Internship at the Royal Institution

Hannah Rachel Scott (PhD, UCL Division of Psychiatry)

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The Royal Institution of Great Britain

Thanks to funding available from the ESRC, I had the opportunity to do a three month internship at the Royal Institution (Ri) this summer. The Ri is a charity that promotes engagement with science, and has an extensive history of research and public lectures. It’s now best known for its annual Christmas lectures for children each year; but also has a year-long programme of lectures by academics from all areas of STEM, produces online science communication content and runs education programmes for school students.

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Producing engaging science content for YouTube

My internship was with the digital media department, who are responsible for creating all of the Ri’s digital content. As part of my time at the Ri, I helped manage their social media accounts, film public lectures, and produce science videos for their YouTube channel. With limited previous experience, I learnt on the job how to produce marketing materials and engaging science content, and was also able to use my existing research methods experience to analyse factors that impacted the performance of their videos on YouTube.

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Hannah filming during the placement

I’ve always been interested in science communication so it was an incredible opportunity to learn about this from a leading organisation in this area. I’ve gained a lot of experience in terms of how to make complex scientific concepts accessible and interesting to a non-expert audience (and, as a social scientist, refresh the physics and chemistry knowledge I haven’t used much since leaving school).  I learnt a range of practical skills including how to use video editing software and lighting, sound and camera equipment. Should my career take me out of academia, these skills will add to my employability, and also have a more immediate application for the final part of my PhD thesis, in which I will develop the basis for a public resource using the data that I have collected.