The Professional Internship for PhD Students (PIPS) programme is the work placement element of the BBSRC Doctoral Training Programme, offering students the experience to work in an area outside of their PhD project.
The PIPS programme is an innovative and integral element of the DTP programme. Built in to enhance the employability of the students, it is a requirement for all students to undertake a three-month professional internship outside of the lab. Destinations for these internships will include policymaking, media, teaching and industry, and will help to widen their experience of the areas of work in which they can apply their PhD skills and training. Such experience is important both to help early career researchers understand the context of their research and to expose them to the range of opportunities available to them after they graduate.
PIPS is part of the student’s Personal Professional Development Programme and will be managed flexibly to ensure the timing fits within the research project and meets the needs of both the student and host organisation. The Student Enterprise & Employability Development Team has significant experience of managing graduate internship schemes and will be responsible for the development and management of the PIPs programme. A tailored programme of support will be provided to participating students to ensure they maximise their internship experience.
How will students benefit from taking an internship?
There are lots of reasons for taking an internship. These include:
- Providing direct experience of working in a professional environment that does not directly relate to the PhD project
- Making a positive contribution to the work of the host organisation(s) by, for example, managing a non-research project, developing policy, undertaking a discrete research project in industry, enthusing the next generation of researchers, and communicating science to a broader audience
- Helping students to understand the wider context of their research
- Giving students the opportunity to consider the direction that their career might take after completing their PhD, and broadening their horizons of the areas where their training can make a distinctive contribution
- Building confidence and making students more well-rounded individuals
- Giving students a chance to see the ‘big picture’ of their research and making them better researchers as a consequence.