ERA Research Internships
2024

What is Equal Representation Academia (ERA)?

ERA is an initiative which is working to improve the representation of underrepresented groups, retain diverse talent and create an inclusive environment for all in higher education institutions.

ERA Research Internships

2-week work shadowing placements for students who are not in their final yearprovide the opportunity to gain a valuable insight into academic research careers. The placements are like a “try before you buy” experience. You will shadow a research group to understand the day-to-day life of members instrumental to the scientific process, including but not limited to postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, laboratory technicians, lab principal investigators, and professors. This will give you the opportunity to observe the different careers on offer in research and to develop a research network. You may also be involved in the group’s research practices (e.g., conducting experiments). You will experience academic activities from grant writing to writing manuscripts (in some instances), and you will work personally with a careers advisor to build your CV. 

8-week studentships for final year students: provide the opportunity to gain hands on practical research experience. You will be able to design a project with a supervisor of your choosing and write a research proposal. The work you conduct during this studentship will contribute towards research output e.g., a research paper, conference submission and/or internal presentation. This is an opportunity for you to grow your research interest, gain valuable research experience and cultivate your research network.

Eligibility

The initiative is currently open to students from *underrepresented backgrounds who study at either St George’s or St Mary’s, University of London. 

*If you receive a university bursary and/or are registered with the disability service and/or are from an ethnic minority background, you are eligible to apply. 

Timeline

The placements will take place between June – September 2024. If successful, you will agree on a start date with your supervisor. 

Award

You will receive a stipend on par with Wellcome Trust Internships (£250 per week). The host laboratory will also be provided with funding to cover the cost of consumables for your project and/or research output. Based on the funding we have received, we will be awarding 1 studentship and 8 work shadowing placements in 2024. Please note that this is a very competitive process. 

How to apply

Complete the e-form below.

You should only apply for one project. If shortlisted, we can discuss if you have any other preferences.

Deadline extended: 08-05-24 at 5PM

How you are marked

You will be considered primarily on the basis of the application form, not previous academic performance. As we receive a large number of applications, we advise you to dedicate sufficient time and effort to completing your application form. Tips: Read the instructions carefully, look into the project and related literature, review the aims of the ERA programme, and discuss your motivations for applying to the programme. 

Applications will be triple marked. The top 10% will be invited for a short informal interview before the final decision is delivered. At interview, you will deliver a 5 minute presentation on ‘Why is this initiative important to you, and how can you apply this experience in the future?’

Optional

If you are interested in taking on either a 2-week work shadowing placement or 8 week studentship with a lab host that is not on the project list, please contact them directly regarding this opportunity. Alternatively, if you require more information about a project on the list, please feel free to use the contact function below and/or contact the supervisor directly. 

Projects

Project 1. Analysing innate immune sensing using cellular models of human
ageing.
  • Host university: Leeds Beckett University
  • Length and type of placement: 2 week work shadowing placement
  • Supervisor: Dr Jaskaren Kohli
  • More information: Older people are more likely to succumb to infectious diseases, but the mechanisms behind this are poorly understood. We will test whether cells from older people (known as senescent cells) produce more inflammatory molecules when infected compared to younger cells.
  • Funding: This project has additional funding assigned to cover the cost of accommodation, travel and food. 
Project 2. Neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with Parkinson’s disease: impact on quality of life.
  • Host university: St George’s University of London
  • Length and type of placement: 2 week work shadowing placement to be conducted between September – October 2024
  • Supervisor: Dr Lucia Ricciardi
  • More information: You will work with patients who have just had Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery and analyse the brain’s connectivity using EEG. 
Project 3. Producing cancer therapeutic drugs in tobacco plants.
  • Host university: St George’s University of London

  • Length and type of placement: 2 week work shadowing placement

  • Supervisor: Dr Audrey Teh

  • More information: You will work on expressing and producing immune checkpoint inhibitors from tobacco plants to create cost-effective and accessible cancer therapeutics. You will gain experience in PCR, gel electrophoresis,  DNA transformation, plant molecular cloning, and flow cytometry. 
Project 4. Supporting personalised self-management interventions and Co-design research across healthcare. 
 
  • Host university: St George’s University of London
  • Length and type of placement: 2 week work shadowing placement
  • Supervisor: Prof Fiona Jones
  • More information: This placement will focus on learning and engaging with research that connects and harnesses the experiences of people living with different long-term conditions. An example is our recent project in Long Covid. We work in collaboration with Bridges Self-Management, a social enterprise based at St Georges that develops and delivers self-management support training and interventions used across the NHS. 
Project 5. Reflective practice with the Physician Associate team. 
  • Host university: St George’s University of London
  • Length and type of placement: 2 week work shadowing placement
  • Supervisor: Mathavi Vijikanendra
  • More information: The focus of this placement will be on carrying out a systematic review on ‘Reflective practice teaching in higher education’, contributing to writing it up and submitting it to a journal, as one of the authors. There will be an opportunity to attend the Advance HE’s teaching and learning conference on the 3rd of July. You will also have the opportunity to observe content from the master’s in physician associate course and spend a day in the lab, where you will be able to observe a variety of clinical diagnostic labs (clinical chemistry / haematology / immunology / PRU / microbiology / virology / histopathology). 
Project 6. Optimising sample processing for antibody measurement in maternal and paediatric infectious disease research
  • Host university: St George’s University of London
  • Length and type of placement: 8 week studentship
  • Supervisor: Tom Hall
Project 7. Understanding the role of antibody in maternal and paediatric infectious disease research.
  • Host university: St George’s University of London
  • Length and type of placement: 2 week work shadowing placement
  • Supervisor: Tom Hall
  • More information: Gain laboratory experience in the area of antibody analysis, observing and gaining hands on experience of ELISA, Luminex and OPkA assays, and an understanding of how these techniques are used to explore maternal and paediatric infectious disease immunology and the role of our work to facilitate vaccine development and licensure. The placement student will also gain and understanding in the different roles within academia, observing how technicians, academics and project managers work together to complete translational research projects. 
Project 8. Functional Neurological Disorder – developing evidence based treatment in a physiotherapy service.
  • Host university: St George’s University of London
  • Length and type of placement: 2 week work shadowing placement
  • Supervisors: Dr Glenn Nielsen
  • More information: Join the physiotherapy research team to understand how individualised treatment plans are created for patients in neurological rehabilitation.
Project 9. Mechanisms of blood clot formation.
  • Host university: St George’s University of London
  • Length and type of placement: 2 week work shadowing placement
  • Supervisor: Dr Isabelle Salles-Crawley
  • More information: During your placement you will be able to shadow current SGUL PhD students performing experiments in a laboratory. This will give you invaluable insight into what a career in research may look like. More specifically my lab is interested in molecular mechanisms associated with blood clotting with a particular focus on platelets. One arm of research is trying to understand how platelets works and become activated after a vascular injury. Another arm of my research is focusing on understanding how platelets can interact with white blood cells in particular neutrophils. For more information check out my profile and find some of my recent published papers: Dr Isabelle Salles-Crawley (sgul.ac.uk)
Project 10. Demographic reporting in clinical trials: A systematic review of the reporting of race/ethnicity, sex and age in clinical trials.
  • Host university: St George’s University of London
  • Length and type of placement: 2 week work shadowing placement
  • Supervisors: Dr Dagan Lonsdale and Dr Reya Shah.
  • More information: Our project is a systematic review building on the data that has already been collected for Phase I studies and comparing these to Phase II and Phase III studies to identify trends in reporting of demographic data over time and across regions. Our aim would be to publish the findings of this important work.
Project 11. Tranexamic acid in renal impairment – vascular surgery and clinical pharmacology project.
  • Host university: St George’s University of London
  • Length and type of placement: 2 week work shadowing placement
  • Supervisors: Dr Dagan Lonsdale and Dr Iain Roy.
  • More information: The principle focus of the internship will be in the design and undertaking of a focused systematic review of the pharmacokinetics, safety, and efficacy of tranexamic acid as a treatment for (or to prevent) bleeding in people with renal impairment. This review will inform the design of a phase II/III clinical trial of tranexamic acid use in the prevention of blood loss during lower limb amputation in patients with peripheral vascular disease (who often concomitantly have renal impairment). You will lead on and gain skills in literature search design and execution, title and abstract screening, paper review, identification and extraction of relevant pharmacokinetic, efficacy and safety data and paper quality assessment. Manuscript preparation would be the anticipated end goal of the internship. This project would suit students from, pharmacology/clinical pharmacology, healthcare scientists, pharmacy, bioinformatics, research methodology and biomedical science backgrounds, among others. 
Project 12. Assessing new treatments to stop Tuberculosis-induced lung damage.
  • Host university: St George’s University of London
  • Length and type of placement: 2 week work shadowing placement
  • Supervisor: Dr Deborah Chong
  • More information: The research is focussed on understanding how Tuberculosis, which is a bacterial infection that typically affects the lungs, causes permanent lung scarring that ultimately affects patients’ ability to breathe. At the moment, most of the treatment for TB is focused on antibiotics to get rid of the bacterial infection, but there are no drugs available to stop the body’s host response from making scar tissue. This represents a major health problem as more people are surviving TB nowadays but are left with permanently damaged lungs.

    During this placement, you will be able learn about how we model the events that cause scarring in the lung in the lab and test if new drugs can stop this process. If results look good, then these new drugs may represent a new treatment option for patients to stop lung scarring. This placement will be as hands-on as possible, so you will be able to do some the lab techniques (e.g. ELISA, cell culture, microscopy), which you may have learnt about in your course.

Project 13. The exploration of novel anti-cancer drugs on cardiac remodeling in zebrafish.
  • Host university: St George’s University of London
  • Length and type of placement: 2 week work shadowing placement
  • Supervisors: Dr Daniel Meijles and Dr Catherine Roberts
  • More information: The overall aim would be to see what certain drugs do to the hearts of zebrafish embryos that are stressed by addition of other chemical compounds – I.e., will the anti-cancer drugs stop damage or enhance it. The methods will involve treating zebrafish embryos with drugs, non-invasive imaging to measure heart rate/cardiac dimensions/function, histology for general morphology. If time permits, there may be an option to run or partake in some standard biochemical assays as directed by the results initial results. 

Complete the e-form to apply

Choose the project you want to apply to *
Please specify which eligibility criteria you meet
Your CV *
Contact Details *
After doing my placement I feel a lot more confident in my skills since I was exposed to several resources and opportunities to aid my personal development. Considering that most of the time I tend to be quite introverted, working one-on-one with my supervisor and her PhD students allowed me to ask more questions freely and gave me more time to go through experiments at my own pace, with further guidance available at any time I needed it..

Giulia Kengne Fotso

1st Year Biomedical Science student
The ERA placement has given me a taste of a research career and made me excited to pursue one! The ERA has been an amazing learning experience and I wish there were more programs like this!

Gresilda Asllani

1 year Biomedical Science student
Beyond the technical and academic skills, the ERA programme held significant importance for ethnic minorities like myself. The true testament to the programme's effectiveness was being awarded the BHF-funded PhD studentship. The invaluable skills and experiences I gained during my time with ERA undoubtedly played a pivotal role in this achievement.

Rahil Isar

Clinical Pharmacology graduate
My experience with the ERA studentship has been insightful and stimulating, and equally rewarding.

Somto Muoneke

3rd year Biomedical Science student
The ERA placement was an amazing opportunity to see first hand the incredible amount of effort and work that goes on in research. I came to this placement with very little knowledge about careers in research and came out absolutely amazed.

Javeria Nishtar

3rd year Biomedical Science student
I gained hands on experience of attaching electrodes at standard locations on the patients’ head for EEG recordings according to the international 10-20 System of placement, which was a new technique introduced to me. I also had opportunity to be involved in administering questionnaires to patients and recording non-invasive physiological measures of stress (heart rate variability). Overall, I was thoroughly captivated by the experience.

Ilyas Moosavi

1st year biomedical science student
Applying for the ERA placement was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have always wanted to pursue a career in academia but I had no idea on how to go about it. The placement allowed me to gain insight on the different careers in academia and most importantly how to apply for PhD opportunities.

Rutendo Makuve

Chronic Disease Management MSc
I was able to build on the knowledge learned at university and witness the practical applications of these concepts. I have also enjoyed being part of a team that advocates for the need for inclusivity and diversity, in research and the workplace.

Lakshmi Pathmanathan

1st year Biomedical Science student
This ERA placement has provided me with the opportunity to gain invaluable insight into research and academia which has had a positive influence and impact on the career path I would like to pursue, on completion of my Occupational Therapy BSc. at SGUL.

Maya Caan

Occupational Therapy graduate
Not only can you enhance your professional network and career development, but you do all of this with the knowledge that the ERA initiative supports such an important ethos in addressing the lack of workplace diversity.

Samia Tajbiha

3rd year Biomedical Science student
An incredible insight into scientific research, a career that is not talked about enough! The two weeks on this placement have given me valuable time to network, learn and discover the ins and outs of neuroscience, infection and immunity, while witnessing the behind the scenes of cutting-edge research.

Diyana Anthony

1st year Clinical Pharmacology student
I never considered a career in academia, until this placement. I really recommend it to everyone. Even medics. It really eases you into the iBsc. I really enjoyed my time doing this.

Lien Salcedo

Intercalated BSc student
I am honoured to have been part of such an invaluable opportunity! This combination of research and application within medicine has reaffirmed my decision to pursue this career.

Sabrin Mohamed

3rd year Biomedical Science student
ERA is a great opportunity for someone who is an outsider to the academic world. It's a humbling experience that makes you realize the amount of work needed to get in and survive in the competitive academic world.

Ruchi Wadhwa

Chronic Disease Management MSc

“2Students from ethnic minority backgrounds often express that they cannot find role models from the same background amongst university staff.”

Group 3

“Students from ethnic minority backgrounds often express that they cannot find role models from the same background amongst university staff.”

Group 3