#MyCareerStory -Science Policy

Thanks, Amara, for interviewing me! Happy to share my experience on getting into science policy.

The Aspiring Professionals Hub

Career2In today’s #MyCareerStory, Amara had the opportunity to interviewGabriele Butkute. Gabriele currently works as a Science Policy Assistant at the Royal Society of Biology and the Biochemical Society and in this insightful interview helps to demystify an often overlooked pathway for science graduates. Enjoy!

APH: Can you tell us about your educational background and career progression to date?

GB – I’m originally from Lithuania, which is where I completed my high school diploma cum laude. Soon after my graduation I came to London, had a gap year working in the hospitality business – which is really what people say when they worked as a waitress/waiter! I then embarked on a BSc Biomedical Science degree at London Met, from where I graduated almost two years ago now. Right after my graduation I got a fixed term job as an Events and Administrative Assistant at the Royal Society of Biology…

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My time in science policy

This year I had the great experience of supervising a policy intern, who worked with me at both, the Biochemical Society and the Royal Society of Biology for over two months. See how it went and read why Michael thinks it is important for all students to undertake internships outside their field and (often) outside their comfort zone!

Biochemical Society

By Michael Wood, Policy Intern at the Biochemical Society (January – March 2016) and PhD student, University of Leicester

VOF_MichaelIt is almost impossible to know if you will like a job before starting, by which point it is usually too late to change your mind. Internships offer the freedom to spend some time exploring a job without any long-term obligations and can therefore be a perfect introduction to a new field of work. As part of the first year of my doctoral training programme , I was encouraged to spend three months in an area of science outside of research. Admittedly, I was not looking forward to this and considered it a waste of time that could be better spent getting on with my research project. This was partially due to the fact that I had almost no idea what area I would like to do my internship in, but after…

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Coming out in STEM

This post was originally published on the Royal Society of Biology blog, on 16 February 2016.

“I don’t mind people who are gay; I just don’t want that flaunted in my face”. That’s what Fran Cowling, one of the panel members at The Royal Society’s event, Out in STEM was once told.

While unfortunately similar remarks can still be heard regarding LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) people, most of the panel members said they had experienced a lot of support from friends and colleagues when they had decided to come out. They said they felt a sense of liberation as they no longer had to lead two lives and hide who they truly were. “Although I have encountered some isolated examples of unpleasantness, I can’t say that my career has suffered any adverse consequences”, writes Peter Coles, one of the speakers.

So when choosing to be out in the workplace or when studying – what influences this choice?

WATCH: Sally Le Page, evolutionary biology PhD student at The University of Oxford and maker of  Shed Science videos, on her sexuality and why she thinks queer visibility is important in STEM:

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Mobile researchers: where are they going and why is it important?

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Photo by Waleed Alzuhair

This post was originally published on the Biochemical Society blog on 17 December 2015.

The pharmaceutical sector in the UK has changed a lot over the last several years. The drug discovery process has gone from being largely the domain of big pharma companies to a more collaborative and multidisciplinary approach where academia, charities, small-medium enterprises (SMEs) and the National Health Service are working together.

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3 big data challenges in healthcare

Image by Luc Legay
Image by Luc Legay

This post was originally published on the Biochemical Society blog on 22 October 2015.

People tend to use the word ‘astronomical’ to illustrate an enormous size of numbers. Dr Bissan Al-Lazikani, computational biologist and data scientist from the Institute of Cancer Research, joked at the recent Policy Lunchbox event on big data that we should call huge numbers ‘genomic’, rather than ‘astronomical’ – it’s just more accurate that way. Continue reading

14 science policy blogs everybody should follow

Photo: Andres Zenteno. science policy blogs uk
Photo: Andres Zenteno

Information overload. As if there weren’t enough problems.

With science facing so many challenges right now (EU membership referendum and comprehensive spending review, among others), it is important for all of us stay tuned (scary articles regarding the science funding are published almost daily, you wouldn’t want to miss out, otherwise, where will you get your horror stories?).

While tabloids will get the main message across, you might want to look at these 14 blogs that will give you an idea on what happens behind the scene in science policy. Continue reading

I don’t know what to believe

Via This is Colossal
Via This is Colossal

The post was originally published on the Royal Society of Biology blog on 21 September 2015.

There is a huge appetite for science stories in the news, however, we cannot help but wonder whether everything we read is accurate or rather just a marketing ploy (some of the stories do sound too good to be true). We have all seen headlines that don’t always reflect the content due to the lack of evidence to support it, or worse yet – no evidence at all.

At our recent Policy Lunchbox Dr Chris Peters, scientific liaison at Sense About Science, shared an overview of their work, and in particular, his experience running Plant Science and Energy Panels – public spaces where anyone who has a question on these topics (eg. GM, bees and pesticides, biofuels, fracking) can submit a question to be answered by a specialist researcher. Continue reading