Professional Internship: Career Engagement for Non-Faculty Researchers

PIPS opportunity at BBSRC (Swindon)

The Exploiting New Ways of Working and Skills and Careers Unit within BBSRC has an opportunity for a Professional Internship for PhD students (PIPS) placement to develop BBSRC People and Skills strategy and policy with a focus on the career development of research technical specialists and support staff working in academia – called ‘Non-Faculty Researchers’.

Background to Policy Development

Towards the end of 2015 BBSRC circulated a survey requesting views on careers and skills from staff that we referred to as 'non-faculty researchers'. This group included technical staff, researchers operating instruments, facility managers, statisticians, bioinformaticians, technology developers and many others. We used the term 'non-faculty researchers' as there didn't appear to be a single job title or defining term to use, and the survey confirmed this, with a plethora of job titles returned.

We received over 800 replies, showing the size and diversity of this group and the concerns and questions they had about their careers and roles. Over the last year we have looked closely at the survey results, discussed these with colleagues within the Research Councils and beyond and considered ways to address some of these issues (see our recent letter in Nature: (PDF). As part of this project, BBSRC intend to develop an action plan, and are holding a workshop on March 10th to discuss the issues with the researchers involved. 

Role of the PIPs Intern

In order to develop the action plan, BBSRC intend to draw on a number of pieces of evidence, in particular the 2015 survey and the outputs of the March 10th workshop. In addition, we will convene a steering/advisory group to help with making progress on the plan.

The main activities will be:

  1. Further analysis of the survey data to identify interrelationships, trends and commonalities 
  2. Contribute to analysis and publication of the workshop outputs
  3. Engage with other research  councils and external stakeholders with interest in the topics (e.g. Learned Societies, Science Council, HEaTED network)
  4. Help with convening and running advisory group meetings
  5. Contribute to development of the action plan

In addition to the above, there are opportunities to become involved with the generation of other outputs – including a publication of the results in an academic journal – and discussions with other stakeholders. Applicants should be prepared for some UK travel.

Questions on this placement can be directed to:

Dr Michael Ball (
Dr Rob Hardwick (robert.hardwick

Download the application form here

Closing Date for Applications:  Wednesday 15th March 2017

published on: 6th February 2017