PhD POSTing in Parliament

17 May 2012 11:21 AM

STFC continues to sponsor three-month fellowships with the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology, an organisation that provides government with in-house impartial advice on a range of science and technology policy issues.

STFC funded PhD students can apply to join the scheme in which they are asked, amongst other activities in Parliament, to research and write material for a ‘POST note (link opens in a new window)’. This is a document covering a specific technical topic that breaks down jargon and presents the different viewpoints on the issue impartially for MPs, Peers and other policy makers. The scheme gives students the chance to learn about how policy is developed and meet with policymakers and helps develop skills in communicating with non-academic audiences.

This year, Sophie Redford from the University of Oxford took up the placement. She explains to STFC Press Officer Lucy Stone, why she took time out from particle physics at CERN to spend three months in parliament:

Audio (2mb .mp3 file)

The topics given to fellows during the placement are deliberately designed to be outside their usual area of academic research. Starting from the basics means they can simplify the topic for other newcomers to the subject. Taking on a topic of ‘Open Source and Open Standards’ Sophie says that was certainly the case for her!

Audio (2mb .mp3 file)

So aside from learning a new topic, what else has Sophie got from the experience?

Audio (2mb .mp3 file)

And finally, after the experience, would she recommend it to others?!

Audio (2mb .mp3 file)

You can hear Sophie’s interview in full here:

Audio (2mb .mp3 file)
Transcript (Word document - 30kB - link opens in a new window)(28kB Word document)

To find out more about POST, listen to an interview with Dr Martin Griffiths, POST Physical Sciences, IT and Communications Adviser here:

Audio (2mb .mp3 file)
Transcript (Word document - 25kB - link opens in a new window)(28kB Word document)

You can learn more about the experiences of previous fellows sponsored by STFC and others, from POST’s website (link opens in a new window).

More details about STFC’s involvement with the POST scheme.