A work placement being offered by the University of Sheffield pays below the minimum wage

2017 participants received just £5.19 per hour for their work


A full-time placement offered by the University of Sheffield and Insigneo is paying students considerably below the minimum wage.

The work, which is currently being advertised to undergraduate students, will last between eight and twelve weeks from June to August.

It spans a maximum of 440 hours of work for the Insigneo Institute for In Silico Medicine.

The application form for this year's scheme states that "a bursary will be paid", although no specific details are given of how much this will be.

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The Tab have now learned that the bursary offered in the same scheme last year amounted to £2,300.

For students taking on the 440 hours, this works out as just £5.19 per hour, which is below the minimum wage for 18 to 20 year olds (£5.60), and the minimum wage for 21 to 24 year olds (£7.05).

The University of Sheffield have insisted that the bursary is not intended to function as payment, and exists to cover living costs, rather than count as pay.

However, the word "work" is used repeatedly in the placement advertisement.

Concerns have been raised about the accessibility of the internship to working class and disadvantaged students, especially as the bursary amount is not specified.

A spokesperson for the University of Sheffield said: "The Insigneo Institute operates a popular summer research experience programme designed to enable undergraduates at the University of Sheffield to experience a research environment specialising in In Silico medicine, and to learn research skills which will enhance their employability in this area.

"Each student is offered a bursary to help with their living costs in line with other student experience schemes. This bursary is not equivalent to a wage or salary."

The job is currently being advertised as follows:

"This summer the Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine will be offering up to 15 summer placements for University of Sheffield undergraduates to work within the Institute.

"The work will be for 8-12 weeks (depending on the project) from June-August with some preliminary work during the second half of the Spring semester (440 hours maximum including 20 hrs of preparatory and reporting activities). A bursary will be paid.

"Students will work on experimental and computational projects relating to in silico Medicine."

The application deadline for the scheme is listed as 12 March.

The Tab Sheffield

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