The British Council, Science and technology; FAQs

Science and Technology:

Frequently asked questions

What does the British Council do in science - I thought it dealt with culture?

The British Council brings people together; to exchange ideas and knowledge, to study, to be trained and to implement change. Science, engineering and technology represent over a quarter of the Council's total activity and are an important aspect of Britain's relations with all overseas countries.

Our staff overseas can provide briefing on the structure of science in their country and on how the local education system is organized. We can identify potential partners and catalyze collaborative work. We keep in touch with local developments and maintain close contacts with the scientific community. We also have an overview of scientific links with Britain. We work closely with government departments, professional associations, universities and research councils in the countries where we work, and liaise with the British Embassy or High Commission in areas of common interest.

I am working on a research topic with someone in another country and I am planning to visit them for field trip/laboratory work/develop joint research project. Can the British Council help me with the costs or professional programme of my visit?

You should contact the local Council office, using our A to Z country guide for contact details, and explain in full the purpose of the visit, with a brief CV and give as much information about what funding you have obtained and what is needed from the Council. The Council has joint research programmes in several countries[link] and you need to look out for closing dates and priority subject areas.

I need to know more about the key institutions and researchers in my field, can the British Council help?

The Council has science qualified staff in many of its offices overseas [link] who can assist with making the right connections and local contacts. We are also developing our pages to provide internet links in to Country sources of information. The Council has recently published a series of Science and Technology profiles [link], which give an invaluable overview of the organisation and funding of science.

I am arranging a major conference in Britain and would like identified scientists from overseas to contribute as invited speakers. How can the British Council help us?

The local British Council may be able to assist with funding to facilitate the visit - use the country guide and contact the Council office, and ask how they can help you. Give as much inforation as possible.

How do I find out where I can do research in Britain?

There is no short answer to this question, since much will depend on your existing knowledge of and contacts in Britain, your present level of qualifications and what resources you have to cover the necessary expenses. For details of postgraduate diploma and Masters courses, which may include research work, see the various publications outlining postgraduate courses available in Britain; these can all be accessed at your local British Council office.

For PhD level research leading to the preparation and defence of a thesis (see also The British PhD published by the British Council), you will need to find out where relevant expertise exists and whether or not there are academic staff able to supervise work in your particular area of work. You may already know of relevant academics through publications or from advice from your colleagues. If you do not have an introduction from a senior colleague, there are two major sources of information that you can consult:

Your local British Council office should be able to give you access to CRIB and BEST, or you can contact Cartermill Publishing at:

Cartermill Publishing
149 Tottenham Court Road
London W1P 9LL
Telephone: +44 (0)171 896-240
Fax: +44 (0)171 896-2449

Depending on your field of research there may be relevant research going on outside the University sector in a research institute funded by one of the research councils. The British Council publication Government organization of science and technology gives details of relevant research.

Any research placing will involve a cost, which has to be negotiated with your host institution. For Masters or PhD level research these are normally fixed, although there may be some scope for negotiation if any split PhD is envisaged, i.e. the thesis is prepared involving part of the time in the UK at the host institution and the other part(s) being based in your own country. In making an initial approach to any potential host institution you should give a clear statement of your qualifications and experience to date, and explain concisely what your research interests are and how they relate to your existing or future career. If you have access to funding from whatever source, it is useful to give details. If you are contacting an institution for the first time they need to know as much about you as possible if they are to be able to give an informed response to your enquiry.






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