Name: George Jervis


Institution: Durham University


Connection to the Academy: Previously an Academy intern through the Grants and Programmes internship scheme open to BBSRC PhD students

Tell us about your PhD and what stage you were in when you did your internship.

I’m studying plant molecular biology at Durham University, specifically looking at how plant root development is altered by drought stress. I was at almost half way through my second year as a PhD student at Durham University when I saw the application for an internship at the Academy.

My internship lasted from January 2019 to March 2019 and I was the Academy's first intern through its new grants and programmes internship scheme, open to BBSRC students.

What made you apply to the scheme, originally? How was the application process?

I wanted to take up an internship in a field completely different from my PhD where I could get experience in a different line of work but also have the time spent help further my career in science.

The internship at the Academy offered an insight into how the grant process operates, see how panels are put together and see how events are organised for grant holders. This was personally interesting but also could help me apply for grants in a future career in science.

The application process was well run, my questions were quickly replied to and the interview was very friendly.

What did you work on during your internship?

A wide range of topics including helping the grants team in their peer review process and eligibility checking, to assisting the programmes team on their variety of events. I sat in on a lot of interesting meetings including the Academy Council meetings and a grants panel meeting. I also gained some experience in communications, helping out on a social media campaign and writing out a newsletter which was sent to thousands of readers.

How did you find the experience?

Great. Everyone at the office was really friendly and happy to explain their role at the Academy and what they were working on. My managers ensured I always had something that I could work on.

Did the internship give you any skills or knowledge that will be using in your PhD or future career?

I learnt a great deal about the Academy and the funding landscape in the UK. I also picked up lots of soft skills that I’m already finding useful in my PhD.

I think sitting in on a grants panel and seeing how the whole process works was really helpful if I decide to carry out a future career in research as I might end up applying for a grant.

Do you have any advice for someone who’s thinking of applying/doing the internship, or something similar?

If you have a chance to apply for the internship, go for it. Everyone working at the Academy is really helpful and friendly. The experience has already helped me structure my work better for my PhD, and helped me determine what I want to do for a future career.

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