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I am a mathematics graduate student, and I am searching for a (preferably paid) research internship that could last to 6 months in the field of probability theory. I have searched for opportunities in Europe, mainly universities (Oxford, Cambridge, ETH,...) but I am finding it a bit hard to find a long internship (the most popular ones are summer internships for undergraduate students). Also, I did not find any independent research centers that explicitly work in this field.

Therefore, I am asking for help in this matter. I do not know if it is possible to contact professors and ask them to organize internships (especially in the UK) and how I would approach this matter (do I just send an email asking to do an internship, or should I specify my professional project?).

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  • Your question is ok as long as you ask "how to". Asking to find you a program would be off topic. But focusing only on the very top institutions isn't likely to be fruitful for many reasons.
    – Buffy
    Dec 24, 2023 at 13:38
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    Just guessing here, but I'd think that (paid, especially) internships are more frequent and available in applied, rather than pure areas of math. Is that relevant to you?
    – Buffy
    Dec 24, 2023 at 13:42
  • @Buffy Thanks for the comment. I have only mentioned institutions on my mind, which (as expected) were top institutions, but are not the only options. Regarding the internship in applied mathematics, that would also suit me, especially that I have previous research internship in applied mathematics in industry. However, I am finding it bit hard to find industry internships that contain a sufficient amount of usage of probability theory. I am insisting on this because I want to apply to a master's degree in probability theory and I would like to strengthen my application. Thanks for the help.
    – RandomEye
    Dec 24, 2023 at 13:53
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    Probability theory is a research domain, I think. There aren't many (if any) companies left with budgets that allow spending on pure-math research; IBM Research and Bell Labs were the only two I knew of that could look at things that basic and hope they would eventually produce enough profit or prestige to justify that investment.
    – keshlam
    Dec 24, 2023 at 16:09

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It's hard to prove a negative, but I don't think internship like this exists, in particular not in the UK. In Mathematics an intern has hardly any chance to make a net contribution to a research project (mentoring them takes more effort than whatever research contribution one could reasonably expect from an intern). The few internship-like opportunities will typically be available only to local students, as the rationale is to improve the student experience.

For people keen to get some research experience who are either unwilling to commit to a PhD, or maybe not yet qualified for a PhD, the intended route in the UK is to do a research master's degree (MRes, or MSc by Research). These are typically 1-year degrees focused primarily on research, with maybe a small taught component. There are some funded scholarships for such degrees, but I believe the majority of the students on those programmes are self-funded. I wouldn't be surprised if most scholarships for MSc by Research degrees are restricted to UK students.

Regarding emailing UK academics directly: What is behind the "Indian Undergrad Research Experience"-spam?

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  • This was a useful clarification. I did not know exactly how the "internship" stuff work in the UK. It turned out to be different from other European countries. I do not think I will follow a research master in the UK, as right now I am only looking for research experience, and after that I will continue my studies in my school in France. Thanks.
    – RandomEye
    Dec 25, 2023 at 15:00

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