Research internship I typically takes place during the second master year. Although it is officially part of the second semester, this is only an administrative matter. In practice, the internship can run for an entire year.
What? Research internship II focuses on independent research work and – depending on the type of internship (see further) – can take many forms. The key element is that you independently take the required steps in performing research within a well-defined research topic, often focused on the later stages in research (e.g., prototype development, performance evaluation, etc.). The research internship II can be seen as the last step in three independent research components, being research internship I, research internship II and the master thesis. Note that this does not mean that the three components should investigate the same research topic.
Where? Depending on the type of internship (see further), the internship will mostly be:
- At home: in case the student can perform the research tasks independently without needing any lab infrastructure
- At the university: in case the student needs specific lab infrastructure to perform the tasks.
- At a company: in case the student will do an external internship, hosted by a company.
- A combination of the above possibilities.
Who? The following roles can be identified:
- A promotor (a faculty member) who is responsible for the overall execution of the research internship.
- A supervisor (typically a member of the academic assistant personnel (AAP) or non-statutory academic personnel (BAP) or this can be the promotor his/herself) who is responsible for the day-to-day guidance throughout the research internship.
- An external supervisor (optional), in case the student undertakes an internship hosted by a company.
Types? As the research internship contains coursework focused on conducting independent research, there are different types of internships that can be undertaken. Typically, a promotor might support one or more types. A non-exhaustive list of possibilities is:
- Literature study: the student undertakes a survey of the state of the art in a particular field with the goal of identifying open challenges for further research.
- Research prototype development: implementation of a proof of concept prototype of a particular research contribution (algorithm, protocol, etc.). This is typically followed by a performance evaluation.
- Definition of a long-term (e.g, 4 year) research proposal based on an intensive literature study.
- External internship: you are given a particular research task within a company.
- Repeated experiments: an existing experiment, typically documented in scientific papers, is implemented and the experiments are repeated.
Scope? The scope of the research topic is defined in collaboration with the promotor and supervisor. In defining the scope, you should take into account that one credit amounts to approximately 28 hours for an average student. In defining the scope of the research, you will (1) define the goals of the internship and (2) agree on an approach to tackle the internship (how will your report about your progress, are there weekly or bi-weekly meetings, where will you undertake the internship, format of report, etc.).