One of the greatest benefits of working in higher education is teaching, supporting, and inspiring the next generation. At the GCHU, we are an interdisciplinary team of researchers, clinicians, and practitioners with various backgrounds, experiences, and interests. Undergraduate and postgraduate students from a variety of disciplines are encouraged to join us to engage with ongoing research that spans healthcare and sustainable urban development. We offer micro-internships to develop research, media, and writing skills, and provide students with a taste of academic research that has potential for impact in the real world.
As part of the week-long internships, students have completed topical research reviews on healthy cities, publishing blogs, co-writing reports, such as one on Walkability, with a foreword by HRH Princes of Wales and a publication in British Medical Journal (BMJ) Evidence Based Medicine, and students are welcomed into all aspects of the Centre’s activities. We are keen that interns are helped to develop their own independent skills while forming a close team with the opportunity to meet online, and in person at Kellogg College. In recognition of the success of the programme, the GCHU has been awarded a Gold Standard Internship Host Award by the University of Oxford’s Internship Office.
We encourage and welcome students from all backgrounds across the university to come and work with us! Details on the different internships available are on the Careers Service website. Here we summarised the experiences and work of previous Microinterns that have joined the GCHU:
Summer (June-July) 2021
Eljoh Balajadia, BA Experimental Psychology
“I found this micro-internship to be very fulfilling. On Monday, Georgia and Robert outlined a clear plan for the week and pushed us to pursue a topic we were truly interested in. As a result, I had a lot of fun writing an article on a coroner’s report, which described complications from a robotically assisted surgery. I was surprised that a repository of coroner’s reports was so easily accessible and commended the innovative use of web scraping to pull relevant data from the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website. Writing an article for publishing within a week was quite a quick turnaround, especially on a topic quite unfamiliar to me; however, with Georgia’s support, I extracted the relevant information to create a hopefully compelling and impactful article. The use of robotics in any industry is growing rapidly; therefore, I thought it was topical to discuss its use in the medical field hence why I was drawn to that specific case report. Although this remote micro-internship was demanding, I believe that it was a very enriching experience.”
Bethan Swift, DPhil Women’s and Reproductive Health
“I thoroughly enjoyed my week spent with the Global Centre on Healthcare and Urbanisation. The team was very welcoming from the beginning, and everything was very organised. This was my first time working with open data, and it was interesting to see how rich the coroners’ reports were and how using them could contribute to our knowledge on preventable deaths. Georgia and the rest of the team were always very encouraging, and being able to publish my findings as a journal article will be such an amazing achievement!”
Beth’s research has now been accepted for publication in BMJ Evidence Based Medicine (In Press) and a preprint version is available here.
Louis Odgers, BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics
“As part of my time at GCHU, I conducted a research project on coroners’ Prevention of Future Deaths reports (PFDs) involving cyclists. I identified 32 reports (33 deaths) and focused on four areas of concern, including classification of defects on carriageways, structurally dangerous junctions, cycling education and ‘e-bike’ regulations. I chose to investigate cycle-related deaths because I started cycling as my primary means of transport during the coronavirus pandemic.
During this project, I learnt about web scraping with Python – a technique that efficiently collects data from websites, and gained experience on how to conduct research and think critically about the impact of research in public policy. In addition, I produced a systematic analysis report that demonstrates the skills I developed during this internship. Throughout the week, Georgia and her team were invariably accessible, friendly, and extremely helpful, always willing to take time out of their schedules to arrange individual and group meetings and allow me to ask questions. As well as giving me confidence with the project itself, these meetings also made me feel very welcomed as part of the team and that I was contributing in a positive and collaborative atmosphere.”
Louis’s research is published as a report here and he presented this work at GCHU’s Public Seminar on Cycling.
Jessica De La Haye, BA Human Sciences
“During the internship, I conducted a research project analysing the preventable death reports for Cambridge. This involves categorising the deaths, conducting a thematic analysis of the coroner’s concerns and quantitively analysing the demographics and frequencies of the reports.
I learnt so much about qualitative research methods and data management during my week. It was fascinating to see how we could take these data-rich reports, analyse them, and synthesise the findings in a way that could have real policy implications. Although I found at times it was challenging to present such rich data in a clear way, Georgia was always clear in her guidance and available to answer any questions we had. The internship was fast paced, engaging and incredibly informative.”
Joshua Loo, BA Computer Sciences & Philosophy
“I’ve had plenty of interesting work to do this week. We were tasked with analysing coroners’ reports in a particular area (i.e. Oxford) and writing a report. I also wrote code to automate some of my analysis and I improved and modified the web scraper that collects data for the Preventable Deaths Database. I added features so that it counts the responses as well as the expected responses to Prevention of Future Death reports. I wrote code that automatically displays plots that show how many reports have been sent over time and what the response rate is. Most bizarrely, I’ve written a tome of rather inelegant regex to correct the typos in the area field on the reports: it doesn’t help that there have been several mergers over the past decades. Georgia has been delightful to work with, and was very accommodating in allowing me to get my hands on the database itself; hopefully some of what I’ve done will be useful in future.”
Milan Campion, BA Geography
“Whilst the sensitive subject matter proved challenging at times, I do feel as if the coroner’s reports into preventable deaths represent a somewhat neglected aspect of the public sector, and that by engaging with them I was uncovering certain trends which may otherwise have been overlooked. Therefore, I took heart from the fact that this may genuinely make a positive impact on people’s lives at some point down the line, which has contributed to a realisation that the public sector/local government is something which is of interest to me in the future.”