Internship Examples

“Internships provide a strong reminder that there is a world outside of academia, and that the products of academic research must very often be directed towards that world.”

Alex Holder – University of Liverpool, Socio-Legal Studies (2017 Cohort)
David Mountain’s Internship with Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre

“Thanks to the NWSSDTP Internship scheme, I spent my summer in Milton Keynes – the famed land of roundabouts and concrete cows. I had learnt that the grid layout in Central Milton Keynes, and its central street, Midsummer Boulevard, are orientated along the line of the sun on midsummer’s day, and this combination of modernism with ‘60s hippy spiritualism had sparked my curiosity.

“My presumption was that if any of the original architects of MK were still around, I’d find them on the night of the summer solstice somewhere along Midsummer Boulevard. Sadly this didn’t work out, but I had much more luck attending an evening nature walk in a rainy wood run by the MK Natural History Society: this was where I began to get to know some very welcoming and genuine characters who maintain what is between them a substantial oral history of the development of Milton Keynes, some of which is now getting written down.”

“I think that having the chance to relocate and put oneself in the deep end of acclimatising oneself into a new professional environment that’s outside of academia is really valuable and of benefit to helping researchers think about the potential connections that can be made between their research and present practice.”

David Mountain – University of Manchester, Planning & Environment (2017 Cohort)

Read David’s blog here.


“The internship made a positive impact on both my PhD and I believe it will support post-PhD career. I was able to gain experience of conducting research and analysis within a large organisation, working with multiple external stakeholders, which afforded me the opportunity to develop new skills. Further, through the internship I made connections with organisations and community groups throughout the city, which has since supported me in gaining participants for my PhD research.”

Abigail O’Connor, Sociology, University of Liverpool, Steve Biko Housing association & Liverpool City Council

Andrea Lisette Aparicio Castro’s internship at Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre

“My internship has already made an impact on my PhD research and my future career, and gave me experience of working with official projects regarding migration. 

“In terms of my PhD, my internship provided four inputs for my research: census data related to international migration, the opinions and comments of experts in South American migration, knowledge about South American migration of the professionals who work in CELADE, and experience of working with official projects regarding migration.

“I would recommend the Internship Scheme to other students, as it enables deepening theoretical knowledge of the subject area, offers the opportunity to learn practical aspects of the area of study, and allows strengthening of academic and professional networks. In my personal experience, the internship gave me new perspectives of my research.”

Andrea Lisette Aparicio Castro, University of Manchester, Social Statistics (2018 Cohort)

Read Andrea’s blog here.


“Abi gained many new skills and had a really valuable experience with her internship. Firstly, she gained practical workplace experience and applied her research skills to an organisational context. Importantly too the organisation really benefited from having Abi. She worked with many key stakeholders in the city, not only enhancing her skills in communication, collegiality and negotiation but also helping to solidify network with key community actors, which is relevant to Abi’s research focus. The internship has really connected Abi with key actors and groups in the city, and she has impressed many people by undertaking this role so competently and professionally.”

Dr. Kirsteen Paton, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology

Anna Sander’s internship at the Political Studies Association’s/House of Commons Committee Office

“Aiming to gain some practical experience in policy alongside my doctoral studies, I decided to apply to the Political Studies Association’s/House of Commons Committee Office internship.

“A large part of my doctoral research focuses on analysing policies in a British context, so the chance to witness government scrutiny first-hand sounded like an invaluable opportunity.

“I would recommend the Internship Scheme to other students, as it enables deepening theoretical knowledge of the subject area, offers the opportunity to learn practical aspects of the area of study, and allows strengthening of academic and professional networks. In my personal experience, the internship gave me new perspectives of my research.”

Andrea Lisette Aparicio Castro, University of Manchester, Social Statistics (2018 Cohort)

Read Anna’s blog here.


“The internship provided me with the opportunity to understand how policymakers interact with academics and industry. This has been helpful for me when thinking about my research output and how to make sure that my research will be useful to people outside of academic circles…. I would definitely recommend doing an internship whilst studying for a PhD.  It’s easy to become siloed in your own research (and not realise this is happening), and doing a placement for a few months and taking some time away from my research was really helpful for me in re-focusing my research goals when I came back.”

Daisy Harvey, Health and Wellbeing, Lancaster University, Open Innovation Team 10th January – 1st April

Sofia Eleftheriadou’s internship at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in Melbourne, Australia

“Thanks to the NWSSDTP Internship scheme, I had the opportunity to undertake a placement at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in Melbourne, Australia. ACER is an educational research organisation with a long history in addressing learning across the lifespan and research expertise in national and international surveys, assessment and reporting, and research to inform educational policy and practice.

“ACER has also long been one of the contributors responsible for the implementation of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in Australia and internationally.  The PISA survey is of particular interest to me since I am using data from this assessment to investigate the measurement of the collaborative problem solving construct, and therefore, when searching for potential places to undertake a placement, I felt that ACER would be a great fit for me.

“I would recommend the Internship Scheme to other students, especially those who might want to get a taste of working in a non-academic context. It is a great way to develop a network outside of academia and even be involved in research projects.”

Sofia Eleftheriadou, University of Manchester, Educational Research (2017 Cohort)

Read Sofia’s blog here.

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