Enhancing student-faculty collaboration: undergraduate research fellowships

 Academic Initiatives

The support of alumni and friends of the School is enabling the Department of Geography and Environment to provide fellowships for students to develop their research skills. Dr Richard Perkins, Associate Professor, explains more.

Dr Richard Perkins

A common question asked by students is whether they can get involved with the research of academic staff. We have invariably had to turn down such requests, not least because of a lack of available funds to pay students, which is a great shame. For academic staff, it has meant that we have lost out on the opportunity to receive valuable assistance from our fantastic students, and for our research to be enriched by their unique skills, insights and energies.

Meanwhile students miss the chance to work with staff, learn more about academic research at LSE, and gain new or enhance existing skills. Crucially it has also been a lost opportunity for academic staff and students to get to know one another better, and to forge collaborative relationships around the co-production of exciting and cutting-edge research.

Now, thanks to your generosity, the Department of Geography and Environment is piloting a scheme which addresses this important gap. This year we are offering 12 undergraduate students the opportunity to work with academic staff in the department – from carrying out a literature review for a new research project or coding data from research interviews, through to building a social media presence to enhance an academic’s research impact. Funds will be available for the successful undergraduate applicants to work with a named academic for two weeks.

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Our ambition is that these fellowships will serve as a model for fostering a more inclusive research community within LSE that can be rolled out further across the School in future years. To this end we will be evaluating the scheme from both the perspective of participating undergraduate students and academic staff. We would like to thank sincerely each and every one of you who has donated – without your support this pioneering scheme simply would not be possible.