Evaluation of the ‘Professional Internships for PhD Students’ (PIPS) programme

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) commissioned The Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Ltd, that manages the Vitae programme, to evaluate the learnings and impact from the BBSRC ‘Professional Internships for the PhD Students’ (PIPS) scheme.  

Launched in 2012, the PIPS scheme provides PhD students with the opportunity to gain work experience in a non-academic environment. The PIPS placement is mandatory for BBRSC funded PhD students; it usually lasts 12 weeks (about 3 months) and is unrelated to the PhD students’ doctoral research. The scheme aims to develop transferable skills, improve doctoral students’ understanding of different employment cultures and increase awareness of the wide spectrum of career opportunities. 

The evaluation was completed in collaboration with the International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) based at the University of Derby, and focused on what the PIPS scheme adds to a doctoral degree in relation to students’ professional and career development. The findings suggest that: 

  • PIPS placements enhance a range of students’ skills and are likely to support their employability. 

  • There is evidence of PIPS placements having strong impacts on students’ development of career thinking. 

Read more in the full report