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REF impact evidencing placements
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I was offered this opportunity by my supervisor of my final year project. He was involved in an area of the department that, as students, we are often unaware of. I decided to do this placement to give me a unique insight to the workings of a science department in a university and develop skills and knowledge that will be vital to my future career.

How did you find your placement/internship?

My supervisor of my final year project.

Application process

I was offered this by my supervisor and so did not go through a formal application process. I did, however, attend a training day before beginning.

Main responsibilities

My responsibility was to collate evidence to support case studies that were being submitted by the department for the next REF. This evidence could come from anywhere, but must show an impact of the work outside of just initiating further academic research.

Typical day

Most of my placement was spent on the computer, searching the internet for evidence. I spent a lot of time reading through old patient forums, contacting people that run these and finding published information about sales data. As part of this placement, I also spent some time in the lab, where I cultured cells for use in one of the impact case studies.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I enjoyed finding out about the REF process. REF was not something I was previously aware of despite it being such an important aspect of the research I plan to be involved in. I also enjoyed being able to speak to patients and carers about how a drug has had such a positive impact on their live.

Challenging aspects

Finding sales figures proved very difficult and took up a lot of my time. Companies often don't like to publish this information and without paying it was hard to get hold of the numbers.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

The ability to find relevant and trustworthy information and to search PubMed initially.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

I would like to involve patients directly in my PhD research somehow

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

Team up with people doing the same thing! I met up with another student and it was nice to know that we were both struggling with exactly the same things (and that it wasn't just me being rubbish!). We were able to give each other tips to make things a lot easier.

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Form completed: 04 Jul 2018

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