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UIDP 1-Minute Survey | Industry Internships for Ph.D. Candidates

The 2019 UIDP Quick Guide, PhD Student Internships in Industry, highlighted the value of these experiences for PhD candidates as well as for the industries that provide paid internship opportunities. There is increasing interest in PhD internships as a pathway to industry employment, particularly in STEM fields. We asked UIDP industry members about their experience with PhD internships in their organizations. Download the results.

Of those responding to our survey, 93% had hosted a PhD-level intern in their organization. Those who had hosted a PhD intern said the top benefit was to assess interns for potential employment downstream. Another highly rated motivation was strengthening the relationship with an academic lab or university, and the promise of fresh perspective for problem solving in the research group was marked by more than half of respondents

UIDP also asked respondents about major challenges in hosting a PhD intern. While concern about access to intellectual property and proprietary information was a challenge for a third of respondents, a greater proportion (43%) said scoping and preparation (reaching agreements with the university, etc.) was a notable challenge. Two respondents said they did not face major barriers in hosting PhD interns. Only one respondent said a barrier was low ROI from past experiences.


A respondent noted that the Council for Advancement and Support of Education facilitates internships for both undergraduate and graduate students in industry. Learn more.

In the U.S. the National Science Foundation’s INTERN program provides graduate students with experiential learning opportunities through research internships Learn more.

Survey fielded Oct. 15-21, 2020 among industry members only | n=15