Who we are
Sense about Science is an independent campaigning charity that challenges the misrepresentation of science and evidence in public life. We advocate openness and honesty about research findings, and work to ensure the public interest in sound science and evidence is recognised in public discussion and policymaking.
Sense about Science, 2 Stephen Street, LONDON W1T 1AN
(or ask if you are interested in opportunities in our Dublin office).
1/ Voice of Young Science (VoYS)
VoYS is our unique network of early career researchers across Europe committed to playing an active role in public discussions about science. As part of VoYS we hold workshops to encourage early career researchers to make their voices heard in public debates about science. During these full-day events, participants meet scientists who have engaged with the media and learn from respected science journalists about how the media works, how to respond and comment, and what journalists want and expect from scientists. We recently updated our workshops to adapt to the changing landscape of public and policy engagement in science as well as the increased appetite we’ve seen from past attendees for information on how to involve research in policymaking and the necessary steps to take when engaging with different audiences. To effect, we have added a policymaker panel which sees a range of speakers from MPs to researchers at the forefront of the policy-science interface talk about how evidence influences policy, what policymakers are looking for and how early career researchers can get involved. We have also added an interactive public engagement session based on our popular public engagement guide, which we produced with the National Institute of Health Research.
Organising a training workshop (including booking and briefing panel speakers who will be journalists, researchers, and policymakers), arranging logistics and liaising with hosts, content management of the website, support of social media engagement before and during with external stakeholders, facilitating sessions on the day including group discussions. Depending on placement timing there is an opportunity to be involved in the development of the programme with external partners, follow up work including collating and analysing evaluation data and reporting to internal stakeholders on successes and challenges – this is especially crucial to monitor and analyse our new panels.
2/ Evidence Week
For one week in the summer, we hold Evidence Week in Parliament, our flagship policy event where we bring together MPs, policy advisers and community speakers discuss the case that evidence matters to people. The week involves events and briefings, as well as evidence stands that parliamentarians can come and visit. This is an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in evidence-based policymaking as you will have the inside track into the organisation of Evidence Week and be at the heart of Parliament. You will have opportunities to engage directly with MPs and policy advisers. In 2020, we are looking to develop the Evidence Week programme with a series of special events in the Scottish Parliament.
Working with the project manager to secure funding for the event, liaising with potential partners and coordinating discussions with partners about themes and content. Working with the senior comms officer to plan a social media calendar for the event and to reach key contacts to inform them about plans for the event and how they can get involved. Working with the research manager to develop content for our own stand, and working with the senior partnerships coordinator to mobilise our networks to participate in the event. Working with the team during the event to speak to MPs and reporting on MP engagement afterwards.
3/ John Maddox Prize
The John Maddox Prize is our internationally-recognised award that celebrates the work of individuals who promote sound science and evidence in a matter of public interest, facing difficulty or hostility in doing so. The prize is a joint initiative of Nature and Sense about Science. Read the profiles of previous winners: 2016 winner Elizabeth Loftus, 2017 winner Dr Riko Muranaka and the issues for which she was awarded the prize, 2018 winners Professor Terry Hughes and Britt Hermes and 2019 winners Professor Bambang Hero Saharjo and Olivier Bernard. The 2020 prize will be launched in March. Judging for the 2020 award will involve our panel of high-profile and respected academics, journalists and science communicators including Lord Martin Rees, Sir Colin Blakemore and Natasha Loder.
Working with our communications manager to create and shape the communications and press launch strategy, implementing the strategy including liaising heavily with journalists from major and minor press, opportunity to attend the high profile event allowing opportunities for networking.
4/ General office
It’s a busy, lively office where we all muck in and no two days are the same. You will be working with the senior partnerships coordinator, the policy manager and the senior communications officer, but there are many opportunities to support other areas of the team’s work. You will also have scope to lead areas of work. Crucially, our interns and what they want to get out of an internship are important to us so we will tailor their time here to meet their interests.
Essential skills required
- Ability to identify and use initiative to solve problems
- Ability to organise and prioritise your work
- A flair for clear, engaging writing
- Friendly manner
- Candidates should be familiar with and share the Sense about Science ethos regarding the public interest in sound science and evidence
The internship will provide skills and experience in:
- Project management
- Event management and delivery
- Stakeholder management across different funding sectors
- Website development and the production of promotional materials
- Communicating complex information to a lay audience via verbal and written approaches
- Develop a greater understanding of debates about evidence and areas that are difficult for scientists and for society
- Opportunity to significantly grow your network
Number of placements offered
We have the capacity to have 1-2 interns in the London office at any given time throughout the year, i.e. a maximum of 8 in a year. For exceptional candidates we may be able to run internships concurrently especially if there is a significant project at time of application. There may also be opportunities to work at our Dublin office.
April 2020 onwards on a rolling 3-month basis i.e. you also can start in May, June, July etc.
How to apply
To apply, send your CV and a cover letter to Dr Hamid Khan (details below).
Deadline for applications
If you wish to start in April 2020, the deadline for applications is Sunday 1st March 2020 (23:59 hrs).
If you wish to start at any time from May onwards during 2020, the deadline for applications is Sunday 29th March 2020 (23:59 hrs).
Dr Hamid Khan, Senior Partnerships Co-ordinator
Tel: 020 7490 9590