The Science Media Centre has an active and popular internship programme for those looking to gain experience in science-media relations. The programme gives a flavour of working on the front line between science and the news media.
We pay the London Living Wage (currently £11.95/hour) and interns tend to be final-year undergrads, postgrad students, people who have recently completed an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification, or those looking for an early-stage career change. Our interns work full working weeks – typically 9:30AM to 5:30PM UK time Monday to Friday.
In order for the SMC and the interns themselves to make the most of these placements, our internships are competitively awarded and are five weeks in length. As such, they are not aimed at postgraduate students looking for three month placements.
Our interns get involved in all aspects of the SMC’s work. This includes assisting with press briefings, helping out at events run by the SMC, providing research and administration support for the team, and media monitoring. Please note, our internships do not offer experience of science writing or journalism.
For more detailed information about what the role entails, please see the role profile.
Applications for the next cohort of internships will open in summer 2024.
What previous participants have said…
“Working at the SMC gave me a crash course in media relations at arguably the best science press office in the country. I was able to see how effective communication skills can influence and improve the coverage of science in the news. I instantly felt like part of the SMC team, and helped to keep tabs on the controversial science being covered in national papers. This internship gave me a real boost in terms of finding my next job in sci comm, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested or worried about the way science is portrayed in the news media.”
“I loved every minute of my internship at the SMC. It’s a small team but I felt welcomed into the office and importantly felt like I had a role to play, even in just four weeks. The work itself was always stimulating, from meeting journalists and scientists at briefings – and seeing what each side got out of them, to researching that month’s hot topics in the press – comparing how the tricky and sometimes controversial science was being covered. There was a lot to learn and pick up simply from being in the busy press office but crucially, I felt I was able to ask questions and that support was invaluable. The internship helped shaped my understanding of the role science has in the media and vice versa; I fully recommend to anyone with a passion for science communication to intern at the SMC.”
“I really enjoyed sitting in on many press conferences while at the SMC. They helped me gain a better understanding of the relationship between science and the media. This has been really useful for my current job (making science podcasts) as I understand how best to contact scientists and accurately represent science.”
“I think the small team dynamic enables the volunteers to feel immersed very fast which is great, and the variety of work means it’s never dull.”
“It was a fantastic experience – it was really great being able to meet all the journalists, and keep in touch with what’s going on in the media and just the general atmosphere of the place was lovely.”
“I can’t say enough about how the internship has influenced my subsequent career choices. I learnt so much about science comms just by being in the office and listening to the day to day meetings and conversations. I’ve been told that I was offered my current role entirely because of the knowledge and skills I gained from just a short period at the SMC, which is amazing.“
“I found the environment at the SMC very busy, passionate and intellectually challenging. Despite everyone being busy, I felt that everyone had time for me which I think is really important when you are interning. Also, I felt my input and work at the SMC was welcomed and I really felt part of the team.”
For two lengthier testimonials, you can read these blogposts from former interns: ‘The SMC Experience‘ and ‘A Science Media Centre Internship‘.
If you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment and are interested in applying for an intern placement, feel free to get in touch to find out more.