Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS)
PIPS is a requirement for students funded by BBSRC only. Students funded by DoLS can find out more about optional student placements here
A key component of the BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP) programme is the Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS) – a three month integrated unpaid placement that aims to provide PhD students with the opportunity to carry out work experience unrelated to their doctoral research. It has been recognized that it is important that PhD students get the opportunity to experience working in a professional environment, typically outside research laboratories. 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 in which they can apply their PhD skills and training after they graduate. As such, the PIPS project must be clearly unrelated to your PhD project and form no part of your PhD research.
Timing of the PIPS placement
This PIPS placement usually takes place between the second half of the second year and the third year of the student’s PhD programme, though the exact time will be agreed between the student and the supervisor(s). During the placement, the student will continue to receive their monthly stipend and remain enrolled at their respective institution.
PIPS Search Process
The BBSRC DTP offers a few different options for finding a PIPS placement opportunity. Imperial College’s Careers Services provides support for creating a CV and cover letter, access to the College’s placement database, an annual PIPS workshop to introduce students to PIPS and the services offered by the Careers Office. Our students typically find placements through their supervisor(s) network, through Careers Services, by contacting placement sites directly, at the BBSRC Swindon Office, or through the number of placement opportunities advertised through the DTP programme. For further information regarding PIPS requirements, a directory of recent PIPS hosts, and PIPS case studies see PIPS Further Information (PDF).
PIPS Placement Approval Process
Once a PIPS placement is confirmed, students must complete a PIPS Proforma, attach a work contract or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for the DTP Management Committee to approve. The PIPS Proforma should be sent no later than four weeks in advance of the placement start date. If the placement is deemed too similar to your PhD research project then you will be asked to come up with an alternative activity either at their original placement location or a different location.Download PIPS application forms:
PIPS Placement Site Responsibilities
The PIPS placement site is responsible for ensuring the student has a work plan and set of objectives in place to ensure the timely and successful completion of the assigned tasks. The student must have at least one supervisor who will provide orientation and be the main contact during the student’s placement.
As the students continue to receive the monthly allowance, all PIPS placements must be unpaid. If the placement site is outside of metropolitan London, it is expected that the PIPS placement will provide transport and/or accommodation. In the event that the PIPS placement is not able to financially contribute to travel and/or accommodation, then students can request funds from the PIPS Travel Allowance. The maximum allowance is £1000 and can only be used for transport (train, flight) and accommodation/lodging (temporary housing, AirBnB). When completing the PIPS Proforma, please be sure to include this request along with supporting reasons. If your request is approved, you must submit an Expense Form and copies of the receipt(s) and email it to email@example.com. Payments will be made after the completion of your PIPS placement. NB You must get pre-approval for the PIPS Travel Fund. Retroactive requests will not be considered.
PIPS Progress & Final Reports
In order to monitor your progress during the PIPS placement, we will require three short reports: 1) an Induction Form completed by the end of the first week of the placement, 2) a Mid-Placement Progress Report by the end of the first month of the placement, and 3) a Final Report at the end of your placement. The induction and progress forms can be downloaded below. Email completed progress reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.Download Progress forms:
- Email PIPS@bbsrc.ac.uk with the text “Please email me a unique link to the BSRC DTP PIPS Placement Report” in the subject field and complete their report via the link they send you (this is only be seen by the BBSRC and not shared with us).
- Complete a second, separate form for our DTP records. Click here to access the DTP form
PIPS Placements Abroad
If you have secured a PIPS placement outside of the UK, you must thoroughly read the 2021-22 Placements Abroad Handbook (available here) as it provides critical information regarding visas, travel accident and insurance information, as well as helpful information such as budgeting. It is imperative that you register your placement travel with Imperial College/RHUL in order to be covered by the respective College’s Overseas Travel Insurance. Please note that the travel insurance is not a health insurance but an accident and travel benefit. You will need to print out the Overseas Travel Insurance Policy form for the 2021-22 Academic Year. For additional information, please refer to the Placements Abroad Handbook.