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Professional Internships for PhD Students

Each MIBTP student must spend approximately 3 months undertaking a placement within a professional employment environment. The placement must not relate directly to the students PhD project or be scientific research, but they may go to any relevant company as long as they take on a role that is not research-led. A biochemist may go to a pharma company and take a role in marketing or HR, for example. So, the placement can be undertaken within any working environment (scientific or not) but MUST be focused on managerial, administrative or organizational aspects and must NOT be a scientific lab based research activity.

The MIBTP placement periods should last for approximately three months and can be undertaken any time from July in year 1. CASE students undertake their placement with their industrial collaborator and can take place any time from April in year 1.

MIBTP hold a list of potential PIPS hosts on file, based on companies that have expressed an interest in hosting a student or companies that have agreed to host additional students after completing a placement with one of our students. If you, as a company, are intrested in hosting an MIBTP student, please contact the MIBTP team for further information.

Our students carry out a wide range of exciting professional internships during their PhD training programme doing activities that interest them and in several cases lead to ongoing interaction. We have highlighted some of the internships here.

Daniel Cooper (2015 student)

Daniel's PIPS was conducted at "Equinox Graphics Ltd." a 3D design company based in Trumpington, Cambridge, who specialise in providing scientific animations and images to the space and medical industry. His first month was spent training with specialist software (Luxology's Modo, and Adobe After Effects), the second applying learned concepts to help the company with current work (for the BBC and for Cambridge's Pint of Science event) and the third month working on a personal project - an animated journey into hippocampal synaptic transmission in collaboration with Prof. Bruno Frenguelli at the University of Warwick. The work environment was stimulating and enjoyable, and he was allowed full freedom in his choice of personal project and received excellent training.

Daniel stated, "I am happy with my time away at my PIPS, have learned many useful and unique skills that will allow me to communicate my research more effectively in the future and am proud of the work I have been allowed to accomplish!"

Esther Ogunniyi (2013 cohort)


Esther carried out her placement at the HGCA. The aim of her placement was to gain an insight into the activities carried out by the HGCA in helping cereals and oilseed growers in the UK. To achieve this aim, Esther was actively involved in attending meetings such as research manager meetings, science forum meetings and departmental meetings. She also managed the analysis and interpretation of questionnaires used in formulating research plans for 2015 – 2019. In addition to that, Esther was privileged to do literature review on soil information available to growers in UK; this is intended to serve as base line information for reviewing RB209 fertilizer manual in the near future. During her placement, she also visited one of the HGCA trial fields and a Biodiversity Farm in Wellingborough, Northants. The trial fields provide information used in compiling cereal ‘Recommended List’ for growers.

Elise Facer-Childs (2013 cohort)

Elise carried out her PIP at an occupational psychology firm in West London called Team Focus Limited ( This was because she was interested in how a business runs and also how psychology could interlink with her research interests. Her roles within Team Focus involved various different components within the business including digital marketing, market research, increasing social media coverage, website design and creation, client account management, training administration and psychometric testing.

Overall Elise feels like her PIP was extremely successful and useful for both the company and herself. It helped her understand more about the possibilities in industry and the integration of research and business. It was a fantastic opportunity given by BBSRC that she really enjoyed.

Kathryn Styles (2012 cohort)

Kathryn did her three month placement at the World Health Organization in Geneva working in the department of ‘Essential Medicines and Health Products’, proofreading the 2013 Priority Medicines for Europe and the World Update Report and associated background papers. During this internship Kathryn attended World Health Day as well as the 66th World Health Assembly held in the UN palace.

Claire Stoker (2012 Cohort)claire.jpg

Claire completed her 3 month placement with the British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP). The BSPP was founded in 1981 for the study and advancement of plant pathology. During her placement, Claire joined their outreach team, for which she attended the UK Plant Science Conference 2013 in Dundee. Claire put together a report about the conference which was published on the BSPP website .


Andrew Tock (2012 Cohort)

andrew.jpgPhoto: Joseph Buwule

Andrew spent 3 months on placement in Uganda with the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI). CABI is a UK-based non-profit organisation that helps resource-poor farmers in developing countries to increase yields by preventing crop losses to pests, diseases and environmental stresses. Andrew's role involved monitoring the performance of the CABI plant clinics by assessing different aspects of their operations, such as the quality of diagnoses and advice, staff communication, organisation and record keeping. For more information you can watch Andrew's research video and read his blog.

You can read about additional PIPS experiences on the MIBTP Blog: