With the arrival of the new first year PhD students on Monday, I can officially class myself as a third year. It’s a rather terrifying thought! The past two years have raced by in a blur of reading papers, attending conferences and wrestling with code.
I’m now starting to seriously think about my post-PhD career. All my career planning had felt rather vague up until this week, when I was pleased to attend an interview for a three month fellowship at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. I’d spotted this internship opportunity a couple of months ago and was really excited to apply. The role involves working in science policy, helping Members of Parliament to understand key scientific ideas that can inform legislative decisions.
Writing the application itself was a welcome break from PhD work, requiring answers to a few competency-based questions as well as a two page summary policy briefing about any topic of my choosing. It was a difficult brief to write to, particularly due to the page limit. Reading and digesting a large volume of scientific material from a completely different field to my own was another challenge.
It was also fun to attend the interview, held at POST’s offices in Westminster. Even if I am not successful, I am glad that I got the chance to brush up on my interview skills and learn a bit about the process of applying for a job outside academia.
As for the rest of this year, I’m starting to think seriously about the content and structure of my thesis, planning my long-term attachment (I’ll be in Madrid for 6 months next year to work with a collaborator) and whether or not to submit any postdoc applications this cycle. It’s going to be a busy year!
For more information on the UKRI Policy Internship scheme, go to this link: https://www.ukri.org/skills/policy-internships-scheme/