One of the most important things for the universities in the UK is probably the research, which is the source of teaching. It was soon ago that research at the University of Sheffield was ranked very top in a survey and was accepted as internationally excellence. Actually, most of the university teachers are very good researchers at the same time. However, it is equally important that the students develop their research skills at an early stage.
Sheffield has developed several programmes to help the students to develop their research skills. This includes a large amount of independent study at their first year of the study by giving them some proper topics in their coursework. In my department, the department of Civil & Structural Engineering, I was given the topic 'Development of Civil & Structural Engineering between 1770 and 1830'. While conducting this research I had to read a large amount of materials from the library and the internet. I familiarised myself with referencing and report writing, and more importantly, developed my critical thinking skills from this process.
|Yunpeng Zhu and Prof Matthew Gilbert (Supervisor) at 2015 SURE Dissemination Event|
With the university life going, the research tasks given to us have become tougher and tougher. This includes research-based design. I was very glad that I was involved in the joint-research of our department and the university spin-out company, sponsored through a university programmed called Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience.
The programme provides undergraduate researchers in Sheffield University a bursary up to £1080 and the projects are conducted in summer. The SURE scheme also offers bi-weekly research seminars to help students familiar with research processes, organise socials that help network between researchers, and exhibitions to show the outcomes of research. I compared the similar schemes in other UK universities and I am proud to say that our SURE scheme provides most well-rounded supports for our students.
By Yunpeng Zhu
International Office Ambassador for China