Work placements

Students are strongly encouraged to undertake a work placement.  CASE students are encouraged to undertake work placements if the placement opportunity broadens their professional experience.

Placements should capitalise on the scientific knowledge and skills of the student within a non-academic environment.  Students could experience a range of training opportunities in a variety of activity areas by placement institutions (e.g., science-policy interface, business administration, commercial research and development, publishing, consultancy.  Placements should offer a work experience whose results are not part of the student’s primary PhD project. Example placements might include:

  • Industry:
    • a short research project that could include field- or desk-based activities
    • review or analysis of manufacturing, processing or production techniques
    • non-research roles such as:- marketing publishing or sales, business development, project management, legal offices, internal audit
    • environmental consultancy
  • Teaching: in schools, using the Researchers in Residence scheme, or through other mechanisms
  • Policy: developing policy or working in a related setting (e.g., a government department, local authority, non-departmental public body, NGOs, professional association, charity, research funder)
  •  Media: a wide variety of roles are possible here that help students understand the wider societal context of their research. Such secondments could include working in science communication roles or other roles in:
    • commercial press office
    • science publishing company
    • zoo, museum or botanic garden


  • We expect students to undertake their placements in their 2nd or 3rd year of study.
  • Work placements are to be at least 1 month long and up to 3 months or more.
  • The DTP will provide one month’s extra stipend if salary costs cannot be covered by the organisation, in addition to its 3.5 years of funding per student, to undertake a placement.
  • Placements longer than 1 month may be considered, but no extra funding will be provided by the DTP. Students can use their stipend to cover the extra time (up to two extra months), but it is preferred that any extra funding be provided by the hosting institution/organisation. Any placement longer than 3 months will need to be funded by the hosting institutions/organisation
  • Students cannot suspend or interrupt their studies if their stipend is paid from the DTP.  If a placement period is funded by the hosting organisation then a student can suspend for that period of time.
  • The hosting organisation is expected to cover costs directly incurred by the student as part of the placement including any transport or accommodation costs associated with the placement, although it may be appropriate for the students to use their training credits budget to defray some of these costs.


Students should approach prospective host organisations/institutions/companies and ask them to provide a written job description to the student.   These job descriptions need to be submitted to the DTP Hub at for approval by the Research Theme Board.

Once job descriptions have been validated, start/end dates need to be decided upon between the student and the hosting organisation in conjunction with the student’s supervisor.

Following the placement, students will be asked for feedback on their placement opportunity through a standardised reporting form and students may be asked to present their placement opportunities at the DTP annual conference. 

NERC GW4+ Work Placements Manual 2015-16

Download (PDF, 20B)

NERC GW4+ Job Description Form

Download (DOC, 20B)

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