Future of Bioscience? Post-Brexit Reality

Join King’s Think Tank Society on the 13th Feb 6.30-7.30pm at the Guy’s Campus for a lively discussion of the ‘Future of Bioscience? Post-Brexit Reality’

FREE tickets available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/future-of-bioscience-post-brexit-reality-tickets-31398028348

Panellists include:

  • Professor Sir Robert Lechler, Vice President and Executive Director of King’s Health Partners
  • Dr Virginia Acha, Executive Director Research, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry


King’s Think Tank Recruits for 2016-17!

If you are looking for career development opportunity or aspiring for a career in policy, diplomacy, marketing or journalism within a health sciences framework, please read on.

The Global Health Policy Centre at King’s Think Tank is looking for students to help reshape the global healthcare policy and promote health equity. They have the following voluntary positions to offer:

  • Policy Centre Editor : If you are good at writing and brainstorming, and have great ideas to bring onboard, you should consider applying for this post.
  • Policy Centre Researcher : If you are a stickler for details, a hardcore evidence-based researcher with exceptional writing skills and exciting ideas, you’d make a great researcher.
  • Policy Centre Liaison : If you enjoy talking to people, are well-organised and a fantastic event manager, this is just the role for you.

For a full job description and to apply please visit: www.kingsthinktank.com/#!recruitment-2016-17/umls4

Deadline for applications are Monday 5th September, 2016. Should you have any questions, please email president@kingsthinktank.org

Seven things you could do if you’re interested in a career in policy

Policy is one of those areas that PhDs and research staff often mention to me that they’re interested in moving into.  They have found out that it combines a good level of research knowledge and experience, with the possible opportunity to effect change for a certain group.

But gaining experience in this area, prior to getting a job in it, is important.  Here are some ideas you could look into, while you’ve got the luxury of being within a huge organisation such as King’s.

1) Join King’s Think Tank Society, attend its events or contribute to its publications.  This will get you meeting other like-minded people and an outlet for your thoughts.

2) Become a staff or student rep.  Getting used to committees, governance, advocacy and how these tools work is really important for understanding how policies are created and applied across organisations. Outside of King’s, think about becoming a charity trustee or even a school governor.

3) Follow the work of the KCL Policy Institute which acts as King’s policy consultancy.  You’d find out more about how these consultancy organisations work and how their outputs differ from academic research.

4) Attend some events* where people who work in policy talk about their jobs.  Not only will this increase your knowledge of the range of roles involved but it gives you an opportunity to meet other researchers interested in the sector and to practise talking to an employer. The sorts of organisations that come include the UN and EU. *KCL log-in required; look for ‘Public Policy series’ in the events listing.

5) Attend Policy Idol 2016!  It’s too late to take part but take note of it for next year!

6) Take a look at this case study on the Grad School blog and follow the Industry Insider, Peace Politics and Policy blog from the Careers Group.

7) Consider signing up for the KCL Research Consultancy where you may find that projects in measurement, evaluation and building sector awareness help you demonstrate that you’ve got the skills it takes to become a policy wonk.

Career Spotlight: insights about working for a think tank

We were joined by Dr Ann-Marie Brouder, from Forum for the Future, and Susan Steed (working for a PhD), from the new economics foundation.  Find out more about policy work here.

Ann-Marie’s career followed a winding path, starting with a BSc in Marketing and Business where she went to work in the policy section of a large company.  She realised her interest in the environmental area was growing and did an MSc in Development Economics, from where she went to work for Unicef in Malawi.  Eventually she came back to the UK to take a post as research fellow at Reading University.  From there she went to Forum for the Future and is now a Principal Sustainability Adviser there.

Their agenda is to push businesses and governments to think long term about the challenges involved in particular around energy and food.  They work with some of the big names (Ecover, Sky, PepsiCo etc) to change their practices.. Through desk research, interviews and research, they aim to persuade and challenges these corporations to think differently.  Other projects might include, for example, O2 approaching them to help the company be the ‘leaders in sustainability in the mobile world’.  Or, they might try to influence the public through, for example, engaging with the National Trust, WI and the Church of England to champion the idea of community energy through their members.

Some of the transferable skills she took from her PhD:

  • being able to write and do presentations
  • being able to manage quick and dirty research projects
  • being able to work independently
  • demonstrating passion and commitment
  • learning how to work in teams when the PhD had been much more individual.

Starting salary around early £20k.

nef has a slightly different agenda from Forum for the Future though both operate in similar ways.  Their mission is to challenge governments and people to think about economics ‘as if people and the planet mattered’.

Susan described nef as apolitical but slightly left/Green leaning, though they do do some work with the Tories too.  Other think tanks will have different political leanings (eg Policy Exchange might be right-wing, IPPR left wing).

nef’s work can be split into the following themes:

  1. Research theme: the Happy Planet Index
  2. Research into action: Time Banks
  3. Providing an alternative view point: media appearances and books
  4. Research into campaign: Jubilee 2000 debt campaign
  5. Training: MOOC on economics
  6. Consultancy: nef consulting (which provides training in social research methods, for example)

Funding for think tanks comes from grants, or consultancy work.

Susan’s time is split between doing desk work, speaking at conferences and so on, and ‘fieldwork’.  She joined nef after having been a Housing Officer for a local council, because nef at that time was involved in a housing project.  It helped that her own personal interests allied with nef’s – she had been involved with setting up a local currency which is one of nef’s particular interests.

How do you get to stay in a think tank, given that much of the work is project-based and therefore funded per project?  Either you have to be really good at a particular skill (she is good at a particular social research method), or you have to have particular knowledge that the think tank doesn’t want to lose.  People either stay a couple of years, or a long time, which means there is a certain amount of ‘churn’ at the entry levels.



First Career Spotlight 2014 tomorrow!

A reminder that the first Career Spotlight of 2014 is tomorrow, Weds 22nd January, 5-6pm, FWB 1.70.

We’ll be joined by speakers from the New Economics Foundation and Forum for the Future, talking about what it’s like to work for a think tank and how their PhDs have helped.

So, if you’ve ever wondered about policy-making, using your research skills in a different area, or are just curious about different career areas, please come along.

Next week’s spotlight will be on Management Consultancy.

No need to sign up; please see further details of the series here.