Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS)

 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 a work experience unrelated to their doctoral research. It has been recognized that it is important that PhD students get the opportunity to experience life 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 suchthePIPS projectmust be clearly unrelated to your PhD project and form no part of your PhD research.  Examples of reports from PIPS placements undertaken by previous students are available on the DTP website. Oral PIPS reports are also presented by selected students at our Annual Symposium.  

Timing of the PIPS placement 

This PIPS placement usually takes place between the first and second 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.  

PIPS Placement Approval Process 

Once a PIPS placement is confirmed, students must complete a PIPS Proforma, attach a work contract or Memorandum of Understanding, and send it to dtp@imperial.ac.uk 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 a research project then students will be asked to come up with an alternative activity either at their original placement location or a different location.  

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.  

PIPS Finances 

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 dtp@imperial.ac.uk. 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 a Final Report at the end of your placement. The induction and progress forms will be emailed to you on acceptance of your placement, prior to your start date. The Final Report is obtained directly from the BBSRC by emailingPIPS@bbsrc.ac.uk with the text “Please email me a unique link to the BSRC DTP IPS Placement Report” in the subject field.