Sure Placements 2024

This is our third year of the College’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Placement scheme. The scheme is designed to give LES undergraduates a first-hand opportunity to experience research in a UK laboratory, field, or other suitable setting, and to encourage them to consider a career in research. The placements are for students who wish to find out about their suitability and aptitude for a research career. Integral to the scheme is a strong commitment to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion– in particular with our recruitment process designed to encourage applications from those groups underrepresented in scientific research. Up to 10 placements will be funded. 

Please consider offering a research project – it is a great chance to give a student an opportunity for career and personal development, as well as advancing your own research.

The College EDI Lead, Director of Research, and student representatives will select the projects which will be offered.

Please complete the project proposal form by Monday 11th March 2024.

Project Criteria

An eligible project needs to:

  • Have a clearly defined objective.
  • Be led by a researcher (academic or research staff) within the College of Life & Environmental Sciences (but with the possibility for cross-college collaboration).
  • Be feasible for a student to complete within the 6 – 10 week timescale of the award.
  • Give scope for thought and initiative on the part of the student and should not use the student as a general assistant.
  • Provide appropriate supervision and skill development 

Placement Duration

Placements may be undertaken as full or part-time to allow more flexibility for students. Each placement is for 35 hours per week full-time for 6 weeks or 21 hours per week part-time for 10 weeks. Please consider if you could offer your project flexibly as full- or part-time to accommodate students with other commitments.

Placement Timing

Placements must occur in the summer vacation period between the end of 23/24 Semester 2 (ends 21st June 2024) and the start of 24/25 Semester 1 (starts 23rd September 2024). This gives a 12 week period to run a 6/10 week placement.

Support costs

LES will provide funding to support the student (paid on Grade 3) and up to £500 research costs. Students must not be asked to contribute to research costs (e.g. travel to collect data). If research costs are not needed, please do not request them.

Student Recruitment and EDI Considerations

All undergraduate students not in their first or final year will be eligible. Students must have passed their first year exams. 

We will give Birmingham Scholar students priority for 4 of the 10 available placements. Birmingham Scholar is a dedicated UoB initiative for improving student access, success, and progression, and launched successfully in September 2020. The programme is designed to support students from under-represented backgrounds. 

Students will apply to up to three advertised projects. Applications will be reviewed to check eligibility. Where more applications are received than placements available, students will be allocated to projects by lottery. This removes the risk that students from more privileged backgrounds have unfair advantage in recruitment processes. 

Students selected to undertake placements will be required to produce a written report reflecting on their experience and any research findings during the research placement. These will be used as recruitment case studies for future years of the scheme.

For further information, please contact Professor Sarah Beck


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