September 7, 2023, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham

Evaluation of business support programmes? No problem!

Sanjana Hiremath shares her experience of a Researcher Academy postgraduate placement.

~ Sanjana

When you get a chance to work with academics at three universities, you take it! I’ve always been interested to know more about how large institutions handle their funds and ensure the governance and integrity of their support programmes. A Researcher Academy postgraduate placement focused on writing a report for the University’s business support programme called Productivity Through Innovation (PTI) (a collaboration with the University of Derby (UoD) and Nottingham Trent University (NTU) allowed me just such an opportunity.

Through my placement I got an understanding of how large projects such as the PTI are undertaken, executed and documented. To make an independent evaluation of the project, I analysed large sets of survey data and interviewed staff to gain an understanding of their opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of the project. I recommended suggestions that they could use in further projects of a similar nature, and I was able to practically apply the statistical software (STATA) knowledge taught to me in semester one in analysing the survey data.

Speaking with economics Professor Richard Kneller broadened my understanding of how firm-level productivity indicators can be used to understand the contribution of the fund to economic growth. Interaction and advice from the project managers of the other universities also helped me in my report-writing skills. The most valuable aspect of this internship was that I was able to use my theoretical knowledge of data analysis and interpretation practically and my manager was extremely helpful in coordinating my efforts in the right direction. I’m very grateful to the University and my line manager Paul Gosling for giving me the opportunity and investing their time in teaching me on this internship. He pushed me to take initiative on this internship and decide how I want to manage my time within the deadlines which motivated me to involve myself more in the project.

I would advise fellow researchers to actively make use of the Postgraduate Placement opportunities to enhance their professional working experience, along with improving their soft skills like time management, leadership, communication, teamwork and problem-solving.  A placement is an amazing way to dive into a project that interests you.

It will be important to manage your time along with your university work as it is challenging to manage both responsibilities along with your social life. However, when I look back on my experience at the University I am sure to look fondly upon the days I spent working hard on the internship and meeting the professors who greatly added to my knowledge and skills.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – the goal is to get better, not to be perfect!

Posted in PlacementsResearcher AcademyResearcher Mobility