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Research Intern
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

Firstly, as part of the MEng degree at Materials Science and Engineering, there is a compulsory 5-month placement that the student will need to complete between their third and fourth year. Additionally, I wanted to gain an insight into both working in the research and development in a large organisation as well as working in the Healthcare industry.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Department email

Application process

I wrote up a CV and a cover letter that was addressed to the contacts that the department had given to the students for Philips. Afterwards it was quite straightforward as we would find out who was successful and got assigned to different projects.

Main responsibilities

I was given a research project that was to design a protocol of assessing the skin microclimate as a result of occluding it with different materials. This involved doing a literature review, designing a methodology, obtaining ethical clearance within the company (so that I could perform volunteer testing) and then to both write up a Technical Note and present the data.

Typical day

My days had varied as it was a research project. In the beginning, I was focused on understanding the topic and field - as it was more of a Microbiology related project than that of Materials Science.
I had some training with regards to Data Privacy, Ethics in Research and Biological laboratory testings. Afterwards, I had designed my own protocol and was able to carry this out. After performing the testings onto the volunteer, I had to analyse the data and write a report.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I enjoyed learning a new subject - Microbiology. Experiencing how a research project works and is carried out in a large organisation had shown me a lot and has also proved to me that I am able to carry out such work.
I had enjoyed my time riding around Eindhoven and various parts of the Netherlands. Before I went to Eindhoven, I had never rode a bicycle properly and was not comfortable with the idea of cycling. However, I really enjoyed my time commuting on bike.

Challenging aspects

As the project was not in the field that I had been studying at university, it was a great challenge to understand a lot of the topics and terminology in the beginning. However, I was able to overcome this by going through literature and having meetings with various colleagues.
Another challenge that I faced was with working with volunteers. As it was during the summer vacation period in the company, I needed to be able to create a schedule that allowed to work with the volunteers and perform testings.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

I have learnt many different skills, both technical and transferable. Most notably is that I have learnt that my background in Materials Science and Engineering has been able to give me key analytical skills that is transferable into different fields. I was able to grasp and understand concepts that I was unfamiliar with ease. I had gained a greater understanding of biological terminology and testing procedures, as well as pipetting and culturing microflora.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

It has definitely made me consider pursing further studies (PhD) which has a collaboration with industry. As it would give me a better opportunity to understand and think more as a researcher and to gain the experience of working in industry.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

My advice would be that the world has many different jobs. Do not be picky or choosy between the experiences that you are given. The experience may not be in your field of depth but by persevering and determination you will be able to see a new pathway.

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Form completed: 18 Sep 2017

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