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Reinforcing the links between teaching and research: evaluation of a scheme to employ undergraduate students as laboratory assistants

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Monica Hughes, Dr Karen Brown, Emerita Professor Jane Calvert



A scheme was introduced to offer opportunities to second-year bioscience students to undertake part-time paid work in research laboratories. The aim was to provide students with a greater appreciation of bioscience research, to reinforce their laboratory skills and to encourage them to consider a research-based career. Students worked for 8 hours per week during term time and were paid at a minimal wage. Hours were negotiated with the supervisor to fit with the student’s timetable commitments. The scheme has run for five years employing 74 undergraduates and we have undertaken an evaluation of its impact on students and staff. Our findings indicate that the scheme has been well-received by students, with the overwhelming majority reporting that they enjoyed the experience, were well-supervised, and would recommend this scheme to friends. Students also reported a positive effect on their studies and that the experience had encouraged them to consider a career in research. Reports from supervisors were also highly positive. It is difficult to assess the impact of the scheme on students’ career choices. However, where destinations are known, it appears that a relatively high proportion of students have opted for higher degrees.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hughes M, Brown K, Calvert JE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Bioscience Education

Year: 2008

Volume: 12

Date deposited: 06/01/2009

ISSN (electronic): 1479-7860

Publisher: Higher Education Academy


DOI: 10.3108/beej.12.2


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