Science-Policy Internships with DEFRA

The London NERC DTP is pleased to offer four three-month, fully-funded internships with the UK Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. These internships are funded as part of NERC’s Added-Value Activities in Innovation grant, and are available to London NERC DTP students in cohorts one, two and three.

Internship DetailsApply

Defra Science-Policy Internships

Host location: Chief Scientific Adviser’s Office

Proposed start dates: June 2017 / September 2017 / November 2017 / January 2018

Duration: 3 months

Number of internships available: 4

Internship outline: Defra needs access to experts and relevant evidence in order to make an informed decision on a particular issue. For sensitive or challenging science-policy or operational issues, the department needs evidence clearly laid out in a format that facilitates quick access to the main facts and the body of evidence for that particular issue. Specifically, Defra needs a policy-neutral statement of the evidence base with an assessment of quality and certainty of that evidence.

The intern will be embedded in Defra and provide independent analysis of a challenging science-policy or operational issue. The intern will produce a robust and concise summary of evidence for a particular area (a high-quality policy briefing with an indication of uncertainty and strength of evidence). The issue will be decided on in conversation with Defra and the intern to match expertise to requirements.

Examples of high-profile science-policy or operational issues include marine conservation zones; air quality; agricultural productivity; animal antimicrobial resistance; environmental impact of flame retardants; insect protein; ammonia emissions; environmental impacts of unconventional gas; local vs overseas food production; hydroponics/urban agriculture; cryptosporidium in water; farm animal welfare; environment and human health. The intern will be based in the Defra Chief Scientific Adviser’s Office and will liaise with relevant evidence and policy teams in Defra, and external experts as necessary.

The main anticipated output from the internship is an evidence summary for a policy issue, to be used in Defra’s decision-making process. The evidence statement will be published internally by Defra. There may be opportunity to publish the evidence summary as a review in a peer-review journal (with Defra permission). Being embedded in Defra will provide the intern with valuable insights into the policy-making process, improve understanding of the policy issues related to their research area (or other areas of interest) and build transferrable skills and networks. Crucially, the internship will provide an opportunity for the intern to contribute to improving the evidence base of a high-profile science-policy or operational issue.

Location: The intern will be based at Defra, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, SW1P 3JR for the duration of the 3-month internship, although there will be opportunity for remote working for some of the week after discussion with Defra.

Supervision: The intern will be managed and supported by the Chief Scientific Adviser’s Office. Dr Alice Milner (RHUL) will provide additional support from the DTP.

Timing: The internships will have staggered start dates, with the first starting at the end of June 2017, then the end of September 2017, November 2017, and January 2018.

Eligibility: London NERC DTP students in cohorts one, two and three are eligible to apply.

Deadline: 9am 9th June

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