Sense About Science – Apply by 2 May 2022

At Sense about Science, we have some new opportunities available for internships from summer 2022 with plenty of vacancies from September/October onwards going into 2023. Our internships are currently running on a hybrid basis, and we hope to move to in-person over the next few months. We will continuously review the situation in accordance with government advice across the UK.

Background on Sense about Science

Sense about Science is an independent charity that champions the public interest in sound science and ensures evidence is recognised in public life and policymaking. We equip people to ask the right questions, we equip researchers to answer them in human, and we work with both to advocate better standards of evidence in public life. We advocate openness and honesty about research findings, and strive to open up socially or scientifically difficult issues where evidence is neglected, conflicting or misunderstood. 

We don’t advocate for funding and loving science. Instead, we work with decision-makers, community groups and world-leading researchers to equip the public, policymakers and journalists with good questions to ask and insights into evidence, particularly on difficult issues, where our intervention can really make a difference to the way that a topic is discussed in society.

Description of the internship

An internship at Sense about Science is a very rewarding experience, as no two days are the same. It is a fulfilling way to work across communications, policy and public engagement and develop key professional skills and contacts that will serve you well in your future. Depending on the timing of your placement, you’ll be able to work on a number of projects and programmes:

  • Voice of Young Science: The opportunity to contribute to the organisation of a Voice of Young Science (VoYS) workshop and help to facilitate the event on the day. VoYS is a unique and dynamic network of early career researchers across Europe committed to playing an active role in public discussions about science. By responding to public misconceptions about science and evidence and engaging with the media, policymakers and the public, this active community of 4,000+ researchers is changing the way the public and the media view science and scientists. Members are trained to promote scientific questioning in society and take responsibility for improving the quality of discussion about research findings. Our Standing up for Science workshops equip researchers to engage with the public, journalists and policymakers – helping them to ask useful questions and put research findings and real-world events in context. In the autumn, we will continue with our annual programme of workshops in London and Scotland, and we hope to run at least workshop in Europe. Organising a workshop will give you the opportunity to develop organisational and communication skills and learn about effective public, policy and media engagement.
  • Evidence Week: Evidence Week is our flagship policy event where we bring together MPs, policy advisers and community speakers to discuss the case that evidence matters to people and share knowledge and insights that will help policymakers scrutinise evidence. The week involves events, briefing and evidence stands that parliamentarians can visit in person and online. This is an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in evidence-based policymaking, because you will have the inside track to the British political system. There may be opportunities to communicate and engage with MPs and peers and their policy advisers. In 2022, this event is intended to take place in a hybrid format with in-person and online aspects in the summer, as well as an additional event for the Scottish Parliament in the next spring. There will be opportunities to work on the organisation of both of these events throughout the year. The intern will work closely with the Policy and Research Manager and the Policy Officers to organise Evidence Week.
  • John Maddox Prize: The John Maddox Prize recognises the work of individuals who promote science and evidence, advancing the public discussion around difficult topics despite challenges or hostility. The prize is a joint initiative of Sense about Science and the leading international scientific journal Nature. The prize has been awarded annually since 2012 to researchers who have shown great courage and integrity in standing up for science and scientific reasoning against fierce opposition and hostility. Each year there is one winner, and an additional prize for an early career researcher. You will contribute towards compiling nominations and working with the team to shortlist nominations, ready for the judging to take place in the autumn. You will work with the Senior Communications Officer to help plan the prizegiving ceremony in London in the autumn and will help run the event on the night. It is an opportunity to learn organisational and evaluation skills, and get to know the work of some amazing researchers around the world who are striving to stand up for science and evidence against intense challenges.
  • Research Culture and Quality: The Research Culture and Quality programme advocates positive changes to research culture that would help put quality at the heart of research and the public conversation of science and evidence. As part of the programme, we encourage researchers to get involved in peer review, as well as promoting the public understanding of peer review and the role of peer review in wider society. We encourage researchers, journals, universities, funders, the media, policymakers and the public to engage in wider discussions about what makes good-quality research and how to build towards a society that has access to the high-quality information people need to make informed decisions about the things that affect their lives. You will be involved in supporting the organisation of a Quality and Peer Review workshop for VoYS members in Glasgow, and you will help to make the case that quality of evidence matters in decision-making. There may be opportunities to work with the Programme Manager and Senior Communications Officer to co-create shareable content during Peer Review Week.

Essential skills

  • Ability to identify and use initiative to solve problems
  • Ability to organise and prioritise 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

Other details and how to apply

We typically have at least two interns in our London office. Our standard offer is three months (a good fit for PIPS), but we are occasionally able to be flexible.

Working arrangements will take consideration of government advice on Covid-19.

To apply, send your CV and a cover letter outlining how your skills match the requirements to Dr Hamid Khan, Programme Manager (Research Culture and Quality):

Closing date: 11:59pm, Monday 2nd May 2022