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Newcastle Liverpool Durham

BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership


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

  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.

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


A message to our new students from Professor Keith Lindsey

A very warm welcome to the Newcastle, Liverpool, Durham Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership (NLD BBSRC DTP).  The 2017 intake to the Partnership is the third cohort of 'DTP2', the second round of funding from BBSRC, and the sixth cohort overall of BBSRC DTP1 and DTP2 students.  The staff involved are all very excited that DTP2 continues to enable new opportunities in cross-institutional training and we are delighted that you are part of this initiative. 

The NLD DTP2 partnership involves an investment of more than £8m from BBSRC, the three universities and other sponsors, supporting the training of 5 cohorts of approximately 22 students per annum from 2015 to 2019.  In 2017, a total of 27 students will be starting their PhD (Newcastle 10, Liverpool 10 and Durham 7). Of the 27 students starting in 2017, 11 are DTP CASE students (studentships with an industrial partner) and 16 are non-CASE.  You will join a total of 93 existing DTP1 and DTP2 students who were recruited between 2012 and 2015, along with a number of other students at each partner institution studying under alternative BBSRC funding schemes.  

The purpose of this letter is to provide you with some basic information.  More details will be available through your institutional DTP contacts (listed at the end of this letter), at the various events you will be attending, and on our website:

NLD BBSRC DTP Training and Events

A BBSRC DTP Induction event has been scheduled for Friday 20 October in Liverpool (further details to follow).  Briefly, students arrive in Liverpool for lunch on the 20 October.  After lunch there will be four talks, from the DTP Leads from Newcastle, Liverpool and Durham and from the course lead from SysMIC, the online course in systems biology (see below).  A small group of existing DTP students will be invited to talk about their research or internships.  As a new student, you will be invited to introduce yourself and to talk for 1 minute about your PhD project.  The day will end with dinner and networking.  All students will be provided with overnight accommodation (including those based in Liverpool), together with travel expenses for those travelling from Newcastle or Durham.

On Monday 30 October in Newcastle you will attend the North East Postgraduate Conference, an annual event organised by students for students.  Further details will follow however it is essential that you register (for free) for the Conference: .  All students will be provided with overnight accommodation (including those based in Newcastle), together with travel expenses for those travelling from Liverpool or Durham. You will also be invited to attend a cohort event organised by the MRC DTP on Tuesday 31 October. 

A key priority set out in BBSRC’s Strategic Plan is to expand training provision in mathematical, computational and systems biology for bioscience researchers.  To fulfil this requirement all BBSRC DTP students have been enrolled on a SysMIC course (Systems training in Maths, Informatics and Computational Biology) delivered by University College London (  There will be a talk about SysMIC by the course lead at Induction and your local SysMIC support officer will contact you to provide detail of local support. 

In addition to the above training, students will attend generic and specialised training courses in their host institution in, for example, bioimaging, bioinformatics and modelling.  Students will be able to bid for financial support from a central DTP fund for additional training that may be remote from the host institution.  Details on the mechanism for bidding can be found at .  Further training (for example in business and entrepreneurial skills) will be provided through cohort events which all DTP2 students will attend. 

Another innovation of the BBSRC DTP scheme is that all non-CASE students are required to undertake an external internship (PIPS: Professional Internship for PhD Students).  To assist with your thinking around this opportunity, an event for the cohort will be held in March 2018 (exact date to be confirmed).  Travel and accommodation arrangements will be similar to those for the October and November events.  For DTP CASE students, placement with a CASE partner negates the requirement for a PIPS placement.

There will be a large cohort event planned for summer 2018.  This is likely to be a two-day conference involving all DTP1 and DTP2 students

A student representative from each institution will be invited to be a member of the DTP2 Management Committee. Representatives will serve on the Committee for a period of two years, overlapping with student representatives from neighbouring cohorts.

I hope this provides some information to allow you to begin to understand the opportunities being made available to all students who are part of the NLD BBSRC DTP.  We will be looking for your input in shaping how it develops.

I have provided information below on the key DTP contacts at each University. 

Best wishes

Professor Keith Lindsey



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