Students build research skills through the Royce Interns Scheme


An image of Muskaan Betala working in the laboratory

The Henry Royce Institute sponsored four students to explore cutting-edge science this summer.

Each year, the Henry Royce Institute runs an undergraduate research internship scheme to give researchers the opportunity to host an undergraduate student on a summer research project in materials science.

Researchers work with their student interns throughout the summer to craft research projects, establish them in the laboratory, and help them work alongside other group members. 

The scheme is open to applications from academic researchers in materials science across all UK Higher Education Institutes. Imperial College London works in partnership with Royce through the Royce at Imperial hub, based at White City Campus.

Alanna Senior 

Alanna Senior is an undergraduate student in the Department of Materials. She completed a summer placement with Dr Samuel Humphry-Baker in the Department of Materials.

Alanna's summer placement involved investigating and testing the hardness of hafnium hydride using nanoindentation. This material could be a candidate for radiation shielding in nuclear fusion reactors.

She comments: "I enjoy seeing what a career in research is really like. My lab skills have improved greatly, and I feel better prepared for future projects and lab work.

Before starting the placement, I wasn't sure whether to do a master's, but thanks to my experience, I'm now sure."

Alanna Senior working in the laboratory

Lara Ojha

Lara Ojha is an undergraduate student from the University of Virginia, currently based at Imperial College London. She completed a summer placement with Dr Livia Cupertino-Malheiros in the Center for Infrastructure Materials within the Department of Civil Engineering.

Lara's summer placement investigated hydrogen interactions and their effects on microstructure & embrittlement within additively manufactured stainless steels.

She comments: "Being able to study such a new and rapidly developing topic has taught me about the strategy and planning that goes into research.

We don't know exactly what we are going to find, so when we get data that seems interesting or unexpected, we can alter our initial plan and pivot - to dig deeper in a different direction.

This project has given me the opportunity to understand what it's like to work within that bigger picture."

Lara Ojha working in the laboratory

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is an undergraduate student in the Department of Mechanical EngineeringShe completed a summer placement with Dr Alfredo Fantetti in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Emily's summer placement investigated at the material-dependent friction properties for aero-engine applications.

She comments: "I've really enjoyed working in a research environment and getting involved in a project as well as experiencing a different aspect of the engineering field.

It's also strengthened my problem-solving skills and allowed me to apply what I've learned so far at university."

Emily Parker working in the lab

Muskaan Betala

Muskaan Betala is an undergraduate student in the Department of Materials. She completed a summer placement with Dr Max Atwood and Dr Jessica Wade in the Department of Materials.

The summer placement involved investigating chiral charge transfer complexes for low-power, high-performance field-effect transistors and LEDs.

She comments: "I wanted to gain experience doing research in a lab environment for a career in industry and potentially a PhD.

The experience has been both fun and educational. I love the freedom that comes with the choosing your own approach to a topic and finding exciting results!"

Muskaan Betala in the laboratory

Lola Bourgeais

Lola is an undergraduate student in the Department of Materials. She completed a summer placement in the group of Magda Titirici in the Department of Chemical Engineering. 

Her project focused on developing sodium-ion batteries in fibre form, a more sustainable alternative to lithium suitable for uses such as wearable electronics. This included finding the ideal formulation for the electrodes, exploring coating methods and testing the electrochemical performance of the fibre batteries.

Lola commented on the placement: "It was very rewarding to obtain a proof of concept for this new area of research in only two months.

Having the freedom to independently explore the different areas of my project whilst still being helped and supported by my supervisor and other people in the lab was a very enjoyable experience and a good taste of what a career in research might be like.

I also enjoyed making the poster summarising my research for the Royce website, which I was very happy to win the third place prize for."

Lola working in the laboratory


Kayleigh Brewer

Kayleigh Brewer
Department of Materials


Materials, Engineering-Materials
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