Success for School of Biosciences in International Student Exchange Programme
29 August 2013
The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) is a highly successful summer exchange programme providing science undergraduates with paid, course-related training abroad. The programme has been running since 1948 and now involves over 80 countries. The Cardiff University School of Biosciences is a long-standing IAESTE employer, hosting trainees from around the world every summer, and undergraduate students from all our degree schemes can apply through the programme for a research project placement outside the UK.
Research staff and their IAESTE trainees attended a summer reception in Cardiff Castle on 21st August 2013, together with current and prospective employers from around Wales. Dr Henrietta Standley gave an address outlining the benefits of participating in IAESTE, to the School as an employer, and to the academic and personal development of incoming and outgoing student trainees.
Research projects for incoming trainees have spanned the entire scope of the School's research interests. The students are fully immersed into the life of their host research group, and through their hard work and enthusiasm have made valuable contributions to ongoing research projects in toxicology, parasitology, plant sciences, brain imaging, mathematical modelling, biochemistry, genetics, and many other areas. Long-term friendships have been established, as well as opportunities for future research collaborations. Several research staff regularly host trainees, a testament to how much they value the scheme and to the high calibre of the incoming students.
IAESTE is also greatly beneficial to home students, who have the opportunity to go overseas for the summer after their second undergraduate year. The research experience helps them to develop as scientists, and the practical and data analysis skills they gain while working on concrete, problem-led tasks place them at an advantage when they start work on their final year projects. Application to IAESTE is competitive, and so being successfully placed as a trainee enables highly-motivated students to stand out from their peers and increases their graduate employability.
Participation in this prestigious scheme clearly benefits individual students, both incoming and outgoing, but also benefits their host research groups and the School of Biosciences as a whole. The international nature of IAESTE fosters understanding and goodwill, as well as links and contacts for scientific collaboration long after the initial placements have finished.
IAESTE employers were presented with an award during the reception, pictured with Dr Henrietta Standley and Mr Brian Herbert, Department for Education and Skills, Welsh Government. Staff interested in offering a research project to an incoming trainee are welcome to contact Dr Henrietta Standley (Overseas Student Exchange Coordinator) for further information. Students can find details of the application procedure at the IAESTE website.