AMS/MRC internship programme

The Academy of Medical Sciences London United Kingdom Medical Science Policy

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,

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MAY 2020



We are The Academy of Medical Sciences (Registered Charity No. 1185329 Incorporated by Royal Charter. Registration No. RC000905, Register Office: 41 Portland Place).

We are committed to protecting the privacy and security of your personal information. We want you to be confident that your information will be properly protected whilst in our possession.

This privacy notice describes how we, and carefully selected parties we work with, will collect and use personal information about you.

We are a data “controller”. This means that we are responsible for deciding how we hold and use personal information about you. We are required under data protection legislation to notify you of the information contained in this privacy notice.


You are being sent a copy of this privacy notice because you are applying for work with us as an intern. It makes you aware of how and why your personal data will be used, namely for the purposes of the recruitment exercise, and how long it will usually be retained for. It provides you with certain information that must be provided under the General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679) (GDPR).

If you have any questions about our use of your personal information, or you wish to exercise one of your rights under data protection legislation, please contact us. A summary of your rights is detailed in this notice. 


In connection with your application for work with us, we will collect, store, and use the following categories of personal information about you:

•     The information you have provided to us in your curriculum vitae and application form.

•     The information you have provided on our application form, including name, title, address, telephone number, email address, date of birth, gender and qualifications.

•     Any information you provide to us during an interview.

We may also collect, store and use the following “special categories” of more sensitive personal information:

•     Information about your race or ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and political opinions.

•     Information you may choose to disclose about your health, including any medical condition.


We collect personal information about candidates from the following sources:

•     You, the candidate.

•     Your PhD supervisor and programme director, from whom we collect the following categories of data: confirmation of academic stage, funding arrangements and availability for the internship.

•     Your PhD funding organisation, with whom we may confirm the details above.


We will use the personal information we collect about you to:

•     Assess your skills, qualifications, and suitability for the role.

•     Carry out background and reference checks, where applicable.

•     Communicate with you about the recruitment process.

•     Keep records related to our recruitment processes.

•     Comply with legal or regulatory requirements.

It is in our legitimate interests to decide whether to appoint you to a role since it would be beneficial to our business to appoint someone to that role. We also need to process your personal information to decide whether to enter into an internship agreement with you.


Having received your CV and your application form, we will then process that information to decide whether you meet the basic requirements to be shortlisted for the role. If you do, we will decide whether your application is strong enough to invite you for an interview. If we decide to call you for an interview, we will use the information you provide to us at the interview to decide whether to offer you the role.

If we decide to offer you the role, we will carry out a right to work check before confirming your internship.


If you fail to provide personal information

If you fail to provide information when requested, which is necessary for us to consider your application (such as details of your academic stage and funding arrangement), we will not be able to process your application successfully. For example, if you fail to provide us with evidence that your PhD supervisor and programme director support your application, we will not be able to take your application further.

Also, any offer made to you may be conditional upon you providing evidence of your identity and your right of work in the UK. This is a legal requirement. If you fail to provide this information we may not be able to offer you an internship.


We will use your particularly sensitive personal information in the following ways:

•     We will use information about your disability status to consider whether we need to provide appropriate adjustments during the recruitment process, for example whether adjustments need to be made during an interview. We have a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments in certain circumstances.

•     We may ask you for information regarding your health to establish whether you will be able to carry out a function that is intrinsic to the work concerned, pursuant to the Equality Act 2010.

•     We will use information about your race or national or ethnic origin, religious, philosophical or moral beliefs, or your sexual orientation, to ensure meaningful equal opportunity monitoring and reporting.


We do not envisage that we will process information about criminal convictions.


We do not envisage that any decisions will be taken about you using automated means, however we will notify you in writing if this position changes.



Why might you share my personal information with third parties?

All our third-party service providers and other entities in the group are required to take appropriate security measures to protect your personal information in line with our policies. We do not allow our third-party service providers to use your personal data for their own purposes. We only permit them to process your personal data for specified purposes and in accordance with our instructions.



We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your personal information from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way, altered or disclosed. In addition, we limit access to your personal information to those employees, agents, contractors and other third parties who have a business need-to-know. They will only process your personal information on our instructions and they are subject to a duty of confidentiality.


We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected data security breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected breach where we are legally required to do so.




How long will you use my information for?

We will retain your personal information for a period of six months after we have communicated to you our decision about whether to appoint you to a role. We retain your personal information for that period so that we can show, in the event of a legal claim, that we have not discriminated against candidates on prohibited grounds and that we have conducted the recruitment exercise in a fair and transparent way. After this period, we will securely destroy your personal information in accordance with our data retention policy and applicable laws and regulations.


If we wish to retain your personal information on file, on the basis that a further opportunity may arise in future and we may wish to consider you for that, we will seek your explicit consent to retain your personal information for a fixed period on that basis.




Your rights in connection with personal information

Under certain circumstances, by law you have the right to:


•     Request access to your personal information (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.

•     Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.

•     Request erasure of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal information where you have exercised your right to object to processing (see below).

•     Object to processing of your personal information where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes.

•     Request the restriction of processing of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.

•     Request the transfer of your personal information to another party.

If you want to review, verify, correct or request erasure of your personal information, object to the processing of your personal data, or request that we transfer a copy of your personal information to another party, please contact Jemini Prajapati, HR Manager in writing.



When you applied for a role with us, you consented to us processing your personal information for the purposes of the recruitment exercise. You have the right to withdraw your consent for processing for that purpose at any time, if you no longer wish for us to involve you in the recruitment process. To withdraw your consent, please contact Jemini Prajapati, HR Manager. Once we have received notification that you have withdrawn your consent, we will no longer process your application and, subject to our retention policy, we will dispose of your personal data securely.


If you have any questions about this Privacy Notice or how we handle your personal information, please contact the Jemini Prajapati, HR Manager.

You have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK supervisory authority for data protection issues.

(If you do not accept, your request cannot be processed)