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Planning a Placement

Deliver an effective project that supports your research

A well-structured placement is likely to be a steep learning curve for a student and they will require a lot of support, particularly in the early stages of the project. It is essential, therefore, that the supervisor is close at hand in the first few weeks and provides a detailed, planned induction. Once the placement project is running, meetings at which feedback is given should be held at least weekly.

The student should be given a brief that provides a genuine and valuable learning opportunity in terms of the development of research skills and awareness, preferably involving authentic experience of a number of steps in the research process. Administrative or organisational work which prepares the way for research is not suitable. Many previous placements have resulted in joint publications between supervisors and students. If your work plan for the student would not warrant shared authorship you may want to re-consider whether the level of input can be raised.

Working patterns and hours are to be negotiated with the supervisor and the student and projects can begin after the date of the students last exam/assignment (usually early June) and must be completed before the beginning of October.

We recommend that supervisors are not absent for more than 1 week of the project and supervisory presence is crucial for the first and last week. If you will be away from campus it is helpful to have a second supervisor in place and a structured programme of work for the student to follow. Arranging to have a second supervisor is a good way of ensuring that the student always has someone to ask for help and experiences working in a team. Some previous supervisors have included a colleague or PhD student as second supervisor.

Not having all the equipment in place before the project starts wastes precious time in such a short period. Before the placement, devise a more detailed programme of work which you may wish to share with candidates and arrange an induction. Arrange all seating, printing and access issues prior to the project. Full support is available from the UROP Officer.

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