SPRINT will re-open for applications during Term One of 2018.

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SPRINT is the Summer Project Research INTernship. SPRINT involves offering students the chance to undertake paid, summer internships. Each internship runs for four working weeks (twenty days) in summer (June to August), and each intern is paid a little over £1,500.

SPRINT roles involve working intensively on one project for four weeks. Duties may involve anything from arranging research groups to collecting, transcribing, and coding data to proof-reading manuscripts to undertaking literature reviews and more besides. Successful candidates will work with the same team over the course of your internship, so you will need to be quick to adapt to new tasks, willing to use your own initiative, good at working without supervision, and attentive to detail.

SPRINT offers you the chance to gain paid experience working as a research assistant under the supervision of LAEL staff-members, which can only look fantastic on your CV. And if you’re thinking about going into postgraduate study, all of these projects are superb introductions into advanced research, which will look equally good on an MA/MSc application. (Also… £1,500!?)

We have four SPRINT places available for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Who can apply?

This year, one SPRINT placement is funded by LAEL. Any student can apply for this role, as long as you fulfill the following criteria:

  • You must not have already undertaken a SPRINT placement in a previous academic year/round.
  • You must be a second year undergraduate (or equivalent) who is majoring or minoring in linguistics and/or English language  at Lancaster University
  • You can apply for a maximum of two projects. This cap is absolutely fixed, so if you like ALL the projects, you must pick wisely. If you decide to apply for two projects, each application should be on a separate form
  • Some projects require you to be on campus for the duration of your internship. There isn’t much point applying for a position that requires this if you were planning on spending summer living somewhere beyond a reasonable commute
  • Some projects only run in certain months (e.g. 01st-31st July). Again, there isn’t much point applying for an August project if you’re already committed to spending August on a sunny beach
  • All of the projects will require dedication. One full-time month is a long time to spend thinking about any given topic, so go for project(s) in areas that you’re passionate about, and/or projects in which paid work experience will really help you to stand out when it comes to applying for jobs in your chosen career

In addition to that, we have funding for a further three internships that are reserved for widening-participation students. To qualify for an internship under the widening-participation scheme you must fulfill the criteria above, as well as one of the following:

  • Your parents did not attend a higher education institution (except as a mature student)
  • You are a care leaver, or someone cared for you other than your parents
  • You received free school meals
  • You received a 16-19 bursary
  • You receive a government maintenance grant at university
  • You have a disability
  • You are a mature student
  • Immediately before coming to university, you lived in a low participation neighbourhood. Your postcode should be in quintile 1 or 2 on the POLAR3 index on this website to qualify. Lots of postcodes meet this criterion so worth checking!

How do I apply?

Firstly, you need to take a look at this year’s SPRINT projects (below), and decide which you like, up to a maximum of two. You should then complete one SPRINT application form per project and email it to Claire Hardaker using your official Lancaster email account – no printing or posting required. However, submissions from non-Lancaster accounts will be disregarded and your first application (per project) is final. We will not accept updates or corrections, so don’t let the simplicity of the form lure you into treating it carelessly.

What projects are available?

The 2016-2017 projects are now uploaded.

1617_01_JC Shakespeare: The Latin and/or French words
1617_02_JC Shakespeare: The technical words
1617_03_JC Shakespeare: The insults
1617_04_PR The bilingual brain: Studying the neural basis of language learning
1617_05_JG Edwardian Postcard project
1617_06_CH Native language influence detection
1617_07_VB #LancsBox: Corpus-based teaching materials development
1617_08_CH Misogyny in the machine

What is the closing date?

Midnight (GMT), Friday 27th January 2017. You are, of course, welcome to apply sooner. Note that the GMT time and datestamp on your email will be taken as the final time and date of submission.

When will I find out if I got it?

Once all the forms are in, a panel of academics will sit down with a large supply of caffeine, sift the applications down to a shortlist, and then painstakingly match the best candidate(s) to the job description. This isn’t usually a quick process, but we are going through the appointment process quite some time before the projects begin to give the successful candidate(s) the chance to make any necessary alterations to their summer arrangements. In the event of a tie, or a split in the panel, we may call students in for an interview. Once the decisions are made, we typically email the outcomes to students in the first week of Lent term.

I applied for TRINITY. Can I also apply for SPRINT?

Yes. As long as you fulfill the criteria, you are allowed up to a maximum of one SPRINT and one TRINITY placement. Applying for one does not in any way disqualify you from applying for the other, and if you do try for both, success or otherwise in your application for one will have no influence on the outcome of applying for the other. Similarly, if you apply for a placement but do not achieve it, you are very welcome to apply again in the next round.

What did past SPRINT students think of the experience?

You can find some of their feedback below.

“This internship has enabled me to develop skills of working intensely to short term deadlines and presenting results/findings on a weekly basis. I have also gained skills of managing and working with large amounts of data and presenting results in a clear way for others to interpret. These are skills which will be valuable for any graduate career.

I would absolutely recommend the SPRINT internship. It gives you the opportunity to be involved in the latest research findings which hopefully get published. You are able to work independently, but still have the support of the researchers when you need it. The researchers are, in my experience, friendly, enthusiastic, supportive and value all of the effort you put in and the results you present.”

–Catherine Daggett interned with Judit Kormos and Veronika Koller (summer 2016)

“I highly enjoyed participating in this internship and would definitely recommend others to apply/participate in the SPRINT program. Personally, learning about the specific study as well as learning first-hand how to set up experiments and code them has been incredibly interesting. Finding out about the results and noticing patterns in an experiment that you are very much involved in is a very positive experience to be a part of and I am very glad that I have been given this opportunity.”

–Nancy Griffin interned with Silke Brandt (summer 2016)

“Taking part in the SPRINT internship has been a real highlight of my University career so far. It gave me a great opportunity to find out what research is like in ‘real-life’ (i.e. outside of the lecture theatre!). Carrying out research has really helped me to gain a better understanding of the significance and real-world applications of some of the things I’ve learned in second year and I have really enjoyed putting what I’ve learned into practice by collecting my own data and working independently as a researcher. My supervisor, Tineke Brunfaut, was really helpful throughout the project and gave me excellent guidance, meaning that I had the right balance of support and independence and did not feel out of my depth!

Through taking part in the project, I feel I have developed a number of useful skills including making practical arrangements for data collection; learning how to carry out empirical research in an ethical way; presenting and analysing data successfully; working independently and managing my own time effectively.

I would really recommend applying for the SPRINT internship as it gives a fantastic first hand experience of language research and it’s exciting to know that the work you do is contributing to new and interesting research in the department! Plus the £1,500 pay check is a pretty nice bonus!”

–Amy Freer interned with Tineke Brunfaut (summer 2015)

“I had the privilege of working with Sam and Claire on intonation and stop consonants in Liverpool English during the summer of 2014. I was given an overview of the project and some relevant reading, before being responsible for carrying out the experiment then helping Sam and Claire in analysing the data, therefore I was able to experience a range of steps in the research process. I was given a lot of support at each stage, through regular meetings and via email, so I was confident in my tasks. Thanks to this internship I have been able to really understand what is involved in academic research and I have developed new research skills. I enjoyed learning how to use different computer programmes in linguistic analysis and developing more technical skills which haven’t been explored during my studies. Overall this internship has been invaluable in giving me an insight into linguistic research and analysis, therefore I feel more prepared for my own future research – my dissertation but also possible postgraduate study.”

–Eve Groarke interned with Claire Nance and Sam Kirkham (summer 2014)

What’s the funny little bird all about?

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I have other questions…

If you have a query and, after careful research, you can’t find the answer, then email Claire Hardaker. Remember not to email with questions that have obvious or easily-found answers – this won’t convey a particularly favourable impression of your research skills!

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