Funded MRes+PhDs

The University of Cambridge EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment: Resilience in a Changing World (FIBE2) is focused on developing the next generation of infrastructure professionals who can tackle complex emerging challenges and enable better decision making in relation to existing and future infrastructure in the UK.

They seek graduates with backgrounds in engineering, or related subjects, including bio/chemical science, mathematics, computer science, data science, physics, project management, or similar discipline to apply for their 4-year MRes + PhD course in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment, for entry in October 2020.  They offer 12 fully funded studentships for UK/EU students or fees only for EU students living outside the UK. Recently qualified graduates may also be interested.

Closing date is 30th June 2020

More detail here and here

How physics is helping the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

A really interesting blog post from the Institute of Physics -credit to author Jon Cartwright

“Taken from the April 2020 issue of Physics World where it appeared under the title “Fighting a pandemic”.

The latest novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has reached pandemic status. While health workers and governments do their part, scientists are trying to understand the virus and develop vaccines and treatments. Jon Cartwright looks at how physics plays an important role in the fight.”

Physics World

Summer internships for students & graduates

Employ.ed in an SME – The Careers Service is working with a number of small and medium sized organisations to offer exclusive internships to our students and recent graduates. All internships are paid and some are supported with match funding from Santander Universities. If the internship is supported by Santander (details in advert), then the internship is only open to final year students and recent graduates.  

Internships are being advertised on MyCareerHub from 25th March – 7th April .  

Find out more here  

#Employ.edinanSME #ExperienceWorks #SantanderUniUK 

Covid-19 statement 

The Careers Service is continuing to operate a service and deliver this programme during the Coronavirus pandemic. We’re doing this remotely, in line with University and Government guidelines and in the interests of your health and safety.     

We understand that the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic is causing a lot of global uncertainty and the situation is constantly and rapidly changing.  You might be unsure about making an application at this time, however the organisations advertising through the programme currently have every intention of hiring for their internship. However, as you can understand the situation is unpredictable and it is possible that this will have an impact as the recruitment process progresses through these uncertain times. For example, you might have a virtual interview and/or internship, or the organisation might need to postpone the start date or cancel an internship before hiring.   

The Careers Service and the organisations you apply to will keep you updated as far as we can.  

Careers Service Covid -19 information: 

University Covid 19 updates: 

Keeping up-to-date

To keep up-to-date with our key advice, follow our main blog Inform.ed. We are posting our main updates there and using FaceBook and Twitter too.

We also have answers to FAQs on our website

I will continue to post interesting things here as and when but our main blog is important to follow. Just know we are still here to support you and you can find out how, by visiting our FAQs

Stay safe, sending best wishes


Employ.Ed on campus

Just an update – we are continuing with this programme.  We are at the Interview stage and have provided information to staff and students giving tips on video and telephone interviewing. We are encouraging staff to continue with as many of internships as possible and adapting them to virtual/remote internships where possible if it will not be possible for interns to be based on campus.

As we will not be able to offer the same face to face support we will start to adapt our support to online delivery. 

Funding for summer projects

I have had quite a few recent questions around this recently so thought I’d highlight some key sources and thank my colleague Deborah Fowlis for her suggestions.

Some organisations offer small bursaries to enable undergraduates to work in research during summer vacation. Successfully applying for your own funding looks impressive on your CV. Your first step should be asking the School and your potential supervisor if they can access/apply for any other funding on your behalf.

The University’s Academic Affairs Scholarships Sharepoint site highlights the Research Council’s EPSRC undergraduate vacation scholarships but closing date is quite soon (20 March) according to the EPSRC.

As well as the EPSRC one, the Sharepoint site flags up the College Vacation Scholarships. Closing date 27 March. College Scholarships are good for summer research funding. Find a potential supervisor and write a proposal yourself (often with help from the supervisor).

The Wellcome Trust offers what they call biomedical vacation scholarships. Details here show that physics is one of the eligible degrees although success may be more likely for those applicants doing research with some biophysical/biological aspect or context. The Wellcome Trust also offer opportunities in science policy.

The Carnegie Trust Vacation Scholarships is one to look out for. Closing date is past for this year but one to know about for next year

The Student Experience Grants from UoE are one-off contributions of up to £5,000 to support innovative projects that will “enhance students’ social, academic, intellectual, entrepreneurial, sporting or cultural development”. Summer lab research is eligible for funding (though you need to demonstrate the benefit to others) and any current student can apply. Twice yearly deadline

Finally, my Work Experience Resource for Physics and Astronomy students on MyCareerHub has more suggestions.

The Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest research organisations and offers funded summer placements at its three sites including at Edinburgh

For some funders you need to be second year or beyond in your degree. The bursaries are administered in myriad ways – sometimes it is YOU who applies once you have found a willing academic, sometimes it’s the participating academic .Sometimes you will have to come up with your own research proposal, but the academic will usually be willing to help (if you ask nicely). 

There is advice on the process of writing research proposals on the Prospects website (UK centred, aimed at PhD candidates – just need to scale it down a bit for undergrad projects) and also the Northwestern University website (USA centred, but same structure, and aimed at undergrad projects).

Science and Technology Facilities Council summer placements open now!

UKRI_STF_Council-Logo_Horiz-RGB NEW

The Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest research organisation. Each year they offer opportunities to undergraduate students to gain practical experience, working alongside technical experts at the forefront of scientific research.

Students can work for 4 -12 weeks at either the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Harwell, Oxfordshire), Daresbury Laboratory (Warrington) or The UK Astronomy Technology Centre (Edinburgh) on projects relevant to your intended or current course of study, under the supervision of experts in their chosen field. Current opportunities include:

  • nuclear analysis
  • software engineering
  • data analysis
  • laser spectroscopy
  • business
  • science communications
  • space systems
  • radio frequency
  • …and more

More details here

Applying to the Met office?

We got some great feedback from a student who recently attended an assessment centre at the Met Office as part of their recruitment process. She came to us for some advice prior to her interview. Here is what she reported back:

“I was pretty nervous on my way down but I didn’t really need to be. Everyone down there was super nice and friendly. We got shown around the building and got to see where all of our forecasts come from, which was very interesting.

The assessment

The assessment (1 hour) was nowhere near the level I’d been working at throughout university. The questions were on easy topics which made the assessment more an exercise in remembering how to do the easy things rather than pushing our limits. So I would advise an applicant should go over their schoolwork (Higher maths and physics) before heading down.

The interview

The interview (30 minutes) was less scary than I was expecting. There were only two interviewers, as they said that intimidating people isn’t the best way to let them get their information across.

You were right to say for me to check the weather. The first question that I was asked was “So how do you keep up-to-date with the weather on a day-to-day basis?”, which I responded with “Well, I probably look out of the window a little too often”. I doubt that many people are successful in an interview with that as their opening line, but instead of being told to leave, I was met by big smiles and being told that I will fit in really well (as that’s how the best forecasts start).

They then asked for a  three day forecast for Exeter (or back in Edinburgh). After the weather questions most of the questions were about working in teams and customer service. I didn’t find these quite so easy, but they were kind and helped me to the right answers if I didn’t hit the nail on the head first time. I left the interview thinking that it went well, and so did all the other applicants.

The outcome

I fully didn’t expect to be given an offer, thinking that it would be great assessment day experience and fun to go on a bit of an adventure, so it came as quite a shock when I got the call through to say that I had a job. Thank you very much for your time and help at our meeting. I hope that what I have said might be of some use to future applicants to the Met Office.