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Newcastle Liverpool Durham

BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership


Professional Internships for PhD Students - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs - For Students and Supervisors) 

  1. When can I take my PIPS? Any time in the first three years of study
  2. When should I take my PIPS? This depends on your project and your supervisors but it makes sense to complete it early so it does not hang over you. However, it is useful to make some progress with your research project before you start.
  3. When should I start looking for my PIPS? As soon as you can, it is better to start thinking about what you might like to do.
  4. Where can I take my PIPS? It is possible to complete your PIPS anywhere that is safe to travel, students have had internships in the US, Africa, New Zealand and throughout Europe.
  5. What type of organisation can host my PIPS? Any type of organisation can host an Internship, the only stipulation is it should not be academic research within a University environment.
  6. Do I have to take my PIPS in one three month block? No, any arrangement that suits the host and your supervisor is fine. This could be two lots of six weeks or a ‘day release’ model but you should engage in another working environment.
  7. Does my PIPS have to be entirely with one host organisation?  No it would be fine to complete internships with two hosts, more than two may stretch the value of the experience to thinly but it would be negotiable
  8. Where can I find an internship? There is a lot of places to look for an internship. Supervisors may have contacts that could be useful for setting up internships. The Universities’ partners Bionow have a broad range of contacts in the bioscience sector and advertise specific positions. The Careers Service at your University will have links to a broad range of hosts.
  9. My supervisor does not think I should complete the PIPS what should I do? Your supervisors should have some influence over the timing of your PIPS and they may make valuable suggestions on what might be a valuable use of your time. However, they should not discourage you from taking an internship. If you find it difficult to get your supervisors agreement make the local DTP management aware of this situation.
  10.  Is funding available to support my PIPS Your internship should take place during your studentship so you will be in receipt of a stipend to cover your basic living allowance. Where additional costs such as travel or additional accommodation are incurred a bursary scheme is available.
  11. How does the bursary scheme work? Applications for bursaries are awarded on a competitive basis, any applications that include some contribution from the host are almost certain to be awarded. i.e. if the host organisation is will to cover some travel or accommodation costs the bursary will certainly cover any other expenses.
  12. What if the host organisation cannot or will not contribute to the costs? Bursaries are still likely to be awarded if the host does not contribute so long as the PIPS is in line with what is intended by the scheme.
  13. Exactly what will the bursary cover? The Bursary will cover travel: standard class train fares, flights, public transport costs or hire of a car and fuel costs. Accommodation including arrangement fees, council tax, and standing charges on any bills. Substance costs such as meals and fuel bills should be covered by stipend payments.
  14. Can I be paid by the host organisation? Within the DTP some students have been paid for their internship work, the BBSRC policy is this is an unpaid internship but the partnership prefers that arrangements are made on an individual basis to the satisfaction of hosts, interns and their supervisors.
  15. What paper work do I need to complete? Your University is likely to have an ‘outside study’ form you will need to complete this. Once you return you should complete the BBSRC and partnership’s evaluation form. If you require funding you will need to complete the bursary form. There is no other paperwork required by you, your supervisor or the host organisation.
  16. Where can I find further information? Information is available at please let us know if you cannot find what you are looking for here so we can make sure the site has everything you need.

FAQs for Internship Hosts

  1. How much do I have to pay to take an intern? Internships are supported through the studentship and this includes a bursary for travel and lodgings. Hosts are invited to contribute to those costs if they wish to but this is not a requirement.
  2. What paperwork is required? The student will need to complete an outside of study form for their University but only other requirements are what the host organisation requires. Students remain registered as students during their internship.
  3. What might an intern do for their host? The internship should be suitably stimulating for a doctoral candidate, other than that the boundaries are set by you as a host.
  4. How long does the internship last? Internships are up to three months in length, students may opt to split up the three months between two hosts so they can be shorter. 
  5. How long in advance can the internship be arranged? As long as the student, supervisors and host organisation agree a timescale pretty much any time is possible.
  6. Does the internship need to be in a single block of time? No internships can be split up over an extended period while the student continues with their research project.
  7. Who can be an internship host? Anyone who can provide a stable working environment for a research student is eligible. The only stipulation is the internship must be outside of the academic research environment. 

Programme benefits

  • An exceptional programme of research training
  • Around 16 fully-funded studentships across the partnership each year
  • Cutting edge technologies and state-of the-art facilities to deliver world-class results