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Research Experience Placements – Summer 2021

Research Experience Placement is a summer placement scheme funded by NERC, aimed at undergraduate students to address demographic and diversity-related challenges in the environmental sciences as well as thematic skills gaps (e.g. quantitative skills).

SENSE REP students will become part of a network with our interns at all base locations. We will opportunities for interns to network with each other and the current SENSE PhD students. We plan to keep in touch with our interns after they complete their internship and support them with their future PhD applications whether they decide to apply to SENSE or another PhD programme.

Students taking part in a SENSE REP in 2021 will be guaranteed an interview for a SENSE studentship for our next round of recruitment for entry in 2022.

Placement Details, Funding and Reporting

  • We have 10 REPs available for the Summer 2021 – 5 at the University of Edinburgh and 5 at the University of Leeds.
  • Placements duration is 6 weeks full time the summer vacation period (mid-June to the end of August). They include 4 days of annual leave which will have to be taken in agreement with the project supervisor. Exact dates will be at the discretion of the project supervisor.
  • Placements are paid at the University grade UE03 (£345.38 per week).
  • Due to COVID 19 all placements will be available to be completed by remote working.
  • There is no additional cost available for relocation.
  • Students will need to be in the UK due to employment regulations.
  • The student and the project supervisor at the host organisation will be required to complete a brief online report on the outcome of the placement at the end of the placement.

Eligibility of students

Be studying for an undergraduate degree (minimum second year) in a any science discipline (this includes maths, engineering, computing, geosciences and all sciences) however you may not apply to complete an internship in the department you are currently studying in (you may apply for an internship in the same department in another university)

Applications are open from students from all universities not just the host universities however potential applicants should be aware that no relocation or travel costs will be paid.

Students must meet ALL of the following criteria to be eligible to apply for a REP. The students must:

  • Be undertaking their first undergraduate degree studies (or integrated Masters) in a UK Higher Education institution – Year 2 onwards;
  • Be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree;
  • Be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding, i.e. be either:
    • an UK citizen OR 
    • an EU citizen with pre- or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme OR 
    • a non-EU citizen who have obtained the right to remain in the UK – known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’ (ILR) OR
    • an International/EU student already studying in the UK and currently under a Tier 4 or Student Route Visa with validity until at least September 2021

REPs do not meet the requirements for a visa request therefore non-UK students who are not currently living in the UK or who are without a suitable UK visa are not eligible to apply.

Internships Available (please note more will be added)

At the University of Leeds:

Detecting water leaks from space

Samuel Bancroft/Professor Andy Challinor

Quantifying the impact of the 2015/2016 El Niño event on regional wild-fire-induced ozone air pollution using Earth observation and modelling

Supervisors: Dr Richard Pope

Investigating changing surface melt patterns on the Antarctic Peninsula

Supervisor: Dr Ben Davison, Dr Anna Hogg

Dust storms in the Sahara and Sahel: nowcasting and its application to understanding dust emission and transport

Supervisor: Professor John Marsham

Assessing the benefits of trees outside woodlands using earth observations

Dr Cat Scott, Dr Hannah Walker (Forest Research); Anna Gugan (Uni of Leeds)

Understanding extreme weather caused by convective storms in south-east Asia

Supervisors: Dr Simon Peatman, Dr Julianne Schwendike, Dr Cathryn Birch

At the University of Edinburgh:

A multidisciplinary approach to quantifying oceanographic pathways around Antarctica and their impacts on climate

Dr Amber Annett (University of Southampton), Dr Sian Henley (University of Edinburgh), Dr Alice Marzocchi (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton)

Supporting the development of a Children’s vulnerability to climate change index in Uganda

Supervisor: Dr Gary Watmough

Poverty Estimates in Mozambique and Zimbabwe Using High Resolution Satellite Data

Supervisor: Dr Gary Watmough, Peter Hargreaves

Mapping forest height in Ghana to support carbon-based conservation

Supervisor: Professor Ed Mitchard

Investigating the potential of Earth Observation data for Conservation Management

Supervisor: Dr Murray Collins, Professor Ruth King, Dr Stuart King

Application Process

Applications for the summer REPs 2021 will open on 26th April 2021 with deadline for application midnight on 16th May 2021.

Please note that the application process for the University of Leeds and University of Edinburgh will be different. However for both institutions the following documents will be required. Please make sure you indicate clearly which project you are applying for.

A current CV (including contact details for two referees)

A short (one page) statement on your motivation for applying for a placement

A transcript of current marks (a screen shot from your university record system is sufficient)

To apply for a placement at the University of Leeds

Apply for a placement using this form and you must also email supporting documents to

Only applications with both a form and supporting documents will be considered – it is your responsibility to ensure you have filled in the form and emailed your supporting documents.

To apply for a placement at the University of Edinburgh

Indicate your interest in a placement by completing this form and you must also email supporting documents to

Applicants will then be invited to complete a University of Edinburgh online application form once this has been made available on the university People and Money system.

Deadline Midnight on 16th May 2021.

All shortlisted applicants will be required to attend a short online interview with the project team.

Successful candidates will be notified in early June.