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Queens’ College Summer Research Programme and Internships

Queens' College is delighted to be able to fund a small number of internships for 2023/24, for current students to assist Queens' Fellows in subject related research projects over the Summer.

The internships are open to any current undergraduate, in the first instance; in exceptional circumstances, MPhil students may be considered. Each project will have an individual duration listed between 4 - 10 weeks, this period may be broken up into separate windows of time to allow for Visa or working contstraints. Students will be paid the London Real Living Wage, currently £11.95 per hour and the College will provide accommodation during the research period. Students will be expected to submit a short report at the end of the Summer detailing their research and reflecting on the overall experience (approx. 700-800 words).

The form to apply is available at the bottom of this page.

Listed below are the internships available for the Summer of 2023:

Provocations for Technology and Human Rights internship Reconstructing Ash Transport Paths internship Linguistics Research Projects
Listening to Hadith Traditions internship Old Library Research Project: David Hughes (c. 1704-77) The Impact of the ‘Just-War’ Logic of the Charter in Contemporary International Law project
Finding unrecognised manuscript copies of Pelagius’ writings internship On the Brink: Europe Since 1989 internship Targeted execution tracing for binary analysis internship
English internship Vulcanisation of polyolefins project Arabic words in Middle English project


Provocations for Technology and Human Rights internship

  • Supervisor: Dr Ella McPherson
  • Duration: 4-8 weeks (negotiable)
  • Period: July and September
  • Hours: 20-40 per week
  • Location: Centre of Governance and Human Rights


This internship will support the Provocations for Technology and Human Rights project at Cambridge’s Centre of Governance and Human Rights.  This project, collaboratively led by Dr Ella McPherson, Dr Sharath Srinivasan and Dr Sebastián Lehuedé, provokes to unsettle what has become sedimented at the intersection of human rights and technology, either because it has become naturalised as ‘how things are’ or because it has been begrudgingly accepted as ‘how things have to be’. Our aim is to spark opportunities for reflection and equal collaboration in the co-construction of technologies and knowledge among human rights practitioners, civic activists and technologists. 

At present, the six Provocations exist as an emergent set of Medium posts as well as a book manuscript underway.  The internship would be focused on translating these research insights into impact through a variety of tools human rights practitioners and civic activists can use for reflection on and renewal of their relationships with digital technologies, such as games, workshop frameworks, decision trees, etc.  The intern would work with the team leads to identify and build one or two tools, thus learning about the relationship between scholarship and the worlds of practice and producing an output that would be credited to them.  This is a format we have used successfully at CGHR previously, with the Social Life of Data Experience (https://sociallifeofdata.org) and the Digital Human Rights Toolkit.  More on the Provocations project is available at the following links: https://medium.com/@cghr and https://www.cghr.polis.cam.ac.uk/news/technology-human-rights-fellowships-cghr-team.

Reconstructing Ash Transport Paths internship

  • Supervisor: Dr Lauren Davies
  • Duration: 7 weeks
  • Period: August and September
  • Hours: 28 per week (negotiable)
  • Location: Department of Geography


The number of well-studied modern volcanic eruptions only represents a fraction of the eruptions that we know have happened over the past 10,000 years. By studying past eruptive events, we can gain information that is complimentary to, but currently missing from, modern observations and hazard assessments. My current project focuses on reconstructing ash transport paths from two historical eruptions: the Askja 1875, Iceland, and Novarupta-Katmai 1912, Alaska.

This work involves collating records of a) historical observations of impacts from these eruptions, and b) published data from sediment records across Europe or North America identifying far travelled ash that can be correlated to the eruption. These data are then used to ground truth large numbers of ash dispersal scenarios that I have produced using the Met Office’s atmospheric dispersion model (NAME III). Where possible, I have collected sediment samples from key new locations to add to this dataset and further refine my modelling results.

The intern will undertake laboratory analyses in the Geography Department’s tephra lab. Internship will include training in basic core descriptions and volcanic ash extraction techniques, processing peat and lake core samples and producing element geochemical data for samples and interpreting results. There is potential for analyses of other ecological proxies to be included in this project.

Two short papers that summarise key ideas in this research area are:

  • Pyle & Barclay (2020) Historical records of volcanic eruptions deserve more attention. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment: 1, 183–184. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43017-020-0044-z
  • Cashman & Rust (2020) Far-travelled ash in past and future eruptions: combining tephrochronology with volcanic studies. Journal of Quaternary Science: 35 (1-2), 11-22. https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.3159

Linguistics Research Projects


This internship is open to research assistants to work on a range of Linguistics projects requiring editing/proofreading/bibliography searches/summaries/research. Interns will be selected for individual projects based on experience and are recommended for Linguistics or MML students.

Projects available:

  • “Word Order in Romeyka"
    • Research paper to be submitted to Glossa
    • Editing required, 5 hours
    • Open to Linguistics students
  • “Koine Greek"
    • Chapter in an edited volume 
    • Literature searches and summaries of previous research required, 10 hours
    • Open to Linguistics students
  • “The syntactic evolution of the Romance languages"
    • Book to appear by Cambridge University Press
    • Editing and proofreading required, 20 hours
    • Open to Linguistics and MML students
  • Handouts to PowerPoint
    • 9 existing handouts for papers SP11 and CS1
    • Conversion of handouts to PowerPoint presentations , 20 hours
    • Open to Linguistics and MML students

Listening to Hadith Traditions internship

  • Supervisor: Dr Peter McMurray
  • Duration: 6-7 weeks 
  • Period: Flexible
  • Hours: 30 per week (negotiable)
  • Location: Flexible


Hadith traditions recount the life and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad and have been a source of intensive study for centuries, in the context of both Islamic ‘ulūm (‘sciences’) and Western academia. Hadiths cover a massive array of topics, including statements attributed to the Prophet that have subsequently become the grounds for further legal thinking in Islamic contexts. In my research, I’m generally interested in how Muslims think about and make use of sonic arts, including reciting the Qur’an, singing poetry (both devotional and otherwise), and making music. I am also interested in aspects of devotional knowledge that are associated with listening or hearing in a range of context, such as hadiths comparing revelation to the sound of a bell, debating the prospects of the adhan (call to prayer), or thinking about how non-human entities (animals, jinns) experience sound. Hadith traditions address all of these topics (and many more).

For this research project, intern will provide assistance in reading through hadith collections (starting with Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim) looking for key hadiths dealing with sound, music, hearing and related forms of embodied experience, as well as historical accounts of the study and transmission of hadiths, especially in the centuries since these earliest collections were compiled. Much of the hadith tradition has been translated into English, so there is not necessarily a language requirement, though familiarity with classical Arabic would be most welcome.

Old Library Research Project: David Hughes (c. 1704-77)

  • Supervisor: Dr Tim Eggington
  • Duration: 10 weeks (negotiable)
  • Period: June and July (potential to include September)
  • Hours: 37.5 per week (negotiable)
  • Location: Old Library, Queens' College


The c. 5,000 books and pamphlets that form the subject of this project were bequeathed to Queens’ by the Welsh-born cleric and scholar, David Hughes (Queens’ m. 1722, fellow 1727, Vice President 1749). Hughes’s carefully organised collection offers an invaluable insight into the idiosyncrasies of ‘Enlightenment’ as it played out in eighteenth-century England and more specifically, Cambridge. Comprising published sermons, learned tomes, polemical tracts, scurrilous satire and much else, the diversity of Hughes’s collecting epitomises the print revolution that played so important a part in eighteenth-century England.

The successful candidate will assist the Librarian and Rare Books Curator in their ongoing research into Hughes, his collecting habits and, more generally, the significance of his collection within the wider context of print culture and collecting in eighteenth-century Cambridge. Curation and cataloguing will form a principal focus of this project and the successful candidate will learn bibliographic skills and knowledge necessary to create online catalogue records to a high level (bibliographical description, bindings description, provenance research, printers, etc.) I am particularly keen for this project to take account of the more literary aspects of Hughes’s collecting. A further component of the project will be to examine Hughes’s extensive but hitherto little researched archive papers (currently in the UL) as a means to extend our understanding of how the collection was acquired, together with more general aspects of Hughes’s life. Finally, the project intern will adapt the library’s highly successful 2018 exhibition about Hughes (The Age of Reason, Religion and Ridicule in the Library of the Revd David Hughes) as an online exhibition accessible via the library’s exhibitions page . It will be necessary to rethink aspects of the exhibition in order to present the material effectively as an online exhibition. For the right candidate, the project will provide invaluable knowledge and skills in historical bibliography, early printed book cataloguing, the management of digital content, and archival research.

The Impact of the ‘Just-War’ Logic of the Charter in Contemporary International Law project

  • Supervisor: Dr Federica Paddeu
  • Duration: 7 weeks 
  • Period: Flexible
  • Hours: 37.5 per week
  • Location: Flexible


The UN Charter prohibition on the use of force, one of the cornerstones of the contemporary international legal system, was a radical departure from the pre-Charter regulation of war. Until 1945, the international legal order was divided into two spheres: ‘peace’ and ‘war’. When States were at war, their peaceful relations were suspended, and their interactions became regulated by the law of war. Third States, too, acquired obligations under the law of neutrality. Although there existed some limitations to recourse to force and war, the initiation of war was not prohibited as such. For this reason, the state of war made no distinction between the belligerents, and neutrals owed duties of impartiality to both parties. Now, under the Charter system, a State that initiates war incompatibly with the Charter does so illegally: it commits aggression. The formal ‘state of war’ has also lost practical relevance (if it remains theoretically possible at all). When States engage in war, their peaceful legal relations remain in place: they are at war while formally ‘at peace’. Has this radical conceptual shift in the accommodation of war had an impact in the rest of international law? There is evidence that certain fields of international law have begun internalising the just-war logic of the Charter:

- the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties regards treaties imposed through the unlawful use of force as invalid (Article 52);

- the Articles on State Responsibility allow States using force in self-defence to rely on self-defence to justify the violation of certain rights of the aggressor State (Article 21);

- the ILC’s work on the Effect of Armed Conflict on Treaties also allows the State acting in self-defence to suspend or terminate treaties due to the armed conflict, but this entitlement is not extended to the aggressor State (Article 15);

- the UN Human Rights Committee, in General Comment 36, has stated that killings committed in the course of an aggressive war are ‘ipso facto violations of the right to life’;

- the International Court of Justice has accepted – implicitly, and in principle – that aggressor States may owe compensation to the victim State for damage caused in the course of the armed conflict even where the aggressor’s acts that caused damage were compatible with the rules regulating armed conflict.

But there remain doubts as to its effects in other areas of international law. Among others, on the law of neutrality.

Applications are welcome from students taking, or who have taken, international law. The successful applicant will assist with researching the areas listed above. Tasks will include:

  • (i) reviewing the discussions leading to the adoption of Article 2(4) at the San Francisco Conference for International Organization (1945).
  • (ii) reviewing the discussions in the International Law Commission, UN Sixth Committee and the Vienna Conference on the Law of Treaties, to identify the rationale for the inclusion of Article 52 VCLT.
  • (iii) a similar research to (ii) with respect to Article 15 of the Articles on the Effects of Armed Conflict on Treaties.
  • (iv) review reactions by States and scholars to UNHRC General Comment 36.
  • (v)review some of the main literature on the status of the law of neutrality in in international law.

Finding unrecognised manuscript copies of Pelagius’ writings internship

  • Supervisor: Dr Ali Bonner
  • Duration: 6 weeks 
  • Period: August and September
  • Hours: 5 per day
  • Location: University Library (flexible)


My research project is to discover currently unidentified copies of Pelagius’ writings, which travel pseudonymously in manuscripts. My research is into the manuscript transmission of Pelagius’ writings, the scale of which is unrecorded, and into marginalia that tell us about how readers interacted with Pelagius’ views on free will and whether they knew Pelagius had been labelled a heretic. This requires finding currently unidentified copies of his writings, which requires searching catalogues under the names of the authors to whom Pelagius’ writings are attributed in manuscripts.

This internship is open to students with a good Latin language proficiency and will carry out catalogue searches under guidance. French provincial libraries have considerable manuscript holdings but their catalogues date from the 19th century when Pelagius’ writings were misattributed and catalogued under their manuscript attributions to Jerome, Augustine, etc. The successful candidate will  search under authors in the included modern index, then in the relevant library catalogue, and then use the online search tool Gallica to find incipits and digitised images to verify if it is a copy of one of Pelagius’ texts. A second task is to search for copies using Mirabile and other Italian online manuscript resources. This is ideal basic research that introduces a candidate to working with manuscripts.

The work would be divided into 2 blocks of weeks:

  • 4 weeks from Monday 31st July to Friday 25th August;
  • 2 weeks from Monday 18th September to Friday 29th September.    

On the Brink: Europe Since 1989 internship


This book project is a history of Europe since 1989. The internship would focus on research on the 1990s, with the precise focus depending on the applicant’s language abilities. Students with mastery of European languages other than French and Spanish are particularly encouraged to apply. The work would involve compiling bibliographical lists of relevant secondary literature related to events in Europe in the 1990s, including the recession of the early 1990s and the economic upturn thereafter, the war in Yugoslavia, the theme of deindustrialization and immigration, and a selection of important national elections (and national strikes) and the wider theme of the ‘third way’ in politics. Work would also involve research with primary sources, mainly newspaper archives that can be accessed at the University Library, with the aim of producing detailed timelines of national cases.

Targeted execution tracing for binary analysis internship

  • Supervisor: Dr Jasmin Jahić
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Period: Flexible
  • Hours: 37.5 per week (negotiable for visa restrictions)
  • Location: Flexible


Understanding the level of software system quality during development is a hard task. Especially when quality properties of interest are security, performance, and absence of bugs. One way to achieve this is to perform static and dynamic analysis of the binary under test. These analyses require disassembling binaries for a static inspection, and generation of trace during execution (executed instructions, execution paths). However, these are hard to achieve. From practical point of view, there is a lack of tools that are able to perform static analysis and generate appropriate execution trace necessary for different types of security and performance analysis, as well as to prove absence of bugs. Furthermore, it is hard to integrate these tools with continuous delivery. Finally, considering that new versions of software might be appearing on a daily basis, execution tracing of each software version will produce huge logs. Maintaining huge execution trace logs over a longer period of time is not feasible and becomes a bottleneck.

Therefore, there are two goals that this project aims to achieve:

  1. From the practical point of view, this project will investigate tools that already provide static analysis and tracing capabilities. It will extend them to enable targeted tracing and demonstrate how to integrate them with continuous engineering (the focus will be on the DynamoRIO tool, GitHub, and Janus - https://github.com/CompArchCam/Janus).
  2. The research part will focus on creating a static model of software (control-flow, data flow). Because execution tracing is a computationally expensive process, as a part of this project we will develop a targeted tracing approach. The targeted tracing approach will generate and analyse static model of every new version of software. For each new version, it will conclude which parts of software need to be re-executed, and consequently generate execution trace by triggering adequate tests.

This is envisioned to be an open-source project, with code available for future research. The successfully completed project results will support research in software security, measuring of software performance, design space exploration, and testing for complex bugs (e.g., concurrency bugs).


- C/C++ programming skills
- Java programming skills

Good to have, but not mandatory:

- Understanding of compilers
- Basics of static program analysis

English internship

  • Supervisor: Dr Andrew Zurcher
  • Duration: 6-9 weeks 
  • Period: Flexible
  • Hours: 20-30 per week
  • Location: Flexible


This internship has been created to assist with two editorial projects that require substantial new transcription from early modern printed and manuscript sources: the Oxford University Press 21COA edition of the the Selected Works of Edmund Spenser, and the Oxford University Press Collected Works of Sir Thomas Browne. Both projects would provide the opportunity to develop palaeographical, bibliographical, and editorial skills. The internship would suit a candidate who has completed the first or second year of the English tripos, and would provide valuable training and reading toward, among other things, a dissertation in the following year.


  1. Editing Spenser’s A view of the present state of Ireland (1596). One of the last texts to be incorporated into my edition of the OUP 21C Oxford Authors edition of Spenser’s Works, the View of the Present State of Ireland has come down to us in a collection of about twenty surviving manuscripts, all different, and of varying value. These manuscripts are all written in secretary hand. Drawing on my considerable expertise in teaching early modern secretary hand, I would train the intern over the first week of the summer in the reading of these texts, and by the second week set her/him to the preparation of base transcriptions of a range of selected passages, from different manuscript sources (esp. Hungtington Library MS Ellesmere 7041, Bodleian Rawlinson B.478, and Gonville and Caius MS 188/221). All the work will be done from facsimiles (already in my possession). The student would also be given some basic editorial problems to resolve (dealing with issues thrown up by ms variants, early modern spelling, damage/loss to specific mss, etc.), and some basic commentary tasks (identification of named individuals or families, identification of place names, identifying sources, etc.). Output: The project will culminate in complete and accurate transcriptions, lightly edited, of selections from A view of the present state of Ireland totalling 12,000 words.
  2. Editing Browne’s letters. As part of my ongoing edition of Sir Thomas Browne’s letters for the OUP edition of the Collected Works of Sir Thomas Browne, I still need to transcribe c. 20-30 letters from the British Library and Bodleian Library collections (from digital scans). These letters are written in Browne’s legible if idiosyncratic mixed hand. As part of her/his training in secretary hand, the student would from the start of the summer be trained on Browne’s handwriting, and would assist me by working through the remaining texts to be edited, providing base transcriptions. The student could also contribute to the process of checking these transcriptions against those of Wilkins and Keynes, and could contribute to basic commentary (identifying animal and plant specimens, transcribing and annotating recipes and prescriptions, etc.). Output: The project will culminate in complete and accurate transcriptions, lightly edited, of 15-20 letters from the Bodleian Browne archive, totalling about 10,000 words.

Skills to be acquired:

Reading early modern English secretary and mixed hands; transcription protocols for early modern historical and epistolary sources; editorial conventions for producing edited texts of manuscript selections; use of finding aids to identify people (e.g. Venn, ODNB, National Archives resources, etc.), plants (e.g. Dodoens, Gerard, Culpeper, etc.), and animals (e.g. Pliny, Gesner, Tusser, Browne, etc.).

Vulcanisation of polyolefins project


In 1840s, Charles Goodyear has found a way to ‘vulcanise rubber’ by accidentally heating the mix of natural resin (which is essentially polyisoprene) with sulphur (which at that time came from volcanoes, hence the term). This revolutionised industry in many obvious ways, and polymer science by introducing the concept of polymer network, or elastomer, and thus – entropic rubber elasticity. To us, today, this is simple: the vinyl bond prolific on polyisoprene readily reacts with sulphur, causing chain crosslinking via -S-S- bridges. That’s why vulcanisation only works with natural rubber or its synthetic polyisoprene analogue.

In the last few years, a new field in polymer science and engineering has sprung up, with a generic name ‘vitrimers’. These are network bound by dynamic covalent bonds, which can be induced to break and re-form in a different configuration. As a result, the crosslinked polymer (which would be thought about as ‘thermoset’) can be made to plastically flow (usually under heating), which makes the plastic re-processable (thus addressing many of the current environmental concerns, but also adding the much-desired additive manufacturing possibility to structural plastics). Our research group is very active in this vitrimer field, and -S-S- bridge has turned out to be one of the bond-exchange reactions.

This project will explore a radically new idea: trying to crosslink via sulphur bridging the most common polyolefin chains (like polyethylene or polypropylene) that make over 80% of plastics in use today. This has not been done before because polyolefins don’t have vinyl bonds, but we think there is a way to achieve this. The successful candidate will be required to work in the lab: making, testing, and optimising these new dynamic networks. Organic chemistry lab experience is essential, experience with polymers is a bonus.

Arabic words in Middle English project

  • Supervisor: Dr Joanna Bellis
  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Period: July to August
  • Hours: 37.5 per week
  • Location: Flexible


This is an analytical project evalauting patterns that emerge in Arabic words in Middle English. There are 161 (according to the MED, searched by etymology). Some come directly from Arabic, others through Latin or other European languages. The MED also sub-divides them: by source language, by subject matter and by part of speech. 

The successful candidate will be required to look through the entries and identify patterns that emerge from a deeper dive into the citations: which are the gateway texts (is it, as one might guess, the oft-name-checked Avicenna/Averroes? Do certain English texts/authors show more of a leaning towards using Arabic words than others? Does this coincide with their topical concerns – e.g. do they show up more often in crusade romances than in Matter-of-Britain romances? What is the variation in ‘footprint’, e.g. what’s the range in number of citations between the most established borrowed words and the most niche? What’s the date range, and how does this relate to the source language, and the texts that Arabic words are borrowed from and borrowed by?).

Apply to the Summer Research Programme

Applications will close at 5pm on Thursday 27 April.