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Innovation Internships - Student-led

The Scottish Graduate School of Social Science invites current or recently completed PhD students to apply for 50% match funding for a 12 week PhD Internship with a business or industry partner.

Stipend: £3,752 total for 3 months (3 month funding extension for ESRC students), plus expenses

The objectives of the SGSSS Innovation Internships Scheme are:

  • Provide students with an opportunity to enhance their research skills by undertaking a period of substantive research in a business partner;
  • Support a cohort of talented individuals with the transferable skills that will aid their mobility between Higher Education and industry sectors;
  • Initiate collaborations or enhance existing relationships between academic and business or industry partners leading to longer-term self-sustaining activities, including those coming through ISCF and NPIF;
  • Provide opportunities to enhance understanding in industry of what social science research can offer to their business;
  • Enhance employability through the development transferable skills for our researchers, whilst providing tangible value to a host organisation.

Funding available for student-led proposals

You can submit a proposal for an Innovation Internship any time up until Monday 2nd March.

Current or recently completed PhD students are invited to apply for 50% funding of the cost of a three month internship with a UK private sector business or industry partner. The total cost to the host partner will be £2,750, with the remaining amount matched by SGSSS. This covers a monthly stipend for the student (at current RCUK rates) plus expenses. All financial processes are handled by SGSSS.

Key qualifying criteria

Current or recently completed PhD students can apply with a business partner for funding for a three month internship. We are looking for projects that align with the UK Industrial Strategy.

You must work with your proposed business or industry partner on a project outline. You may want to refer to our Information for prospective hosts document to help with your discussions. Projects must be of clear benefit to the host, helping to meet business objectives, and must be achievable within the allotted time frame. In addition:

  • Current PhD students must be in their second year or above and registered at a SGSSS member institution. ESRC and non-ESRC funded students can apply;
  • Recently completed PhD students should be within 12 months of graduation;
  • Students on a Tier 4 Visa may apply for this funding provided appropriate arrangements are made with the host to accommodate a 20 hour working week restriction, and your HEI and supervisory team support this;
  • Placements must be within UK business or industry partners (e.g. registered as a company, partnership, or corporation), this can include SMEs and Social Enterprises[1];
  • Groups of organisations may be considered, provided there is a lead business where the researcher will be based;
  • The project must start before the end of March 2020 and can be a maximum of three months in length (pro rated for part time).
Further information
  • For full time placements, interns suspend their PhD studies for the duration;
  • ESRC-funded students continue to receive their stipend as normal and will have their funded period extended in line with the internship length (normally three months);
  • Non-ESRC-funded students will be paid a monthly stipend at current UKRI rates.

To find out more, please contact

[1] A Social Enterprise must be getting the majority of its revenue from trading rather than grants/donations.