Information for students and supervisors

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

  • What is PIPS? - PIPS stands for Professional Internships for PhD Students. This is a three month placement in industry and will be in an area not directly linked to your PhD research. CASE students are not required to take a PIPS but are welcome to do so. For non-CASE students this is a requirement of your NLD BBSRC DTP studentship.
  • What are the benefits of a PIPS? PIPS give you the opportunity to experience the working environment outside your PhD and can help you decide what you do and do not enjoy or would wish to pursue. Previous PIPS students have taken the opportunity to visit a variety of exciting places, develop a broad range of skills and even secure permanent careers with their internship hosts.
  • When can I take my PIPS? Normally, any time in the first three years of study. However, the timing can be flexible to suit you. Please discuss with your supervisor and/or the BBSRC DTP team if you need any advice on when to complete PIPS. 
  • When should I take my PIPS? This depends on your project and your supervisors but it makes sense to complete it early so it is completed in good time. However, it is useful to make some progress with your research project before you start.
  • 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.
  • 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 USA, Africa, New Zealand and throughout Europe.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 too thinly, but this is negotiable.
  • Where can I find an internship? There are lots of places to look for an internship. Project 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 DTP's Associate Partners may also have internship opportunities. The Careers Service at your University will have links to a broad range of hosts. The DTP team will circulate relevant opportunities too, via email. 
  • 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 supervisor's agreement make the local DTP management aware of this situation.
  • 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 to apply to. Note that hosts are normally expected to contribute any consumables costs for the internship. 
  • 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.
  • 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 fuel bills should be covered by stipend payments. Students can also claim up to a maximum of £25 per day for food and drink (no alcohol), if you are staying in non-self-catered accommodation (reimbursement for food and drink will be via a payment request form once receipts are received).
  • Can I be paid by the host organisation? Within the DTP some students have been paid for their internship work; BBSRC's  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.
  • I am a CASE student, can I undertake a PIPS? - Yes, even though you will spend time in industry with your CASE partner as part of your studies you are still able to complete a PIPS placement of up to 12 weeks.
  • What paperwork do I need to complete to go on my PIPS? 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.
  • What paper work do I need to complete at the end of PIPS? We ask that you complete a Post Professional Internship for PhD Report to feedback and reflect on your experience. The form is easy to complete and is very useful for future PIPS students. Further information on post PIPS requirements can be found here - 

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.