Department of Materials


18 Feb 2020

Biomaterials student on placement at Innovia Films

All our undergraduate courses provide the option of a year out working in industry. This week, we spoke to Amy, a Biomaterials Engineering student, who is currently based at Innovia Films. Amy told us why she decided to study her chosen subject, as well as the benefits of a year out in industry.

“Biomaterials Engineering was the perfect combination of my love of Chemistry, Biology and Product Design (which were my A Level subjects). I also loved the idea of a challenging engineering side to the degree and the course featured a variety of subjects from pure maths and programming to CAD work and anatomy. I felt it was an area of science and engineering in which I could really make a difference in the future, whether that be in academia or in industry, with the added opportunity of a placement year. 

The department were incredibly supportive when initially searching for placement opportunities. We received many emails from the department that advertised opportunities and placement fayres that hosted lots of companies were frequent and a great place to network. The Careers Network based on campus were available to check CVs and provide mock interviews. Personally, I really appreciated my personal tutor meetings where the idea to apply for the company I work for now originally came up.

Working within the plastics industry was definitely an area of interest to me, especially with the public interest around sustainability and the environment at the moment. The industry is moving forward on this topic and I thought it would be exciting to be part of helping the current push towards conserving our environment.”

My experience

“I’m currently working in the Analytical Department of R&D at Innovia Films. A lot of work is based around materials characterisation of polymers and testing new product ideas. I’ve been trained in thermal analysis techniques, spectroscopy and microscopy. I had learnt these techniques in lectures but to really see them in action and be trusted to run the equipment every day really solidifies what you’re taught on the course. After placement, I think it will be easier to understand concepts because I can imagine how they would be implemented in industry.”

Placement highlights

“I’ve loved heading up a research project on the current hot topic of recycling plastic packaging. The feeling of joy, excitement and relief that comes with a break-through in research is definitely a highlight for me so far this year. Also, the company is based in the north of Cumbria which means I have the blessing of living in the Lake District for a year. The scenery is beautiful and outdoor adventure has become a new passion, one I wouldn’t have discovered without a placement!

I was a little nervous about working within the plastics industry, especially with all the negative media attention at the moment, as I didn’t want to be seen as part of the ‘problem’. Since starting my placement I’ve realised that these companies are at the forefront of research and development in sustainability and working in industry is exciting. I’ve seen that industry is a place where you can be really influential and I’m still passionate about the difference materials can make to product improvement and conservation of our environment.”

My advice to someone considering this course with a placement year

“I would say go for it! Biomaterials is an up-and-coming area of study that can lead to all sorts of exciting opportunities in sustainable design, material science, analysis and the biomedical sector just to name a few. There is a wide range of placements related to the course to choose from.

Gathering ideas and learning from more experienced folk who are as passionate about a topic area as you are, is also a great way to spend one year of the course.”

My university highlights

“I formed part of the Christian Union Committee in my second year. My role included organising the Carol Service at Emmanuel Church that was attended by over 400 people. The real sense of achievement for me came from seeing LSU Classical, LSU Sing, LS Dance Club and the LSUCU all working together to make the evening great.”

For further student placement profiles of Materials students, please follow this link.