University of Dundee

Laboratory Placements

Following the 5-week induction programme, each student will select three 5-6 week laboratory placements projects from a pool of supervisors.

The goal is to expose students to three different research areas in the School of Life Sciences so that you can acquire a range of different practical and theoretical skills and obtain experience of the research portfolios led by the PI.

Each lab placement grouping will include approximately 12-15 potential supervisors who run established and well-funded research groups. The selection of lab placement supervisors is led by the student choice. To provide information relevant for making this decision, supervisors meet with students during informal Superseminars. Students are given a paper to read prior to the meeting and are asked to prepare a question to ask the presenter. This acts as a starting point for discussion that informs the selection of laboratory placement project, and provides a unique insight into the research areas covered in the college.

The lab placements consist of 5-6 weeks in the selected laboratory. Upon completion of this, time is set aside to write up a short report documenting experience gained. This is reviewed first by the lab supervisor, then by the programme management committee. Students will then present a short 10-15 informal presentation during a 1/2-day symposium and receive verbal feedback during individual meetings with the management committee. We have found that student participation in this process encouraged and normally contributes to a vibrant discussion. If any problems with written or oral presentations are identified, the University provides support courses. We believe the programme ensures students are well prepared and supported for the process of preparing a thesis and sitting a viva examination. Following completion of three lab placements, students who wish to gain a wider appreciation of biology prior to selection of their main research project, may carry out a longer 11-12 week research project.

Year 1 Timelines

It is important to note that the supervisors participating in the programme vary from one year to the next. For example, the five supervisors selected by students for their main project do not participate the following year. This is one reason why this programme is suited to students who are interested in gaining research experience prior to making an informed selection. It is not suited to students who have already they wish to work with only one supervisor at the time of application.