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MGS Research in Practice

What is Research in Practice?

The aim of Research in Practice is to develop students’ transferable skills and provide practical opportunities to apply the theoretical knowledge and methodological skills gained during the PhD in different contexts. Through Research in Practice, we will ensure that MGS-funded students are prepared to engage in collaborative and challenge-led research across sectoral and disciplinary boundaries, both within and beyond the social sciences, and that they have the wider core skills which are essential for academic and non-academic careers alike.

MGS and our partner institutions will offer a variety of development opportunities to enable our funded researchers to:

  • apply research skills in different contexts
  • collaborate across sectoral and disciplinary boundaries
  • communicate with impact
  • develop personal networks, entrepreneurship and leadership skills
  • engage proactively in their own personal development and career direction

Research in Practice Placements

A key component of Research in Practice is a compulsory placement for all MGS-funded students. All students will be expected to undertake a placement during their studentship, and funding for this is included as part of the standard +3.5 year award. If a student does not complete a placement during their PhD, their funding will be reduced by 3 months.

Placement Requirements

  • The placement should be 3 months for full-time students or pro-rata for part-time students (usually 6 months)
  • The placement must be undertaken in the second or third year of the PhD and end at least 3 months before their funding end date
  • The placement should not be related to the students' research project
  • The student should have the opportunity whilst on the placement to apply and develop their transferable skills

Types of Placement

  • Placements can take place with a wide variety of host organisations:
    • Outside of academia, placements can be hosted by organisations in the public, private, or third sector. Students can source their own placement, apply to opportunities advertised by the MGS, or apply to national schemes such as the annual UKRI Policy Internships Scheme.
    • Within academia, placements can by hosted either by a professional services team within a university or by a research team/centre/lab which is not in the student's discipline. Placements within academia must be hosted by an institution different to the student's home university.
    • Both academic and non-academic placements can be undertaken either in the UK or overseas.
  • For a series of reports on placements and Overseas Institutional Visits (a research visit to an overseas university or research organisation, which would satisfy the requirements of the placement scheme), please see the News page on our website.

What support will be available?

If you are not sure where to start with thinking about where you might like to undertake a placement, don't worry! The MGS will have a dedicated Placements Manager joining the team to assist and support at all stages of your PhD journey.

Starting with a detailed Development Needs Analysis meeting for all offer holders prior to your studentship start date, your supervisors and institutional academic lead will get you thinking about your specific needs and will help you start to build a dedicated training and development plan, which will be reviewed regularly with your supervisors. After this meeting, the Placements Manager will be on-hand for one-to-one meetings at a time to suit you. They will help get you thinking further about what opportunities would be most beneficial for you and will work with you to set your placement up, ensuring that due diligence checks are carried out and a suitable placement agreement is in place. They will also be working on building up a bank of placement opportunities to which students can apply, and these will be regularly advertised.