Are you a student and want to gain international research experience by taking part in an international research project? Or perhaps you are interested in writing your final thesis abroad or pursuing a research internship in an international environment. The ENHANCE Alliance, a network of seven leading universities of technology from all over Europe, offers a wide variety of research opportunities to students from its member universities at all study levels (Bachelor, Master, PhD). To participate in one of these research activities, you require individual contact with a professor at the institution in question. The ENHANCE Platform for Student Research Opportunities aims to establish such connections by matching interested students with researchers wishing to offer research opportunities to students.
The duration and scope of a research stay differs between individual opportunities and partner universities, but usually lasts up to 6 months and can be physical, virtual or blended. It may comprise shorter or longer terms of physical attendance at the host university depending on the individual requirements of the host institution and supervising researcher. A research stay can include a thesis project. However, this is not required.
Each research opportunity provides detailed information on how to apply and which accompanying documents may be required. You apply directly to the responsible researcher who is offering the research opportunity and who is also in charge of the selection process.
If you want to learn more about how to finance a research stay please refer to our FAQs.
A research internship, for example in a laboratory setting, as part of a larger research project is a common opportunity offered by many universities that allows students to gather initial hands-on research experience for their later career. In most cases, you will sign some kind of internship contract or agreement with the host university clarifying your rights and obligations as an intern. Sometimes research internships can be paid internship positions, but in most cases, you should expect them to be self-financed.
Most universities offer the opportunity to research and write a final thesis. This is typically an independent project developed with the support of a supervisor at the host university. In most cases, you will have a second supervisor from your home university, but this depends on the individual study regulations at each ENHANCE member university. Depending on the university, a research stay for a thesis project might either require you to enroll or sign an internship contract with the host institution.
Volunteer research stay
You can gain research experience by volunteering at one of the ENHANCE member universities. Volunteer positions typically allow for the greatest flexibility in commitment and experience level and are usually based on an individual agreement between the responsible researcher and the student. They can, but do not always, include formal status at the host institution. If you do not enroll as a student or have an internship contract, it is important to ensure you have sufficient insurance coverage.
Usually, Erasmus+ student mobility funds can be used to finance a research stay abroad at an ENHANCE university. Depending on the actual scope and structure of the research opportunity, this can either be funds to study abroad (Erasmus+ SMS) or funds to intern abroad (Erasmus+ SMP). In both cases the minimum duration of the physical mobility is 60 days. PhD students are also eligible for further suitable Erasmus+ funding, Doctoral Mobility funds, which allow for a stay abroad of up to 30 days.
In addition, many further national or local funding schemes exist. For additional detailed information on funding opportunities, please get in touch with the international office or career service at your home university.
Many ENHANCE universities offer student dormitories at affordable prices. Access to these facilities, however, usually requires you to be enrolled as a student at the host university, which will not always be the case - especially for very short-term stays. The local international office can often help you find suitable accommodation or at least point you towards local housing portals.
During your research stay abroad it is quite important to obtain adequate insurance coverage, especially with regards to health insurance. Depending on the activities carried out and the regulations of both the home and the host institution, further insurance coverage is in many cases even mandatory. This usually includes an additional foreign health insurance as well as a liability insurance and accident insurance, all of which are often compulsory for internships. You should always consult with the international office at your home AND your host institution about which kinds of insurance policies are required or recommended.
In many cases being enrolled at the host institution includes advantages such as access to housing, discounts for public transportation or the university canteen and free use of the university library. However, because enrollment procedures can sometimes be quite bureaucratic and, thus, time consuming, students generally only enroll for longer stays of at least one month or more. At some universities certain deadlines might also apply that make enrollment only possible at the beginning of each term. Again, the local international office or the admissions office should be able to provide support in this process.
In many cases it is possible to receive an official document from the host university certifying successful participation in the research stay including the number of working hours converted into ECTS credits. Earning ECTS credits might even be a requirement for certain funding schemes like Erasmus+ scholarships. If you need to receive an official certificate of completion including ECTS credits, make sure to get in touch with the host university in advance to find out whether they will be able to issue a certificate in the end.
The possibility to have your research stay and any earned ECTS credits recognized at your home university differs very much among universities and study programs. If you intend or even need to have the research stay recognized as part of your studies, please seek further advice from your departmental or study program coordinator.
|Chalmers University of Technology (Chalmers), Gothenburg, Sweden|
|Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway|
|Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI), Milan, Italy|
|Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH), Aachen, Germany|
|Technische Universität Berlin (TUB), Berlin, Germany|
|Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), Valencia, Spain|
|Warszaw University of Technology (WUT), Warsaw, Poland|
Yes, it is generally possible to conduct a fully virtual research stay, but the far more common option includes at least a short physical stay at the partner university. When browsing through the ENHANCE Platform for Research Opportunities, you will also find information about the "research setting." This can be onsite, online or blended (a mixture of in-presence work at the partner university and online work from home).