Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

Month: February 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme launches placements for 2016

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) is about to launch its summer research placements for 2016.


UROP provides exciting opportunities for undergraduates to work with staff on research projects across the University, contributing directly to the creation of knowledge, building new skills and strengthening the link between teaching and research.  UROP placements are paid a bursary of £1,320 and last six weeks over the summer break, or can be part-time over a longer period. The scheme is only open to University of Reading students in their middle years of study (i.e. not first or final year students).


The University of Reading is one of a select number of UK universities to run its own UROP scheme and there have been over 400 placements funded across the university since 2006. As a student, a UROP placement can make a significant contribution to your transferable skills, employability and understanding of the research environment.


UROP placements and training can be used towards the RED award and further information on the elements of the UROP programme can be found here. Each individual project will have information on start dates and how to apply and can be found on the placements section of the UROP website. These will be published during mid-February.


For students wishing to find out more about the scheme, what it can offer and to hear experiences of previous students, the Careers Centre will be running UROP Information sessions on the following dates (please register via My Jobs Online):


Friday 12th February  : 1pm-2pm, Palmer 103

Monday 22nd February  : 5pm-6pm, Palmer 106

Wednesday 2nd March : 1pm-2pm, Palmer 103


If you should have any further questions about the scheme, please contact Daniel Mitchell at

Applications for the Vice-Chancellor’s China Scholarship Scheme are now open!

china scholarships

The Vice-Chancellor’s China Scholarship Scheme – a scheme in which a number of students are provided with full funding for a place at one of two summer schools in Beijing, China – is now open for applications.


During a trip to China in November 2013, the Vice-Chancellor visited some of the University of Reading’s key partners and learnt that they provide Summer Programmes that allow international students to visit and learn more about China and Chinese culture. The scheme was launched in summer 2014 and provides a maximum of £3,000 per student which covers flights, accommodation and visas (organised and booked by the University) and a daily stipend for food and drink.


Currently, there are two partner universities that offer the opportunity to visit and these are Peking University and Renmin University – both of which are top ranked universities in Beijing, China. Both offer summer schools that last approximately 28 days and offer the chance to take modules such as: Chinese culture, Chinese language, the politics of China, the Economy of China and Chinese literature.


The scheme is only open to UK and other nationals (who don’t hold a Republic of China passport, and are able to secure a visa); and participants must return to the University of Reading for a minimum of 12 months further study following completion of the Scholarship programme.


Students who are interested in the scheme can attend the ‘Opportunities in China: Internships and the Vice-Chancellor’s China Scholarship Scheme’ session, which is running as part of the Reading Culture Day. The session will take place on Wednesday 17th February, 4-5pm in Palmer G02 and will provide an opportunity to find out all about the scholarship scheme, as well as having the chance to hear from the 2015 China scholars about their experiences.


To apply for the scheme, please fill out an online application form. The deadline for submissions is Friday 25th March and interviews will take place at the beginning of the summer term. If you have any further questions, please contact Daniel Mitchell or visit the Vice-Chancellor’s China Scholarships website.

The URS Project Drop-in Surgery: 25 February


As you may be aware, the URS building is going to be redeveloped, to create a new space for the School of the Built Environment and School of Arts & Communication Design, which will be based there in the future.

Hawkins Brown, architects on the project, have arranged a drop in session to inform staff and students about the URS Project development proposals.


Event: URS Project Drop-in Surgery

Date: Thursday 25 February 2016

Time: from 1pm until 4pm

Venue: Second Floor Common Room (Room 2s10) in the URS Building.


This event is open to all students and staff from the School of the Built Environment and School of Arts & Communication Design – and to others interested in the development proposals.

It will be a drop-in session with exhibition boards about the URS Project and the Architects will be there to talk through the proposals and answer any questions. There will also be questionnaires to obtain any written feedback.

If you have an interest in the project, why not come along?


Your personal safety

Being at university means getting a first taste of independence – knowing you can stay out as late as you like, meet new people and make your own rules. But it’s also worth remembering that your new freedom comes with new responsibilities. Below are a few tips to ensure your personal safety – so that fantastic night out doesn’t become the night you wish you could forget.

Our top 4 tips:

  • If you’re going out, make sure a friend or flatmate has your mobile number. Let them know where you’re going, and what time you plan to get back.9590 (1)
  • When you’re out, don’t leave your drink unattended, and keep track of what you’re drinking.
  • If you can, try and leave with a friend or a group of friends.
  • Don’t let anybody into your room if you don’t yet know them well enough.


More things to think about…

Before going out

  • Why not cook a group meal, and get to know your flatmates a bit better? There’s nothing worse than drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Plan ahead for getting home – especially if you’re going somewhere you don’t know.
  • Charge your phone before heading off.
  • Save a reliable and recognised taxi number in your phone; the University’s Security Services team will be able to recommend a company.
  • The Security Services team can also supply personal attack alarms.
  • Anti-spiking bottle caps, and drink detective kits are available from University bars or RUSU.

When you’re out

  • Never accept a drink from a stranger. If you feel ill or drunk when you shouldn’t, your drink could have been spiked.
  • Don’t feel pressured to drink if you don’t want to. You can always try a few soft drinks too.
  • Walk away from conflict or a tense situation. Alcohol fuelled fights at 2am are never a good idea.
  • Try to stay in a group, and look out for each other.

Heading home

  • Let your friends know if you’re leaving.
  • On the bus? Don’t sit in an isolated area.
  • If you decide to walk, stick to well-lit paths and busy areas.
  • When you’re walking, stay alert. Don’t get distracted by your mobile or headphones.
  • If you think you’re being followed, cross the street. If it persists, get to the nearest busy location and phone the police on 999.
  • If you feel nervous at night walking through campus or back to your room, the University offers a chaperone service.
  • When you get back to your room, have your keys ready before you get to the door, so you can get straight in. Always lock your door when you’re in your room.

Day to day

  • Be aware of campus security – they can help in case of an emergency. See the links below for more information.
  • Be aware of campus surroundings. Although the university environment is generally a safe place, it is not a ‘bubble’.
  • Don’t let anybody into your room if you don’t yet know them well enough.


For more information, see:

Blackboard unavailable during overnight upgrade 17th – 18th February


bbThe Blackboard VLE will be unavailable from 20:00 GMT on Wednesday 17th until around 08:00 GMT on Thursday 18th February while an upgrade takes place.


Turnitin will also be unavailable while this upgrade takes place.


This is a fairly minor upgrade, but it does bring some welcome usability enhancements and bug fixes – for instance, after the upgrade Windows 10 users will be able to use the Microsoft Edge browser to access Blackboard.


We have scheduled the upgrade to take place as an overnight process in Enhancement Week so as to minimise disruption.   However, apologies for any inconvenience this may still cause.

Alumni of the Year Award


In 2008 the University of Reading established our Alumni of the Year Award.

This year we will be adding three new categories to the award scheme. As a current student, we’d love you to vote too! Maybe you met a member of alumni whilst on a placement, or you have a friend who’s already graduated and doing great work. Whatever the circumstances, get involved!

Nominations are sought for the following awards: Volunteer of the Year, Donor of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year. For more details, please visit the alumni page here.


RUSU elections

School Rep 4


Nominations for RUSU Elections 2016 are open until 10th February. Do you want to campaign for the rights of thousands of students in Reading? Then put yourself forward for one of the positions available and be the change you want to see in your union! Find out more here.

Below are the positions available:

RUSU President

Education Officer

Welfare Officer

Student Activities Officer

Diversity Officer

Disabled Students’ Officer

Women’s Students’ Officer

BAME Students’ Officer

LGBT+ Students’ Officer

International Students’ Officer

Mature Students’ Officer

Environment & Ethics Officer

London Road Students’ Officer

Student Trustee

School Rep

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