PIPS & COVID

Note: The guidance below refers to the year group PGRs were in at the time lockdown began i.e. March 2020.  

PIPS flexibility

The White Rose DTP management team has been working to help mitigate the effects of the COVID crisis on your PhD experience. One avenue we took was to ask the BBSRC for some flexibility around the Professional Internship for PhD Students (PIPS).  We hope you understand that your PIPS should be a valuable experience, although we know times have changed and you may be finding things more challenging.  Please get in touch with your PIPS contact if you need any further advice and guidance after reading the information below.

We hope these flexibilities will enable you to still benefit from your PIPS and to make it a valuable and worthwhile experience.

We plan to organise a zoom meeting for Q&As ; please send any pressing questions to Catherine in advance. (Email: c.m.liddle@leeds.ac.uk)

General guidance – all years

Please note that certain flexibilities in arranging PIPS already existed, pre-COVID, and continue to exist, e.g. splitting PIPS into more than one placement.  You can check out these flexibilities in the PIPS Q&A for students on this website – scroll to the bottom of the list.  This could even include undertaking a PIPS for one or two days a week, if that helps you to continue to deliver your research.

We hope the following specific guidance and flexibilities will help:

Guidance for first years (@ Mar20)

  1. First years are expected to undertake a full, 3-month PIPS placement in their second or third years, as normal.  (The best time to undertake a PIPS is usually towards the end of year 2 / beginning of year 3, in order to minimise the disruption to research projects.  PGRs should discuss and agree the specific timing with their supervisor).

Flexibility for second years (@ Mar20)

  1. A three-month PIPS remains a requirement for PGRs in their second year.
  2. COVID volunteering – If a PGR has taken time out of their PhD to work on COVID-19 research or testing in a NHS, PHE or other setting, this may count toward their PIPS.
  3. Remote-working – If a PIPS host can only offer a remote working option as per their new working conditions, this will be acceptable.

Flexibility for third / penultimate years (@Mar20)

  1. Shortened period – PGRs in their penultimate (third) year who have yet to complete a PIPS, are expected to still undertake a PIPS. However, this may be reduced, where necessary, to a shortened period of 1 to 2 months, rather than the full 3-month placement.
  2. COVID volunteering – If a PGR has taken time out of their PhD to work on COVID-19 research or testing in a NHS, PHE or other setting, this may count toward their PIPS.
  3. Remote-working – If a PIPS host can only offer a remote working option as per their new working conditions, this will be acceptable.

Fourth / final years (@Mar20)

If you were in your final year at the time of the lockdown (i.e. in March 2020), and  have not yet undertaken your PIPS, please get in touch with your local PIPS Contact if you have not already done so.