The Academy of Medical Sciences and Wellcome Trust are pleased to open applications to our policy internship scheme. Under the scheme, Wellcome Trust four-year PhD students will have the opportunity to undertake a three-month policy internship at the Academy offices in central London.
The scheme is designed to give students first-hand experience of an influential medical science policy 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 senior 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.
The Academy is carefully monitoring the developing situation and advice about the current global outbreak of COVID-19. The health, safety and appropriate support of candidates and interns is our first priority. The Academy is developing its flexible working practices and is currently working wholly remotely. We anticipate that interviews for this opportunity will be conducted remotely by video call. Successful candidates will be kept closely informed on any potential impacts on their internship period, and how these can be mitigated or managed.
Previous interns said the following about the 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 see the internship as a vital part of my education as a PhD student... It provides a unique insight into how medical science policy is formed; a chance to talk to influential people about policy issues... and it increases the understanding of policy within academia.”
“I’ve gained everything I had hoped to from the scheme... Very few PhD students get such a rich introduction to the policy atmosphere, and I really think my experience here will be of use to me in the future, whether I’m working in academia, science journalism or directly in a policy-oriented role.”
“I got to take responsibility for projects and develop my own skills, and was treated like a true member of the team.”
“All the supervision was brilliant, from all the staff that I worked with. I always felt very supported.”
“It’s a good way to network and meet people.”
“The Academy staff gave excellent careers advice and the opportunity to attend many ‘extracurricular’ science events. These aspects really helped me to decide to remain in the science sector after I finish the internship.”
About the Academy of Medical Sciences
The Academy of Medical Sciences (www.acmedsci.ac.uk) is the independent body in the UK representing the diversity of medical science. Our mission is to promote medical science and its translation into benefits for society. The Academy’s elected Fellows are the UK’s leading medical scientists from hospitals, academia, industry and public service. We work with them to: promote excellence in these disciplines; influence policy to improve health and wealth; nurture the next generation of medical researchers; link academia, industry and the NHS; seize international opportunities; and encourage dialogue about the medical sciences.
The scheme is open to Wellcome Trust four-year PhD Programme students who will be in the third or fourth year of their studentship when their internship takes place. The scheme can also be undertaken in the three-month period immediately following the end of a student’s fourth year.
• The scheme is presently not open to clinicians, veterinarians, social scientists, or to PhD students working at the Sanger Centre.
• The scheme is currently not open to locally-funded students studying on Wellcome PhD programmes, however we are actively reviewing this position. We encourage students who are funded in this way, and who will be in their third or fourth year in spring 2021, to check for changes to this eligibility requirement at the next round of recruitment.
• Applications must be endorsed by the candidate’s primary PhD project supervisor and the Programme sponsor. Candidates must ensure that they leave enough time to secure this endorsement before they submit their application.
• Applicants must have the right to work full time (35 hours per week) in the UK.
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.
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’s Council (the governing body made up of members elected from the Fellowship) and ideas coming from the wider Fellowship, as well as responses to issues raised by Government, Parliament and other relevant bodies, such as stakeholders in industry, medical research charities, the 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 ‘roundtable’ discussions with key decision makers. Our major policy studies have tackled the challenges of team science, research reproducibility, the health of the public in 2040, and how we can best use evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines. Our ongoing projects are considering topics such as multimorbidity as a global health challenge, and the use of patient data in healthcare and research. Information on all our projects can be found on our website.
During the three-month internship, students will be involved in a wide variety of activities that will give them experience of many aspects of medical science policy. This will include one or more discrete projects led by the intern as well as other activities that might include:
Structure of the scheme
The three-month internships will be full-time positions based at the Academy’s offices at 41 Portland Place, London. To facilitate this time away from research, students will be supported by a three-month extension to their Wellcome Trust PhD stipend while they are based at the Academy. Further financial support to cover travel or subsistence costs will be decided on a case-by-case basis, up to a maximum of £2000 per intern and subject to agreement by the Academy and Wellcome Trust. In certain circumstances, we will consider exceeding this limit if candidates can provide documentary evidence of the costs incurred above £2000.
Each intern will be allocated a supervisor from among the Academy staff who will:
• Provide line management and guidance.
• Conduct entry and exit interviews.
• Co-ordinate reviews of the documents produced by the intern.
• Carry out relevant administration in accordance with the Academy’s Human Resources policies.
Internships will be offered in three-month time blocks from October 2020 to September 2021. Candidates are invited to indicate their preferred time to undertake the placement, although we cannot guarantee the timing of placements.
Candidates are asked to supply – all in pdf format:
• A completed application form, including an endorsement and a supporting statement from their supervisor, and an endorsement by the Programme sponsor (the PhD Programme Director). You can download this from the link below.
• A short covering letter briefly describing their reasons for application.
• A CV.
• A short article, of no more than 800 words in length, on a medical science policy topic. Candidates may choose a topic related to their PhD, one of the suggested topics below. Alternatively, candidates can choose any topic that they think would be of interest to the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Translating research into healthcare Scientific education and training
Medical research and economic growth Use of animals in medical research
Research regulation Communicating risk in research
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 candidate’s ability to write in a style suitable for a policy (rather than academic) audience.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview with a selection panel of Academy and Wellcome Trust staff.
Applications must be received by 5pm on Sunday 26 July 2020.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview on 12 or 14 August 2020.
Queries about the internship and application should be directed to Dr Sarah Ritchie, Senior Policy Manager at the Academy of Medical Sciences: Sarah.Ritchie@acmedsci.ac.uk, or 020 3141 3242.
If you are experiencing technical issues please contact Maksi Vicheva at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please download our Frequently Asked Questions Document from our webpage about internships, here.