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The Micro-Internship Programme for Research Staff | The Careers Service The Micro-Internship Programme for Research Staff – Oxford University Careers Service
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What are micro-internships?

Micro-internships are 2-5-day voluntary work experience placements facilitated by the University of Oxford. These placements are designed to give university employed research staff an opportunity to further develop key employability skills and competencies required by organisations; such as commercial awareness, communication skills and team-work.

Placement dates are:

  • Monday 3 June – Friday 7 June 2019 and/or
  • Monday 10 June – Friday 14 June 2019

Whilst micro-internships are voluntary and unpaid, host organisations must cover interns’ local travel expenses (please note that this is within the relevant city, e.g. within Oxford, and does not cover inter-city travel) and lunch expenses on production of receipts. For profits organization based in London are required to pay for a Oxford-London bus pass (approx. £60.00).

If you are an organisation looking to offer a micro-internship then please take a look at our Micro-Internships Employer Information webpage.

What will I do?

The focus of the placement is to observe and assist with a notable project. There are a broad range of internships across various sectors and types of organisations. Placements will not necessarily be research based and could be anything from communications to event planning or consulting to marketing.

Projects may be self-contained or form part of a larger, on-going project. You could also be involved with multiple related projects over the course of the placement. Your experience will usually be accompanied by work shadowing, offering insight into the professional workings and daily life at your host organisation.

Quotes from recent micro-interns

“This internship was a very special experience. It was certainly a unique opportunity that allowed me to work with collections that I otherwise would have never had access to. Simply being able to handle and get to learn about such beautiful silver was incredible, but the host organization also went out of their way to make sure I got the most out of the week.” – DPhil Classical archaeology, micro-intern at St John’s College

“I think the real benefit to me has been the experience of working in a start-up and getting acquainted with the working culture of a company that is still working out how everything function. I really enjoyed this because it meant that I wasn’t expected to perfectly mesh into a pre-existing structure, but rather my role was largely determined by what I could contribute.” – MPhil General Linguistics and Comparative Philology, micro-intern at

Why do a micro-internship?

There are many significant benefits to micro-internships including:

  • Enhancing your CV
  • Potential to acquiring new employability skills such as presentation and communication skills, and commercial awareness.
  • Opportunity to utilise your existing skills in a different setting, such as problem solving and working with others.
  • Opportunity to explore career options, gain experience in a sector that is new to you, and/or experience an area outside of your field of research.
  • Providing an insight into a particular sector or type of organisation.
  • Opportunity to network with professionals with potential for further work experience or career opportunities.
Applying for a micro-internship

Who can apply?

This new pilot programme is designed especially for university employed research staff, who are currently on a fixed term contract or have finished their fixed term contract in the past 12 months. Research Staff positions can include postdocs, research assistants, bio-informaticians/technicians, college-based junior research fellows or temporary teaching staff who do research alongside.

Our internship hosts welcome applications from all sectors of the community, and many are especially keen to encourage individuals with disabilities and candidates from under-represented groups to apply.

Taking time off to undertake an Internship

All postdocs and research staff are encouraged to take dedicated time for professional development of their choosing within their contracted time according to University policy and it is advised that research staff plan development time into their year.

Current policy states that up to 5 days can be taken for professional development for those working in departments within the Medical Sciences Division and up to 10 days for those within MPLS and Humanities. Social sciences are similarly supportive but have not set specific allocations.

Ultimately, we advise speaking to your PI directly about if you are able to undertake your internship as part of your dedicated time for professional development. If you are unsure how to approach this with your PI, seek advice from your departmental administrator or divisional HR manager.

If you are a research staff member employed by a college, please contact your departmental administrator for further guidance on the college’s policy for professional development.

When to apply

  • Wednesday 13 March 2019: placements will be advertised
  • Monday 1 April 2019 (midday): application deadline
  • By Thursday 25 April: All applicants informed of outcome

Sign up to our Internship Alerts mailing list in order to stay updated about the Micro-Internship Programme.

Please note that any placements that are not filled in the First Round will be re-advertised between Tuesday 23 April and Monday 29 April. You can view the full list of Second Round placements and apply HERE.

Where to apply

All micro-internships are advertised on CareerConnect. Once logged in go to Search & Apply under the Internship Office and Skills Programmes tab, and then select ‘The Micro-Internship Programme for Research staff’ from the Programme drop-down on the Refine search toolbar (on the left side of the page) in order to identify and view all opportunities currently available. See pages 16-20 in our comprehensive guide to using CareerConnect for information on searching and applying for micro-internships.

Micro-internships are also advertised via our Internship Alerts mailing list, on our Facebook page, the Careers Service Twitter, in the weekly Careers Service e-newsletter, and on the Careers Service blog.

How to apply

You may apply for two micro-internships, although to ensure fairness and accessibility across the programme, you may only accept one placement offer (even if the placements would be in different weeks).

Click on ‘Apply Now’ on the respective vacancy page on CareerConnect and follow the instructions provided. You will be required to upload a file of a two-page CV and write a 300-word personal statement in the application form. Your CV can be a pdf file or a Word document. For CVs or personal statements longer than the application requirement, the Internship Office reserves the right to reduce them accordingly without notifying the student.

Please note that we are unable to accept late applications or applications sent by email; therefore please make your application(s) before midday on deadline day. It is your responsibility to ensure that your application has been submitted successfully and that you have received an automatic confirmation email. If you have not received a confirmation email for each application within three hours of submitting, or if you are experiencing any other technical problems, please contact

Click here to be view the complete list of the placements we have on offer via the Micro-Internship Programme for Research Staff. You can find a summary break down of each project by visiting CareerConnect or clicking here.

Application support

The Careers Office will run Application Support Sessions which are 15-minute 1:1 appointments and must be booked via CareerConnect (please see the Events tab).

If you would like further support with your application, we recommend taking a look at our website for guidance on CVs, cover letters, and demonstrating that you fit the job criteria. You can also make an appointment with a Careers Adviser.

Follow the Careers Service blog in order to receive the Application Support Session schedule.

What happens after I’ve applied?

Once the deadline has passed, the Internship Office sends all applications to hosts for selection, although does not take part in the selection itself. Hosts may contact applicants for interviews or telephone calls.

The Internship Office will communicate all application outcomes. Successful candidates have two days to accept or decline an offer. You may only accept one offer. The Internship Office will then connect successful applicants with their host via email so arrangements can be made prior to the placement week. Some hosts choose to arrange a meeting or induction prior to the placement.

Preparing for your placement

If your application to a micro-internship is successful, the internship office will provide information on preparing for and getting the most out of your internship.

Employers have given up their time to offer your placement and will have organised a project for you to undertake and therefore it is important that once accepted that you do complete your internship.


All hosts must fully reimburse local travel (within the relevant city) and lunch expenses. For-profit organisations in Oxfordshire must reimburse all travel within Oxfordshire for the micro-internship, and for-profit organisations in London must reimburse an Oxford-London week bus pass (approx. £60) if required. All expenses are reimbursed only on submission of receipts.

This information was last updated on 17 April 2019.
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Are you planning to attend the University of Oxford Open Days on 3 and 4 July?

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Where: The Careers Service
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Older posts can be found in our archive of past blogs.