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Research and Development Intern
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I decided to do a placement as it would give my CV that much needed facelift for when I graduate. Philips is a world renowned company and would give me that edge to differentiate between other graduates.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Department email

Application process

We provided our placement leader (adrian leyland) with our CV's and a cover letter as to why we would be suitable for the role, this information was then passed onto an individual in Philips who decided whether we could be of use to the department.

Main responsibilities

My main responsibilities included:
Materials characterisation & mechanical testing of polymeric foam samples
• Qualitative and quantitative data analysis
•Integration of relevant foams and concepts into existing wearable devices
•Representation of product prototype concepts using Solid Works 3D models
•Manufacturing of product prototypes on demonstrator level
•Prototype development based on user feedback
•Liaising with international foam suppliers and manufacturers
•Production of a scientific technical note outlying all the protocols and results achieved

Typical day

I was involved in materials characterisation testing on a daily basis, with data analysis becoming quite a focal part of the placement because of this. I was also lucky enough to be a part of sales meetings between Philips and supplier companies. I had weekly meetings which allowed me to express my findings with the company each week.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I liked the fact that it showed me what I'm capable of. It also opened me to the world of product development, a career I am now going to pursue in my final year of university.

Challenging aspects

One of the initial challenges of my job was conforming to the dynamics of a European company. As Philips was based in the Netherlands, I had to become familiar with the way in which they run business meetings, plan their projects and also the language barrier in some cases. Some of the meetings I attended were carried out predominantly in Dutch and as a result, my supervisors had to give me a summary afterwards. This meant I had to become ‘up to speed’ relatively quickly, and I often found it quite difficult to keep up.
The second challenge I faced was not being familiar with the material I was working with. I had never worked with polymeric foams prior to this placement, and as a result, this was quite daunting to me at the beginning. To overcome this, I carried out a literature review to become comfortable with the material. This made me a lot more comfortable within my project and allowed me to continue my project with confidence.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

I used a series of my university based skills for my placement. Firstly, my presentation skills I gained within my Industrial Training Programme allowed me to be confident in my weekly presentation meetings. I also used some materials knowledge within mechanical testing processes. I required general knowledge about polymers under compression as I was testing polymeric foams, my experience on a compression machine within university also made this experience a lot more efficient. A lot of the decisions I made about materials were of a qualitative nature, not quantitative. As a result, my university skills gave me the confidence to make these qualitative decisions throughout my placement. As a whole, my university skills were extremely important in my placement.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

Definitely, I have already started looking for R&D product development based graduate schemes.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

Ask questions, people are there to help and want you to get the most out of the situation.

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Form completed: 20 Sep 2017

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