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Information for PhD Supervisors

As a supervisor of a PhD student on the BBSRC programme you might have questions about how the PIPS is expected to fit in with the lab work. This page provides some guidance about the most common questions we are asked.  You should also be able to ask your student about the process or if necessary contact the DTP with any further questions.

Is the PIPS compulsory?

Yes.  The PIPS is an essential element of the BBSRC DTP and is part of the conditions of each studentship.  It is therefore expected that supervisors support their student in taking their PIPS.

When does the PIPS take place?

The PIPS should ideally take place after the Department's First Year Assessment and before the last six months of the programme.  This two-year window has been selected to allow the student to complete a full year in the lab, and thus settle into their research, and to not interfere with the writing-up process. In exceptional circumstances the student may conduct their PIPS earlier and in this case they should seek guidance from the PIPS Coordinator and Theme Leader.

Please note, the PIPS should not occur within the last six months of the programme.

The PIPS should be three months in duration, though there is some flexibility for breaking this into blocks if appropriate for the specific internship project.


Do I need to do anything?

During their first year students should initiate a conversation with their supervisor about possible times for their PIPS.  This is to encourage dialogue between you and the student on this issue.  It can be a good time to help the student identify restrictions on taking time out the lab (e.g. around conferences or crop rotations) but can also be a way of your inspiring your student.  Feel free to share any contacts you might have with your student if they are interested.

Can the student continue their PhD research during their PIPS?

There is an expectation that the student fully immerses themselves in the role they have been given in their host organisation.  This will usually mean working a full-time week with the host.  Although we do not stop students carrying out lab work in the evenings or at weekends this is not expected and they should not be made to feel it is needed during their PIPS.

Can my student work for a collaborator as their PIPS?

The students have clear guidelines that their PIPS should not be based in an academic institute or be related to the topic of their PhD.  All projects are approved by the DTP and any that appear to be too closely related to a student's research will be rejected.

Does PIPS replace all the other researcher development skills training?

The PIPS is a unique opportunity for the BBSRC DTP students but should not replace the ongoing researcher development that is an essential part of a PhD.  There is an expectation that the students will find the time for 10 days of skills training per year of their programme.