Student Placements & Internships

The SWDTP Placement Scheme offers you the opportunity to get work experience of up to six months in a relevant partner organisation. This can benefit your research as well as helping to enhance your CV and future employment prospects.  All SWDTP-funded doctoral students are eligible to take part. It is not usually possible to arrange a placement during an MRes year.

If you are interested in doing a placement, it is best to speak to your supervisor in the first instance, and arrange an informal discussion with the SWDTP Collaboration Facilitator, Rob Keegan.

Full-time placements are usually between one and six months although we recommend a minimum of six weeks.  Part-time placements can be longer subject to a cap on total working hours. Subject to agreement with your supervisor, placements can start at any point during your studies, but not within the first three months and must start, at the very latest, before the last three months of a studentship.

“I feel that my PhD research and academic responsibilities within the university have benefited from my three months away (on placement). I have returned to my studies fresh and revitalised, with new ideas and a new enthusiasm for my work… I would highly recommend this scheme to other students in terms of its academic, career and personal benefits.”

– Comment from a former PhD student

Funding your placement

If your placement request is approved by the Academic Advisory Board you will be given the relevant extension to your ESRC award and completion/submission date.

The Collaboration Facilitator will help you develop your application, as well as approaching external organisations and developing a formal placement agreement on your behalf.  You are also required to complete an end of placement report and work with the Collaboration Facilitator to produce a feature or case study which may be used by the SWDTP for promotion and impact reporting purposes.

Further information and all relevant documents are here:

The Natural History Consortium has a placement opportunity available for a DTP student interested in environmental communication, professional networks, inter-disciplinary approaches to societal challenges and connecting with our members’ work.

The placement focuses on our sector facing work, in particular, Communicate the annual conference for environmental communication professionals. The conference brings together representatives of media, conservation, policy and business together with environmental scientists and social scientists. Each year the event reviews the current learning about behaviour change, communication techniques, and best practice in a multi-sector environment.

The Natural History Consortium, based in Bristol, is a charitable collaboration of 13 organisations, which are:

We are inviting a PhD student to join our team on placement for a minimum of 3 months to help us better understand, support and build collaboration within the Communicate community.

This will include regular meetings with members of the NHC network, working with a small team, building skills in media archives, creation of online materials, and analysing collaboration between social scientists and the wider environmental sector.

We would be pleased to speak further to any students interested in finding out more about this opportunity, please contact Savita Willmott, BNHC Director, on 0117 9325 3931 or at

For more information on the Consortium, please click below



Interested in gaining some work experience in the private sector?  
If so a PhD Innovation Placement might be for you……….. 

The SWDTP has been allocated additional funding by the ESRC under the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) for PhD Innovation Placements and is specifically for placements with business or industry partners.

The ESRC says “in addition to providing students with an opportunity to enhance their research skills by undertaking a period  of  substantive research with  a business partner, we hope these placements will support a cohort of talented individuals with transferable skills that will aid their  mobility between Higher Education and industry sectors and  enhance their  employability”

Which sectors?
Including but not limited to….
  • Energy & Utilities
  • Healthcare
  • Financial Services
  • Consumer and Retail
  • Media, Tech and Telecoms  
  • Leisure & Tourism
  • Manufacturing
  • Logistics
  • Transport

Who is eligible?

Eligibility extends to the following:

  • Current ESRC-funded students
  • Recently completed ESRC-funded students
  • Non-ESRC students
  • ESRC-funded postdoctoral fellows

They are also allowing some flexibility to encourage new or innovative placement models that are tailored to the business environment. SWDTP is currently in discussion with a few private sector organisations about possible opportunities but in the meantime if you have an idea, a potential industry partner or are just interested in working with a private organisation or business please get in touch with Rob ( for a chat.

Please note this is entirely separate from the standard SWDTP PhD Placement Scheme.
These placements can be of varied durations but must be completed by March 2020.