- Work space and equipment
- An experienced employee who will act as a mentor to support the PhD intern. The mentor is responsible for the induction process, supervising the delivery of a piece of work, providing training, feedback, encouragement and is the designated point of contact for the PIPS Coordinator.
- Interns need to be included in team/departmental meetings, training and ad-hoc events as appropriate.
Designing an internship project:
- PhD interns have the potential to make a huge contribution to your organisation in a short time at no cost but only if they get clear direction, support and sufficient challenge. It is imperative that interns are given no more menial tasks than are expected of other employees
- Interns need an opportunity for professional development – some will be using this as a way of determining whether or not they want to pursue a career in your sector and/or profession - tea-making and data entry won’t give them this!
What sort of work is appropriate for an intern?
- Work that offers a genuine “something extra” that has a medium to long-term benefit rather than simply a short-term “extra pair of hands”
- Project which gives the PhD intern ownership/responsibility for some aspects of their work and has the opportunity to present it or explain it to others
- Ideally work with a range of people, providing the opportunity to network and build relationships with a range of people at multiple levels
- Opportunity to experience client focus and interaction
- Chance to use written/verbal communication skills in a professional, rather than academic context
- Chance to see how their role fits in to the wider context and learn about your organisation culture and/or sector
- Shadowing at a more strategic level
What support is available for organisation hosting an internship?
• Full support is given to organisations throughout the internship process – from advertising the opportunity to selecting an intern, as well as during the internship itself.
- You can apply to host an intern at any time of the year
- To propose a PIPS internship project, please send an expression of interest by emailing our PIPS Coordinator, Dr Caroline Pope.
- You will be asked to complete the application form Bring an Intern on Board. This requires a description of the project outline and details about what skills the PhD student needs in order to complete this internship
- The internship vacancy will be advertised to a talented pool of high-calibre Life Science PhD students
- Eligible, interested students will apply directly by C.V. and be interviewed and selected by you
- The final internship details are expected to fit with the needs of the University, the host organisation and PhD intern and are outlined and agreed in a PIPS Internship Agreement by all parties involved.
We welcome all initial enquiries and questions, with there being no obligation on your behalf that this result in an internship placement being created. Please email Dr Caroline Pope.