RSB Policy Internships
The RSB annually hosts two internship positions for current PhD students who are funded by AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, and NERC.
The successful applicants each spend three months working at the RSB. Start and end dates can be negotiated as appropriate.
The call for applications in 2021 is NOW CLOSED
To apply in summer 2022 for internships in 2023, go to the UKRI Policy Internships Scheme webpage.
About RSB policy work
RSB policy activity spans the biological sciences, including biomedicine, animal, plant, microbial and environmental science, as well as general science policy issues of research funding, careers in science, higher education, diversity and inclusion, publication policy, and science and society.
We regularly reply to government and national level consultations and inquiries and engage pro-actively with policy development through the work of our Fellows, Committees and Groups. Our individual members and Member Organisations represent a valuable network of expertise and policy interest.
The Society’s policy team works to support and guide the development of policy outputs from the Society as well as in developing workshops, events and policy communications such as our weekly Science Policy Newsletter, which has over 21,000 subscribers.
Find out more about the impact of our science policy activity.
What does a policy internship at the RSB involve?
An internship with the Society will involve the combination of a specific project to be substantially delivered within the period of the placement, along with involvement in ongoing projects and activities of the RSB team. This may involve background research and working with our staff team and members to generate a response to a government or Parliamentary consultation, or the development of one of our Policy Lates events, for example.
Opportunities will also be available to get involved in other policy projects and activities (e.g. surveying our membership, assembling one of our newsletters, researching and writing a report, briefing or statement, or organising a workshop) and to join the wider RSB team in organising events such as Voice of the Future and Parliamentary Links Day.
In addition to delivering a defined project, the Society will aim to encourage and support our interns' attendance at relevant Parliamentary and charitable events, as well as participation in appropriate external and internal science-policy workshops, meetings and discussion groups.
Our interns will also be offered a wide range of opportunities to produce written outputs for publication, such as authoring an RSB news story, an article for our publication The Biologist, such as ‘The lynx effect’ by previous RSB policy intern Georgina Fauconier. The Society has a busy calendar of committee, task force and steering group meetings so some experience of working with networks and committees, preparing papers for discussion, and recording committee proceedings, would also be on offer.
Interns receive guidance, training and help from members of the policy department and across the Society as appropriate to their task. We aim to ensure that internship activity portfolios meet both the interests of the UKRI Research Council applicant and the needs of the Society at the same time.
Though the range of activities available to each intern is often wide and varied, we aim to tailor the programme to the skills-set, aims and interests of the individual. We take particular care to ensure that interns maintain a balance across their activities and feel well supported by the team during their time with us.
Testimonials from our past policy interns
"The internship has been amazing, I was given the opportunity to work on so many different projects, from a governmental consultation to a science communication article which have allowed me to develop my writing, and communication skills. The team has been so helpful and supportive throughout the whole process and made me feel so welcome. Coming out of this internship I feel like I have a grasp of what policy work entails and how important it is as link between science and society." Karendeep Sidhu, 2022.
“Although a virtual internship meant that I couldn’t meet any of my team members and other RSB staff in person, it didn’t stop them from welcoming me in and going the extra mile to make sure I felt included and supported. All of the RSB staff were friendly and engaging, making for a brilliant work environment. I was able to explore different areas of science policy and get a glimpse of the scope of work the RSB undertake. I gained valuable skills, including communicating and working within a team, different styles of writing and project management. I really feel empowered to tackle a new career in science policy following the completion of my PhD, thanks to the wonderful experience I had with the RSB policy team.” Georgina Fauconier (nee Collins), 2021.
“I feel I have had an extremely valuable internship experience. The science policy team are very supportive and helpful, and gave me lots of guidance while also letting me take control of my projects and express my own creativity. The whole of RSB are a great group of people and I felt included and part of the team from the start. I got to work on so many interesting projects with quite a broad subject range, I was never bored and got to explore subject areas I would not in my own research. I’ve learned a lot about policy, politics, and learned societies as well as improved and developed many skills (writing for lay people, interpersonal and teamwork skills, networking). I have had the chance to be creative in my work which I thoroughly enjoyed and will be seeking to do more of when I go back into my research. I also feel like I have made an impact and been a part of the team rather than a responsibility and I really appreciate that!” Susi Keane, 2020.
“I really enjoyed working on such a variety of projects within different areas of the biosciences, and with different members of the brilliant policy team at RSB. I feel I have really developed my communication skills during my internship, as well as gaining a valuable insight into science policy work.” Joe Moore, 2020.
“My internship with the Royal Society of Biology is enabling me to experience many of the different aspects of science policy; from attending meetings in Parliament, to helping at workshops organised by the Society, and researching topics that are high on the agenda for the policy team, including antimicrobial resistance, and food policy. One of my next tasks will be to write a blog about the upcoming Parliamentary Links Day. I have thoroughly enjoyed my internship so far, and I am looking forward to my remaining time with the RSB”. Megan Sharps, 2019.
“When I arrived at the RSB everyone was so welcoming, friendly and excited to hear all about my PhD. Everyone had come from such a diverse range of science backgrounds, with lots of different interests, so I was quickly refreshing my basic biology knowledge…. It has opened my eyes to all the jobs that are being done to make science happen and be as effective as possible. I am thoroughly inspired”. Eleanor Smart, blogging in 2018.
Past interns have also cited their internship with us as invaluable for future career steps:
“My three-month policy internship was one of the most productive and enjoyable parts of my PhD – the exposure to the wide variety of options outside of academia was eye-opening and led to my current job”. “I’d highly recommend an internship for anyone whether they’re thinking of leaving or staying in academia, and highly commend RSB on the basis of my experience – it was an invaluable insight into a different side of things.”
How will we be recruiting?
To apply in summer 2022 for internships in 2023, go to the UKRI Policy Internships Scheme webpage.
The post will be advertised through website and social media channels. Interviews will be held virtually (e.g. via Zoom or preferred online video call alternative).
The Royal Society of Biology integrates equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) as an important part of our business plan, and continued engagement from our Board of Trustees, staff and members reflects the importance of these values.
The Royal Society of Biology is committed to embedding and communicating EDI strategies throughout the organisation and its activities. We acknowledge the importance of diversity at all learning and career stages to ensure equal opportunities and create an inclusive environment that welcomes, attracts and benefits from a variety of experiences, skills, qualities and perspectives. We strive to tackle barriers and create a life science community that is representative of the wider society we serve.
Prospective interns will be asked to sign a volunteer agreement with the Society before commencing their placement. This agreement specifies details of the placement including working hours, claiming expenses, supervision and provision of training (in data protection, for example).
Dependant on Government advice in the context of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, building access will be arranged on arrival, following registration with the building security team and email account arrangement three weeks in advance.
Royal Society of Biology, 1 Naoroji Street, London WC1X 0GB
Interns will generally work standard hours (9am – 5pm), though we can accommodate part time, flexible and remote working upon agreement.
NB: Dependant on Government advice and in the context of the prevailing conditions with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will aim for interns to work alongside the RSB staff team. Our office is in Central London, close to Kings Cross, Exmouth Market and several green spaces and parks. In 2023, we anticipate that staff will be working flexibly, with work-time in the office and at home. However, the Society has remained fully operational through home working throughout the pandemic and, if Government advises this at the time of the internship, we are able to continue to accommodate such an arrangement.
For more information, please contact Laura Marshall, head of science policy.