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Developing Leaders: Widening the Pool of Research Experience

last modified Sep 09, 2011 02:27 PM
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has allocated the University of Cambridge a small fund to enable individuals who are currently in non-research roles to work as research interns for short periods in a typical research environment. The objective is to encourage them to consider research as a career, or to re-enter the research arena after a break, and thus broaden the diversity of backgrounds and experience represented in the EPSRC sponsored pool of researchers.


The deadline for submission of applications is 14th October 2011. Successful awards will be announced by 30th October 2011.

Ideal candidates would be people who might not have taken a typical research career path or have had a career break and are looking to return to their research careers. Examples of individuals who could be encompassed within this scheme include (but are not limited to):

  • Members of staff who didn’t follow the traditional route into a research career or may have not considered a research career in the past (e.g. technicians).
  • Individuals who have had a break in a research career and are looking to return (e.g. those who have had a career break to raise family or who left the University to pursue a different career path).
  • Individuals currently in a research & development role in industry, who are considering a research career at the university.

The scheme doesn’t intend to be overly prescriptive, so individuals with a different background than the above are also invited to apply.

Eligibility and scheme requirements:

  • The applicant should have a good first degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subject, a first or a 2.1.
  • The applicant should have a mentor, a University of Cambridge academic who has agreed to supervise them for the duration of internship, and should discuss the application with their mentor before applying.
  • The department where the candidate will be based should agree to host the internship.
  • Projects should be in thematic areas aligned with EPSRC remit.
  • Academic mentor will be the internal grant holder.
  • Requests for funds should not exceed £20,000 in total, based on direct costs. The funds should be used mainly to fund internship employment cost. A small amount can be used to cover cost of consumables – up to £3,000 and that should be justified in the proposal.
  • Spending has to start in November 2011 and funds have to be spent by 30th June 2012.


Applications should be sent to by 14th October 2011.

The application should include:

  • Case for support no longer than 2 sides A4; Times New Roman 12 font. The case for support should include a description of why the candidate should be funded by this scheme and what is the motivation for applying as well as the objective of the proposed project. It should also identify the alignment with the EPSRC portfolio.
  • 2-page CV
  • Support letter from the University mentor – an academic who has agreed to act as a supervisor or an advisor for the duration of the internship and whose research area is aligned to the EPSRC portfolio.
  • 2 references from referees who know the candidate well and can comment specifically on his / her potential for development as a future leader of research. One of the referees can be the same person as the University academic mentor.
  • Letter from the Departmental Administrator or Head of the University Department where the applicant will be based, confirming that the Department has agreed to host the internship.

The applications will be reviewed by senior academic colleagues. We aim to announce successful awards by 30th October 2011. Spending will have to start in November 2011 as the funds are available with a very tight spending schedule and will have to be spent by 30th June 2012. We expect to award up to 10 awards from this scheme.

If you have any further queries on the scheme please contact