Internships enrich physics degree
Congratulations to the first cohort of students who have successfully completed the new “Physics Research Internship” module, PHYS309!
In this pilot, nine University of Liverpool undergraduate Physics and Mathematics students joined institutions across Europe, including CERN in Switzerland, DESY in Germany, the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain and LIP in Portugal. The students worked on a range of challenging research topics, from plasma acceleration of ions using high intensity lasers, through to the use of neural networks in looking for new quantum particles.
Professor Uta Klein, the module leader, commented: “We know from graduate data that there is a correlation between outward mobility and improved academic and employability outcomes. We, in the physics department, made it a top one priority to give our students world-class opportunities as early as possible to enable our graduates to stand out. The PHYS309 module is here our newest asset, developed for our students and designed together with our students.“
The research internship module gives interested Physics and Mathematics students an early opportunity, between their Year 2 and Year 3, to experience working in a culturally different environment. It aims to provide an insight into how our students may apply the skills developed during their degree to later on in their career, whether working abroad in a research lab or in a non-academic setting.
Over the course of the module, students work for one month in the summer within one of our external partners, during which they develop a number of employability-related areas, including research skills, communication, self-reflection, logbook work and the confidence to work in teams and individually on a totally new task. The module is accomplished by a six weeks period dedicated to scientific report writing at the start of Year 3. Discussing their time abroad, our students had the following advice for others considering undertaking international research experience:
“My ability to research and apply my knowledge to solve tasks has developed and I have already been able to apply these new skills to work I’ve undertaken since arriving back in Liverpool.” - Rebecca Clews, Physics
“My advice is to take advantage the great opportunities available to you and get embrace them, not just for your CV but because you’ll have [a] great time too!!” - Edward Reeves, Physics
Professor Carsten P Welsch, Head of the Physics Department, said: “We offer our students a range of exciting opportunities for gaining international experience. They can spend anywhere from a full year or single semester abroad, studying at one of our partner institutions, all the way to short 4-week summer projects, such as the ones that were now undertaken as part of our research internship module. This boosts their skills and employability, as well as their fascination for research.”