NERC PhD students awarded RCUK policy internships

9 December 2015

Fifteen NERC-funded PhD students have been awarded internships that will give them valuable insights into the policymaking process and how science can contribute to it.

From January next year, each intern will work for three months in one of seven influential policy organisations:

  • British Library
  • Centre for Science & Policy
  • Government Office for Science
  • National Assembly for Wales Research Service
  • Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology
  • Royal Society
  • Society of Biology

Research can make a vital contribution to public policy in many areas, whether in government departments, parliamentary groups, devolved administrations or other public bodies. Incorporating researchers' knowledge can make policy far more effective, yielding benefits ranging from lower costs, smarter regulation and stronger economic growth, to improved public safety and wellbeing.

But scientists and policymakers often don't have a good grasp of each other's concerns and needs, so policy does not always incorporate the best and most relevant knowledge. RCUK Policy Internships are intended to help bridge that gap, giving researchers in-depth experience of working in a policy environment. The interns will focus on a topic of interest both to them and to their host organisation, for instance by producing a briefing paper, participating in a policy inquiry or organising an event.

In previous years, students have worked on subjects including the benefits of urban green spaces, possible ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere and how to choose the best places for marine conservation zones.

This is the first time all seven research councils have worked together to deliver the internships through a single process, leading to significant administrative savings. A total of 68 PhD students have been awarded internships under the RCUK scheme. Next year's internships will be announced in early summer 2016.

Further information

Tamera Jones
NERC media office
01793 411561
07917 557215