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Dr Jamie Thakrar
PhD student, University of Bristol
Connection to the Academy: Intern with the Policy Team in 2019
My three months at the Academy were a whirlwind, and I definitely believe this was because of how exciting & fast-paced the work was.
What was your experience of applying for the internship?
I first became interested in the Academy's internship scheme during an event for first year PhD students at Wellcome (my funder), as I had always planned to get career experience outside of academia during my doctoral training. As much of my PhD work is clinical and working with human participants, I became interested in medical research policy as I went through the rigorous research ethics approval processes and learnt more about research governance. Also, two other students from my programme took part in the internship scheme at the Academy and told me it was a great place to work, so if I had needed more convincing to apply by then, then this was the final encouragement!
The application process was very clear, and I found writing the application essay to be a really interesting exercise. This was my first proper dive into the world of policy and although it took some time and research to decide on my essay topic, once I had settled on one, I became really engrossed in researching and writing it up. The interviews were not very long after the application submission.
The whole application process was very positive and good career experience in itself.
What did you do during your internship?
During my three months I had the opportunity to hop around the various projects ongoing at the Academy. I really enjoyed the diversity of work and the opportunity to join in with so many different things, while also contributing to important work.
Most of my work was to do with the UK science base. I attended meetings with the other national academies, attended a House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee meeting, and helped my supervisor organise regional meetings on investment in Liverpool and Birmingham. I also worked on events at the Academy including a major workshop on clinical academic careers in my very first week and an international workshop on Universal Health Coverage in low and middle-income countries, where I was able to assist the International team in pre-event preparation, participate on the day and also help write the meeting report.
Don’t be afraid to ask anybody at the Academy about their work and always ask to get involved with things you might be interested in. People are very happy to give you the experience, and also grateful for the helping hand. Also, feel confident to talk to lots of people at events and make new contacts, but most of all, really enjoy the time you have there!