AMS/MRC internship programme

The Academy of Medical Sciences London United Kingdom Medical Science Policy
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Company Description

The Academy of Medical Sciences and the Medical Research Council (MRC) are pleased to open applications to their policy internship scheme. Under the scheme, MRC-funded PhD students will have the opportunity to undertake a 12 week policy internship at the Academy.

The scheme is designed to give students first-hand experience of the medical science policy and communications environment, to gain insights into how research can impact on policy, and to build valuable networks with the UK’s most eminent medical scientists and key science and health stakeholders.

The details of the Academy scheme are set out below. In brief, interns will be supported by a three-month extension to their PhD maintenance stipend. All eligible candidates will be assessed through a competitive application process.

Interviews for this opportunity will be conducted remotely. Successful candidates will be kept closely informed on any potential impacts on their internship period, and how these can be mitigated or managed.

About the Academy of Medical Sciences

The Academy of Medical Sciences is the independent, expert voice of biomedical and health research in the UK. Our mission is to help create an open and progressive research sector to improve the health of people everywhere. The Academy’s elected Fellows are the United Kingdom’s leading medical scientists from the NHS, academia, industry and the public service. We work with them to improve lives, strengthen research, support researchers, work globally and build our resources.

Experience of PhD students on the Academy’s internship scheme:

‘The internship at the Academy was one of the best experiences linked to my PhD. This is such a unique opportunity, I would encourage all PhD students to apply for these limited positions.’

‘I really enjoyed my time at the Academy, and it has definitely highlighted to me the importance of scientists and clinicians engaging in policy. I really hope in the future I will have the opportunity to contribute to policy as an academic or clinician. I would definitely recommend the scheme to others.’

‘Despite conducting my internship entirely remotely, I was made me feel incredibly welcome and really felt like part of the team, which is a testament to how kind and supportive everyone was.’

‘The internship programme has exceeded all my expectations – both in terms of responsibilities and the opportunities made available to me. The staff have all gone out of their way to welcome us, and I hope I can stay in touch long after my three months has expired.’

‘I think the main strength of the scheme is the opportunity to engage with so many people, from Academy staff from different teams to the Fellows as well as stakeholders from other organisations.’

‘I haven’t had exposure to so many high profile researchers in such a short space of time before.’

Former interns planning an academic career have found their experience valuable; for others it has helped them to secure jobs in science policy and science communication.


The scheme will:

· Provide future researchers and academic leaders with a deeper understanding of medical science policy.

· Contribute to the exploration of medical science in its wider cultural context by helping to build bridges between the scientific community and policymakers.

· Develop a cadre of people able to work at the interface between medical science and policymaking.

· Allow students to build valuable contacts with senior scientists and policymakers, and expose them to the wide range of public, charitable and commercial organisations involved in UK medical science.

· Provide opportunities for MRC-funded PhD students to develop valuable transferable skills and to enhance their CVs.

Activity of interns:

The Academy’s policy work addresses issues of medical science, healthcare and biomedical careers. Areas of policy work originate from within the Academy Council and wider Fellowship, as well as in response to issues raised by Government, Parliament and other relevant bodies, including stakeholders such as industry, medical research charities, medical Royal Colleges and regulators. This work can take many forms: major reports, shorter position papers, seminars and workshops, correspondence, representation on Government and external panels, evidence to Parliamentary committees, private meetings and roundtables with key decision makers. Recent major policy studies have tackled the sustainability of health research in the UK; COVID-19; Climate change; healthy ageing; Public health and a wide range of other topics.

During the 12 week internship, students will be involved in a variety of activities that will give them experience of many aspects of medical science policy and related activities. This will include one or more discrete projects led by the intern. The range of activities will include:

· Writing, editing, proofreading and referencing policy papers, e.g. responses to public consultations, papers and summaries for working groups, Council or Officers meetings.

· Desk-based research and scoping, e.g. preparing project proposals or undertaking literature reviews.

· Evidence gathering and preparation, e.g. preparation of contacts lists, drafting calls for evidence, collating and summarising evidence.

· Events organisation, e.g. preparing conference materials, helping to co-ordinate activities on the day.

· Communications activities, including the use of new media.

· Attending (virtual and in person) internal and external events, e.g. Parliamentary Select Committees, working group meetings, PolicyNet and other lectures.

· Opportunities to observe an MRC funding board meeting, and to meet the MRC’s Capacity and Skills team and public affairs and policy teams if desired.



The scheme is open to all MRC funded PhD students (based in a university, or MRC centre, unit or institute), including clinicians undertaking a PhD as part of their MRC Clinical Research Training Award, who will be in their third or fourth year of their PhD when their internship takes place. The scheme can also be undertaken in the three month period immediately following the end of a student’s MRC funding coming to an end. For example, if your funding ends in April, May or June 2023, you would be able to participate in the July 2023 to September 2023 placement. However, you would not be able to participate in any subsequent placements.

Information about the candidate’s MRC funding period and agreement to provide a three-month extension to the candidate’s PhD maintenance stipend during his/her internship must also be provided by the appropriate administration office with signed approval of the budget holder. For internships run in person, this should be an extension at the at the MRC minimum level for London. Remote internships should be continued at the candidate’s current rate.

Placements on the scheme are allocated on a competitive basis so withdrawal from the scheme once a place is accepted is likely to result in another potential intern being denied the opportunity to participate.

Other information

Structure of the scheme

The 12 week internships will be full-time positions. To facilitate this time away from research, students will be supported by a three-month extension to their MRC PhD stipend while they are based at the Academy.

Interns are supervised by a designated member of staff and receive a tailored workplan. In addition, interns will meet regularly with members of the Policy team and the Academy’s wider staff.

Internships will be offered in 12 week time blocks from July 2023 to June 2024. Candidates are invited to indicate their preferred time to undertake the placement, although we cannot guarantee the timing of placements.

The Academy of Medical Sciences is currently working in an agile way with staff working from home and our Central London offices. The Academy has gained significant experience in conducting remote and agile internships and the programme continues to offer a highly rewarding experience for interns.

Interns will usually be provided with an Academy laptop and receive IT support for remote working from the Academy’s facilities team.

Application procedure

Candidates are asked to supply:

· A completed application form, including an endorsement and a supporting statement from their supervisor and relevant institutional administration office.

· A short covering letter briefly describing their reasons for application.

· A CV.

· A short article, no more than 800 words in length, on a medical science policy topic. Students may choose a topic related to their PhD, an area of personal interest or select from the options below.

o Medical research in the NHS

o Government support for science and research

o Translating research into policy and practice

o Scientific education and training (including women in science)

o Interdisciplinarity and ‘team science’

o Research regulation and governance

o ‘Big data’ and its application in medical research

o Chronic diseases and global health

o Tackling emerging infections including antimicrobial resistance

o Promoting healthy ageing

o Strengthening health equity and prevention of disease

o Impacts of environmental change on human health

The article should highlight the main policy issues of the chosen topic and the implications for the key stakeholders who are required to make decisions in the area, which may include government, industry and/or funding organisations. The article should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to write in a style suitable for a policy (rather than academic) audience.

Short-listed applicants will be invited to an interview with a selection panel of Academy and MRC staff.

Applications should be submitted electronically and must be received by 5pm on Monday 24 April 2023. Interviews will be conducted on week commencing 8 May 2023.

Queries should be directed to Angel Yiangou, Senior Policy Manager at the Academy, [email protected]