Year in Industry or Abroad 2009/10
Our MChem degree programmes offer the opportunity to work in industry or an overseas university during the third year. The work consists of a substantial original research project and is supplemented by modules taken by distance learning to maintain contact with Cardiff University.
Read what our students have to say about this experience.
Steve Hughes – Münster University, Germany
I spent a year in Muenster, Germany, working for Professor E. Hahn on thioacetylene coordination chemistry, a previously unstudied area of inorganic chemistry. The work involved a number of advanced techniques that aren't routinely taught as part of undergraduate chemistry courses, and as such was the perfect foundation for entering my PhD studies. Aside from chemistry, the year abroad gave me the opportunity to improve my language skills and experience a different lifestyle, which most definitely changed my outlook on life.
Andy Smith - AkzoNobel Decorative Paints (Slough)
AkzoNobel are acknowledged as being the largest surface coatings supplier in the world, owning the rights to famous household brands such as Dulux, Cuprinol, Polycell, Hammerite, and Sickens. Working alongside the rest of the extensive development team, I was made to feel welcome, treated not just as a passing student on placement, but as a member of staff that was part of the bigger picture. By my second day on the job I was developing new formulations to improve the company’s famous products, and was issued my own projects to oversee. Before long I was even granted the go-ahead to launch a brand new product of my own design! However, it wasn’t just about work. The company organised regular staff events – sports days, brewery tours, and quizzes, alongside weekly games of football and rounders. As part of a large intake of 11 R&D students, we were never short of players. Nowadays I think back on my year in industry and smile; I envy the person sitting at my old desk!
April Marquick – Montpellier University, France
During my year abroad, I studied in Montpellier whereby I worked as part of a team on a tangible research project and gained valuable laboratory skills and confidence. At the end of the project, I gave a presentation and wrote a scientific report which is analogous to the final year MChem project students undertake upon returning to Cardiff to complete their degree. Furthermore, this experience opened my eyes to the rest of the world: history, art, language and culture from not only France but also the rest of Europe. I met people from all around the world, many of whom I am still in contact with today. Transferable skills, such as familiarity with a European language is valuable and so will allow you to stand out from the crowd upon graduation. I gained independence and diversity on an unforgettable journey that will continue to benefit me, and one that I fully recommend to others considering a year abroad.
Owen Bonello – Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
I spent my year abroad at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. The main area of chemistry I researched was highly air-sensitive organometallic compounds, specifically forming rare and previously unknown metal-metal bonded complexes. The year abroad gave me an excellent opportunity to experience first-hand work in a laboratory environment at the cutting edge of chemistry. It was also a great opportunity to make new friends, contacts and to explore a new country and a different culture. The people I met whilst in Australia were extremely friendly, helpful and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Ieuan Barry Evans – Solutia (Newport)
My placement year was undertaken at Solutia Inc. in Newport, South Wales and I performed the duties of a process chemist and aiding the Environment, Safety and Health department. It was a highly enlightening experience that I found very beneficial, one that I’m sure will be very valuable later in my career. While at my placement I aided various groups including engineers, IT and accountants to name a few. During my placement I was involved in two research topics, one involved monitoring the effectiveness of key parts of a new biotreatment facility, and the other involved evaluating a previous process to see if it was possible to improve it and to incorporate it into the current site as a means of expanding their product scope. I would greatly recommend a year in industry to any chemistry undergraduates as a way of seeing the application of their knowledge outside of the teaching laboratory.
Tom Edwards - GE Healthcare (Amersham)
My future ambition is to work in the pharmaceutical industry, therefore I wanted to gain valuable professional experience that came with the application of science in a real working environment. This would give me the work experience all future employers want to see on a C.V. Whilst at GE Healthcare I worked in developing a diagnostic radiopharmaceutical for the visualisation of integrins such as αvβ3 and αvβ5 in specific diseases e.g. cancers. The experience gave me an insight to how blue chip companies work and instilled in me an array of transferable skills e.g. presenting to large audiences, ICT and problem solving skills. The distance learning provided by the school also means you don’t get left behind when you come back into your fourth year.