Student Research Internships as a Mechanism for Research-led Teaching

Jonathan Hook, Department of Theatre, Film and Television; Glenn Hurst,
Department of Chemistry; Andrew Ferguson, Careers and Placements (Student and
Academic Services), University of York


Each summer many students complete a research internship at the University.
These typically involve working with staff to complete short, focused projects in their research areas. With the introduction of the Laidlaw Scholarship, there are new opportunities to facilitate such projects. Internships can provide a direct route to engage students with research during their learning journey – offering opportunities to develop cutting-edge subject knowledge and skills that may not be easily introduced within the taught curriculum, and insight into the fulfilling career of research. Working with student interns can also be highly beneficial to staff, allowing for novel and adventurous ideas to be piloted without the overhead of applying for external funding.

The effective design and facilitation of research internships is not an easy task. Staff must negotiate challenges including: funding student participation and resources; scoping questions and objectives so that they can lead to genuine research innovation, while remaining attainable within the timeframe and capabilities of the student; and tailoring research supervision to cater for the different needs of undergraduates. In this workshop we will create a forum for staff to share experiences of research internships – including our own comprising 21 projects over the past 3 years, and membership of the Laidlaw funding panel.

We will begin with a presentation of lessons learned from case studies. We will then facilitate participants to learn from each other through the collaborative sketching of brief plans for internships. We will invite previous interns to share their experiences.

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