July 26, 2022, by Rebekah
Research Internship with Data Driven Discovery Initiative (3Di)
by Ellen Partington 3rd year Politics and International Relations student
During the summer of 2021 I undertook a virtual placement as a research intern, through the q-step placement scheme offered exclusively to second students who undertake the pathway, with the Data Driven Discovery Initiative (3Di) based at the University of Nottingham with the Managing Director Dr Benjamin Lucas, who was my placement supervisor.
The application process consisted of an application form, asking me the transferable skills and abilities I possess, and what I would bring to the role as well as my motivations for undertaking the placement, and my CV.
Following my successful application there was an interview with Benjamin and another colleague from 3Di where I was asked primarily competency questions based on my experience stated in my CV such as can you please give me an example of when you have had to deal with a situation that was constantly changing. Before the interview I attended an Application and Interview Support session with the Careers and Employability Service at the University which really helped me practice coming across well virtually and honing my answers in exemplar interview questions, which we brainstormed, where luckily there was some overlap in what I practiced and what I was asked in the interview. I would therefore recommend anyone making any application that will require an interview to attend one of these sessions. I also booked the session as the last time I had been interviewed was when I applied to college back in the summer of 2019, and I was nervous and doubting my own skills and potential!
Looking back I should have not doubted my own skills and potential as I successfully secured the placement and my feedback from the interviewers was extremely positive and they were highly impressed, I basically smashed the interview with flying colours.
During my placement I mainly undertook research into University work across the world on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I undertook research into finding the quality of data and information as well as broadening my Excel skills in order to find the most important exemplar research. Because of the placement being virtual and at the time I was working from home, as was everyone else, difficulties around concentration levels cropped up time to time on work days, but I knew I was not working alone, so I would message colleagues and we would sometimes sit on calls together to feel like in a way we were working in person and/or together.
I was able to work in a team and collaborate with other students on the placement scheme, who were undertaking the same role as me virtually through Microsoft Teams calls and meetings, and we could bounce ideas off each other and collaborate to complete our research, stage by stage. As well as being able to frequently contact and chat to my supervisor about any queries I or any of the team had.
The final product of our research was that we made recommendations to Nottingham about how they could improve their work and research on the SDGs which has since been presented, where we were credited, to the Sustainable Working Research Group which Dr Lucas is a member of.
Reflecting on the placement now I really enjoyed myself and would highly recommend the scheme to anyone interested in applying, despite it being virtual, and I have gone on the continue research on the compilation of University SDG research through other roles and opportunities within the University.
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