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How do some get into research at Uni?

  1. Mar 27, 2012 #1
    Hey everyone!

    I was watching this TED talk video on youtube about a new form of battery [ LINK ] and other than all the marvel of the new invention, I was really struck by the fact that they had undergrads within their team.

    As for me, the only thing I've ever really enjoyed doing was being in the field of research, specifically inventions towards social services (as in inviting for humanity's development as a whole). However I've never found out how this was done; and by this I mean how can an undergraduate become involved in such research programs. Is it specifically university dependent? I mean if I'm not in MIT or Caltech I won't have a chance to get into any of these?

    I for one think that these kids simply have passion and assume their academic standard is pretty high so the professors take note and invite them to such occasions. That is why I got the thought of it being more university dependent than anything else. Seems like all you need is a linked prof. and then shine to get in.

    Now don't get me wrong, I don't mean that if your not with a team then you won't be able to do anything and that its not dependent on the individual. However I see it as a great stepping stone since your given the chance to think about something practical rather than the basic principles that I do in lectures and seminars everyday of every semester. It opens your eyes to actual real world problems rather than all the closed systems that your faced with in the exam with only 1 specific answer chosen by the examiner, and nothing else; no room left for creativity or research. Its either "A" or you fail.

    I'm a Mechanical engineering student at Nottingham University's China's campus. The Uk campus it self is say 150ish rank wise. However I don't seem to find any opportunities beyond studying for higher and higher grades that would lead me into the world of invention at an academic/scientific way. The closets I've seen is an innovation award here that they'll grant you funds for an idea; but then that seems like jumping in the ocean to swim all alone when you still don't know how to swim in your houses' bathtub. I understand that I'm still early in my academics and its better to walk before you run, but you never know if the opposite might work out even better. I personally feel like I'm made for this, so all I need is to know how to get into it.

    So what do you guys think? how would one get themselves into this field or research and invention?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2012 #2
    I'm a materials science student in the UK. Everyone who does an 'honours' degree has to do an individual research project in their final year which is part of a wider research group, so undergraduates attached to research groups is pretty common. There are also lots of summer placements that also deal with real research.

    I'm just saying these students happen to go to a university that does this too, not that they are particularly brilliant. It's a shame that your uni doesn't.

    If you want to research, do a doctorate. Doctorates are basically 3 years of training to become a researcher.
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