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Science Council event provides insight into science policy careers

By 29.11.16

by Sam Foley. Connect with him on Linkedin

The Science Council co-hosted a Science Policy Careers event with The London Forum for Science and Policy at Imperial College London on the 17th November.

The event was aimed at students with an interest in understanding the range of careers available within the science policy sector.

Speaking at the event were Hugo Jones, Head of the Chief Medical Officer’s office in the Department of Health; Dr Catherine Ball, Policy Manger at the Association of Medical Research Charities; and Becky Purvis, Head of Public Affairs at the Royal Society, all of whom have achieved fulfilling careers in science policy. They have all had diverse roles within this sector and outlined how students could become involved.

Each speaker presented on how their careers progressed from being a graduate to their current role, why they specifically chose science policy as a career path, and what they enjoyed the most about their job. Presentations were followed by an interactive Q&A session and then the opportunity to individually engage with the speakers at a personal level, accompanied with refreshments.

Key advice from the professionals

The Science Council was proud to host this successful event. I have summarised three key take home messages for those who may have missed it.

Take an Active Approach

The interest in science policy as career has rapidly grown over the past few years among graduates, so take an active role in obtaining work experience or volunteer work within the sector.

Get Networking

Adopting an active role not only provides you with relevant knowledge and experience within science policy, but also provides excellent opportunities to network. Meeting people at science policy events can lead to you finding work experience and interning opportunities, which can help you progress in your career. So get to every event you can and speak to everyone you can.

Most importantly, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!

If you do not obtain a graduate job specifically in this field, DO NOT rule out science policy as a career. Civil Service, governmental and charity jobs also provide opportunities to move around within Science and Politics and may in turn land you your dream job in science policy. Not all of the guest speakers started their careers specifically in science policy, so remember… career goals are not always a linear process!

The Science Council provides a voice on policy issues affecting the science community, fostering debate and the exchange of ideas. Join our public affairs network.