What Does Entrepreneurship Mean to You?

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In her first article on this blog platform, Isobel Gordon has brilliantly summarised the Department of Applied Sciences (DAS) February Monthly Employability Seminar, featuring one of our very own writers, Joseph Myatt. If you’re intrigued about entrepreneurship and how this relates to you, keep on reading!

Every Sector & Entrepreneurship

The February DAS Monthly Employability Seminar, ‘An Introduction to Enterprise’, was hosted by Callum Usher-Dodd, an enterprise consultant and lecturer at UWE and Joseph Myatt, a second-year biomedical science student and young entrepreneur.

You don’t need to be working in business or enterprise in order to be an entrepreneur. Callum defines entrepreneurship as anything that involves getting an idea, business or project off the ground, and he made it clear that any field of work or any university degree can incorporate a certain level of entrepreneurial activity. He also explained that the skills you gain from enterprise can be beneficial to any future job, in any work type; making the point that employers are always looking for people who can think and behave like an entrepreneur, even if it’s not the main part of the job.

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) is trying to ensure that enterprise can be incorporated into all areas of the University and be available to students from all the various degree courses. This is being done in the hope that by 2030, it will evolve into a world-leading enterprise institution. As a science student, I would have never considered myself able to be an entrepreneur, however, Callum makes it clear that no matter who you are, what you’re doing or where you want to go, the skills you can gain from enterprise will always be beneficial to you.

Photo by Clark Tibbs from unsplash.

What do you see?

A simple activity was carried out within the meeting, whereby the listeners were asked to draw what they saw when they thought of an entrepreneur. When asked what they had drawn, many students stated their picture included things like lots of money, businesses suits and IT equipment. Most of the students also admitted that they had drawn a man.

I too fell into this trap and straightaway envisioned the typical billionaire businessmen such as Elon Musk (Chief Executive Officer of Tesla Motors) and Mark Zuckerberg (Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Facebook). However, this rich businessman image is just what the media has portrayed the typical entrepreneur to look like; this doesn’t mean this is what you have to be in order to be one.

One stereotypical image of entrepreneurs that needs to change, is that they are normally associated with men! History has shown us that women are just as capable of entrepreneurial activity, it’s just less well-known and talked about. Marie Curie, for example, managed to integrate the world of science and business into her work with radioactivity. More recently, Nina Tandon, another female scientist, is one of the Co- Founders of EpiBone, a biomedical engineering company that creates bone tissue from patients stem cells for bone grafts. Both of these women are entrepreneurs, yet when we think of the word ‘enterprise’, we don’t associate it with them.

Photo by KOBU Agency from unsplash.

A new perspective?

Entrepreneurship isn’t all about making money and building big businesses. What it’s really about is adding value to other people’s lives and making a difference! One UWE student that has demonstrated this and shown that it’s possible to be a scientist, as well as an entrepreneur, is Joseph Myatt. Whilst studying a biomedical degree, he has founded a site called WRENt, an online site with an aim to make the whole house renting process for students just that little bit simpler.

Joseph admits that he wouldn’t have been able to have achieve the founding of WRENt, if it hadn’t been for the support that UWE offers to young entrepreneurs. In 2020, Joseph was one of the few winners of the UWE Summer Enterprise Scholarship, which offered students who would win, £1,000 to bring their business or project idea to life. Despite the experience of this scholarship being virtual for Joseph, due to the pandemic, he still valued the whole experience and enjoyed being part of a community of like-minded people who he described at ‘doers’. Joseph commented that one the most valuable aspects of the programme was the mentorship that you gain from the staff at the university, as he believes ‘in the early stages, mentorship is more valuable than the money!”.

This scholarship is an amazing opportunity and is open to all students on any course and the project or idea that you pitch, can be related to anything you are passionate about. The skills that you obtain from the summer internship, will set you in good stead for any graduate job or future career you may embark on. If you feel that this is something that you would want to be involved in, or just want to find out some more information, check it out on the UWE webpage.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes from unsplash.

Thank you for reading.

Written by Isobel Gordon

Edited by Jessica Griffith

Isobel Gordon

My name is Izzy Gordon and I am a final year Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science Student at UWE Bristol. I am currently in the process of finishing my final year research project, studying the accumulation and distribution of microplastic pollution along the South coast of the UK. Having grown up in this part of the UK, I have spent most of my life either in or by the water, and have developed a real passion for marine conservation and ocean science as a result.

This September, I hope to continue my education here at UWE, by studying a Masters in Science Communication. From this masters degree, I hope to gain the skills and knowledge to be able to educate and increase awareness surrounding the problems the marine environment currently faces. I also hope to inspire people to want to make changes that will benefit our ocean. In the future, I would love to be able to influence more young people to consider marine conservation as a possible career, and to help people appreciate just how important this environment is.

From the editor: Thank you for taking the time to read this article. We hope it has widened your perspective on the influence of entrepreneurship in every sector. We also hope it has sparked some inspiration in you, whether to become a full-time entrepreneur or bring entrepreneurship into your own chosen career pathway.

As always, we are keen to have more writers/ contributions, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via email – ScienceFutures@uwe.ac.uk and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Enjoy the rest of the week and month!

Take care and stay safe.

Up and Beyond the Labs | From UWE to Space

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Piotr has written yet another excellent article to explore another dimension of science; space. Many scientists dream of doing things on Earth, but if you are interested in expanding your scope and exploring your curiosity, have a read of this article as you begin your scientific journey in space.

The beginning

Biology and Space. Here we go! Launching in 3…2…1…

There is a wide array of disciplines and research areas within biological sciences, and, naturally, there are plenty of career paths that concern themselves with everything earthly. However, there is also yet another path, one that can lead you closer to space and to what may be waiting beyond our habitable planet. Like myself, you may be wondering how one gets from a biology-related course to working in astrobiology or for European Space Agency. Therefore, I will share what I have gleaned from attending January’s Employability Event, From UWE to Space, where Dr Nicol Caplin, Deep Space Exploration Scientist at ESA, shared her own experience in her science journey.

Photo by Richard Gatley from unsplash.

Biology and Space?

A few years ago, I learned about astrobiology for the first time. Any scientist that was described as an astrobiologist appeared to me as some sort of mistic who somehow managed to obtain the title and knowledge that seemed to be imparted within. At the time, I heard little about the discipline, yet I found it intriguing, and I have checked if there is any university offering an undergraduate course in it, yet to no avail. Nowadays, there are still very few dedicated astrobiology courses. However, there are several fascinating PhD programs across the globe. I sometimes happen to mention that I would like to work as an astrobiologist to my friends or family, and what I sometimes hear back spans from ‘Oh, you would like to meet and talk with aliens?’ to my father enquiring about ‘the alien base on the dark side of the moon’ of which he has been informed of its existence by scientists on one of those pseudoscientific documentary series one can find on TV. I then go on to explain what it is that I would most likely do, and a whole new interesting conversation takes place.

Photo by Donald Giannatti form unsplash.

Branching out in science

Astrobiology is a multidisciplinary scientific field and whether you study biological sciences, astronomy, chemistry, or geology, you may be able to find your own niche in this area of work. Nicol studied Environmental Sciences, taking particular interest in plants and radioactivity, and little she knew, she would end up working for European Space Agency (ESA). Unknowingly at the time, certain steps she undertook, enabled her to pursue that path.

Whether you have already set your eyes on the sky and what is beyond, or you’re still searching for what you want from your life and career, I think that Nicol could not stress enough the benefit of making the best of the time you have to complete your degree. Internships were one of the recommendations she made as an option during summertime, as they provided her with invaluable experience. Being interested in plant-related science, she completed an internship with Soil Association, an organic farming charity, in her first year and then with Plant Impact, an agrochemical company in the second year. Another option you might like to consider for your summer is The Summer Scheme, an opportunity to participate in an 8 week summer internship. Not only it will give you a chance to build your skill and confidence, but it is also a paid internship.

Nicol also mentioned another aspect of her career, namely science communication. When studying her PhD, she has decided to pick the Science Communication module, which is great in relation to astrobiology – astrobiology is often a controversial topic, quite complex in its nature and the ability to deliver it to the general public is especially important. Nicol mentioned exciting projects she partook in, among others, Q&A video for school children- Space Rocks, which involved science communication efforts in association with ESA, employing artists and figures from media; and Star Trek convention, where she delivered a presentation about ESA and astrobiology.

Photo by Patrick T’Kindt from unsplash.

Your journey

When it comes to getting your first experience working with European Space Agency (ESA), there are internship opportunities you can read about on ESA’s website, such as ESA Young Graduate Trainees or National Traineeships. However, bear in mind that due to their competitive nature, you may have higher chances to get your spot having completed or nearing completion of a Master’s degree. I do like to think that it is not a rule that is set in stone, and that if there is a brilliant enough mind, they will be able to land their place at such an internship even earlier. Nonetheless, it is certainly an option to consider later as an undergraduate student or aspiring professional.

I have reached out to Nicol after the talk, and she got back to me with a few more tips, putting some of my worries to rest. When starting a degree, especially through a Foundation Year, the prospect of completing it seems dauntingly distant. Nicol reassured me by saying that she herself began her studies with Foundation Year, and similarly to myself, was first in her family to access Higher Education. Being proactive and searching for opportunities throughout the whole studying period will likely yield benefits to those who invest their time and energy.

Photo by Greg Rakozy from unsplash.

Final Thoughts

Considering that astrobiology is so broad, getting experience in many areas will allow you to later put the transferable skills you have gained to your advantage and improve your standings in recruiters’ eyes. Even if you do something that seems unrelated to astrobiology itself, like joining carting or poetry club, or a blogging team, you may still gain skills that could be translated into future roles, such as team working, team management, writing and presentation skills, etc. There are also societies and clubs outside of university that may align with your interests and which you may wish to join, and they are all but an online search away.

If you find yourself not knowing much about astrobiology, or you know someone who is eager to know more, have a look at the following astrobiology primer from NASA: https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/education/primer/ . It outlines current pursuits within the field and is directed at a young scientist who may be interested in this fascinating aspect of science.

Thank you for reading.

Written by Piotr Sordyl

Hello, my name is Piotr (I can assure you it is not as difficult to pronounce as it may seem) and I am a mature, international student on Foundation Year Biological Sciences course. I am originally from Poland, however, Bristol has been my home for over 7 years now (which sometimes makes me stagger when asked where I am from).


I take great pleasure in weaving tales, and so I have been writing and working on ideas for novels. I am interested in neuroscience, zoology, astrobiology, planetary science, to name a few and I intend to use the knowledge gained through my studies to write books, popularizing it to a wider audience.


I run roleplay games sessions for my friends, collaboratively telling stories that become alive in our shared imagination. I am also an aspiring violinist, learning how to take my first steps.

From the editors: Thank your taking the time to read this excellent article from Piotr, a great summary of one of the DAS Monthly Employability seminars. We hope this has piqued your curiosity and expanded your awareness of how much you can do in the sciences.

Please do share with those you think need some inspiration and reach out to us if you would like to share one of your interest on this blog platform. You can get in touch with us via email – ScienceFutures@uwe.ac.uk and also connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Enjoy your Easter holiday and see you next time!

Finding Opportunities in Times of Crisis

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Sophie Harris, a final year Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Student in the Department of Applied Sciences at UWE Bristol attended the British Ecological Society (BES) Undergraduate Summer School this year. Summer school during an ongoing pandemic? Yes! Sophie shares her experience in this article and we hope you are not only inspired but motivated to take similar opportunities when they arise. This is a perfect example of how to make the most of what you have, when you have it and while it’s still in your reach.

Change of tactics

Each year, the BES hosts a summer school course for first and second year students studying an Ecology (or another relevant) degree. After hearing tales about the course from a course mate last year, I decided to apply for 2020.

Now, as if it hadn’t really been spoken about already, just in case you hadn’t heard, unfortunately – there’s a pandemic at the moment. Something about a bat in China. This meant that my trip to the Yorkshire Dales with BES was a little bit different to what I had imagined. I had envisioned being cold and wet and having a fantastic time up North. However, I was still able to gain valuable skills and experiences from the comfort of my very own home.

A wooden bench sitting in the middle of a park

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Photo by Will Paterson from Unsplash

The journey

The school consisted of 4 days over a 5 day period learning about mycology, ornithology, entomology (the ologies go on), as well lectures on various career paths and general networking. We were also tasked with creating a portfolio of our work outside of the lessons. This portfolio included our CV, a blog post, a plant drawing, and anything else extra we wanted to do for the summer school. Why would you do extra work during the summer holidays, you may ask? For the respect? To impress? To get more involved? Of course… But if that doesn’t get you pumped to write an internship application, maybe the insane prizes, such as a bat detector will!

As well as the activities conducted in our own time, we also had active and engaging sessions to look forward to. On the first day we had to go into the real world (scary, I know) and find fungi. Once found we then had to try and identify the species, before creating a powerpoint presentation with our mentor group and presenting to the rest of the school on the Thursday. This may seem daunting, however presentation skills are key for almost any job, so even if you have no clue what you’re on about, act like you do! It might just win you a swanky mycology poster (Insert smug emoji).

Photo by Teemu Paananen from Unsplash

Gains

Although I wasn’t able to attend the summer school physically, the fact that BES still created such a fantastic online version meant so much to me. It came just at the time where I needed a routine and a platform to engage with people who have similar interests and passions (motivating). The staff were just fantastic. They were, and are still so supportive, encouraging students to contact them any time in the future with regards to anything related to their career path or just for general advice; those are contacts that aren’t easy to come across. I would really encourage anyone thinking about a career in ecology, or even any environmental career, to go for the opportunity and apply for next year’s run. It’s invaluable, enjoyable and free! What more could you want!?

Reflection

My final piece of advice once you have applied (and I know you will because my science communication skills are amazing after the summer school!) make sure you fully throw yourself into the programme. You’ll get out what you put in. If you engage, put yourself out of your comfort zone and just absorb everything, even if you don’t think you’re interested, you’ll get so much out of it. There aren’t many opportunities like this out there for undergrads so don’t pass it up.

Finally, make sure you check for application deadlines quite early on in the year and seize the chance while you still have it.

A person taking a selfie in a forest

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Sophie Harris in action

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a message.

Written by Sophie Harris

Thank you for reading!

Article edited by Jessica Griffith and Dr Emmanuel Adukwu

From the editors: We hope you enjoyed the read as much as we did and have been left feeling motivated and ready to grab opportunities around you. This article is another wonderful reminder to keep pursuing and growing in every season of our lives, even the most difficult ones.

We welcome contributions from staff, students and anyone who would like to contribute to our content about careers in the Sciences and STEM. If you are interested, get in touch via email – ScienceFutures@uwe.ac.uk. Do also connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter!

Keep well and stay safe.

#UniAdvice – 10 great apps for University students!

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It’s September and the beginning of a new academic year. Whether you’re just starting out or preparing for your final year at University, we can guess that your smart devices (phone or tablet) play an important role in your daily activities. Apps should not be left out of University life either and can be used as learning tools, to increase productivity as well as staying healthy. In this article, Amara shares a list of great apps* to kick start your studies this year. All  apps mentioned are available on both iOS and Android platforms with price plans from free!

*This is not a sponsored article. Neither the author nor APH has received any direct or indirect compensation for any products discussed.

Your University’s app – I would always recommend starting here first. As Higher Education continues to embrace technology in facilitating teaching and learning, almost every Higher Education Institution delivers their teaching using an online platform such as Blackboard™ which have associated apps. Apart from giving you access to all the teaching material, you can check your assessment deadlines, get feedback on your coursework, and communicate with other students in your class. Some University apps have more enhanced functionality providing students with information and services anytime, anywhere.

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Blackboard app

Evernote/Penultimate for Evernote – Have you ever written something important on a piece of paper just to lose it when it really mattered? With Evernote, you can have all your important information not only in one place but well organized for instant access. Every smartphone usually has an app for notetaking but with Evernote, you can attach images, embed voice files, scan documents, prepare to-do lists and set reminders. If you find typing your notes in class too difficult, Penultimate for Evernote is a great ‘type to text’ app that can convert your written notes to text and save into Evernote. The app also syncs your notes across devices so you can write a note on your iPhone and read it on your Samsung tablet. Another important advantage is that there is a website behind it so if you ever lose your device, your notes are still available.

Dropbox – My biggest fear at University was leaving my floppy disk in the library’s computer! Yes, there were storage devices before the advent of the memory stick! No more excuses of your dog eating your homework! With Dropbox, you have cloud storage of all your very important work which you can access from your phone/tablet. Ensure you always back up your files so the least you can lose is your latest draft and not all your work from 2010! It is also a good place to store and organize your holiday snaps and other memorable photos. We could all use some more gigabytes!

A flash card app for revision – We are so sure that if you are reading this, you are one of the conscientious students who prepares for revision early on in the semester by making their own notes. If you are, keep it up. If not, what are you waiting for? Flashcards are a great way of summarizing your taught material using your own words. You can note areas you need to conduct more research in or keywords that need to be more clearly defined. If you use flashcards already why not try an electronic version? These are less susceptible to loss and can be synced across your devices. Some allow you to embed pictures and audio into your flash card. What’s not to love about that? Examples include Evernote peek, StudyBlue, Quizlet and Chegg (available for iOS devices, please check for Android).

Read More – Sign up to get our essential checklist for succeeding in Higher Education

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Flashcards have been saving our lives for centuries : )
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Carry your revision everywhere you go!

RefME – Writing continues to be one of the biggest challenges new as well as not so new students grapple with in Higher Education and based on my personal experience referencing is not left out. Have you ever spent time researching a topic for an essay, reading through different topics, furiously making notes just to find out you’re all muddled up when it comes to what idea came from where and preparing your Harvard or APA reference style list at the end. Well RefMe can help you collect your research and manage your references, supporting your development into a more skilled academic writer. Other apps that do an equally good job are EasyBib and Endnote.

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Image – RefMe

Social media apps – Wait a minute Amara, are you sure? Yes I am. Social media is here to stay and we may as well get with the program. The key to winning with social media is pre-defining your purpose for being on social media before you start and managing your time effectively. You should be using social media and not the other way around. Increasingly, developing an online social presence has become important to help you stand out of the crowd and recognize key influencers and opportunities that can support your career post University! It is never too early to create your LinkedIn profile or use Scoopit! to publish curated information pertaining to your discipline. What do you spend your time on Youtube doing? Watching cats playing tricks? While I agree that is a fun way to spend your time, do you realise how much knowledge is available in bite size chunks on your subject? Who makes the best videos explaining key concepts in Economics? Whatever platform you choose to follow the news or contribute to the conversation, always practice netiquette.

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Khan Academy – I’ve used and recommended Khan Academy to my students especially those just starting out for years. Why? Because it’s a great tool and aid to support learning for selected subject areas particularly the sciences. If you’re a first year student in the Biosciences check out the Biology and Chemistry topics. Having this app means that you can have this resource with you at all times and not just when you are in front of a computer.

Google apps – Google provides a range of different apps that can help you organize your calendar and email, ‘Maps’ to help you navigate if you’re new to the town or city, docs, spreadsheets to prepare your work and Drive for online storage.

TED – Hopefully you’ve heard about TED talks? Why do you need it? Well, you’ll hardly get through University without undertaking some form of public speaking will you? The best place to learn is always from the best. With this app, you’ll have access to some of the best from the TED stage. Learn how to engage an audience, speak confidently and about the latest innovations in a wide range of disciplines.

A Fitness app – Working towards a degree is not just about developing academically and mentally. You need to take care of your health too. If you’re like me and need some extra help to keep on the straight and narrow with your fitness goals, consider adding a fitness app to the mix. I’m not making any recommendations here so look for something that works for you! For somewhere to start you can look up apps like ‘Couch to 5K’ from the BBC, FitBit, 7 Minute Challenge or just a simple pedometer. Please note that not all these apps are free.

Your bank’s app – Yes, I know I said 10 but see this as a bonus. The most important resource a University student has is their time however the biggest cause of concern for most students is money. Moving to another town, giving up work/working part time, costs associated with study can all be a drain on finances but moving to an online banking platform can ensure you always stay on top of what is happening without having to spend time standing in queues at the bank or an ATM. Managing your finances is important to improve your overall experience at University so ensure you keep on top of it and use the support available from your institution when you need it.

What did you think of this list? It’s not exhaustive by any means but I believe it is a good place to get started. Do you have all these apps or are there any more you can recommend to our readers. Please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!

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About our writer– After completing a PhD in Microbiology and Food Science, Amara is developing her career in academia – providing teaching and learning solutions in UK FE and HE Institutions as well as conducting research in Food Microbiology. Amara believes in the combined power of education, mentoring and productive relationships as essential tools for building successful careers.

Originally published by The Aspiring Professionals Hub.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please shareWould you like to share an article in The Hub? We would love to hear from you. Please get in touch – info@aspiringprofessionalshub.com

Navigating a Career in Science Communication

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Andy Ridgway, a Senior Lecturer and member of the Science Communication Unit at UWE Bristol, delivered the last Monthly Employability Seminar, titled ‘Navigating a Career in Science Communication’ before the closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He has previously written for publications such as the BBC Focus magazine and New Scientist. This article is a summary of the session written by Joseph Myatt, a second year Biological Science student at UWE Bristol. 

The workshop demonstrated Andy’s appreciation for Science Communication, including the importance of approaching ideas creatively in order to translate the abstract science into everyday language. His passion for writing was also evident in that he continues to work as a freelance journalist, writing for various science publications in addition to his role as a Senior lecturer at UWE Bristol. This continued engagement with journalism has helped him to stay in touch with his interests as well as supporting student development. 

Andy presented himself as a true advocate for rethinking traditional ideas and embracing forward-thinking journalism; from his expressions, he showed a strong, clear moral compass. Andy also explained the importance of referring to reliable resources and making sure that, as a journalist, you communicate clearly to your audience but still keep the essence of the study you are referring to.  

We are all living in the age of communication. The internet, reservoir for the greatest collection of texts, data and ideas the world has borne witness to. Enabling the access to information 25 years ago only a library or professor would have been able to provide. Connecting populations, communities and individuals with previously unknown ideas. Communication of information is a cornerstone of civilisation. As Scientists and Theologians discover and hypothesise more about the universe around us, a greater importance falls on the shoulders of those who communicate these complex ideas to us.

The United Kingdom has a proud and nurtured history of communicating discoveries in the sciences. Michael Faraday, for example, was a key pioneering scientist who initiated the Christmas lectures at the Royal Institute, London in 1825, primarily to inspire children but also to communicate his research. Today, we have the internet, magazines, social media and television, which allows more people than ever before to access information online.  

‘Science isn’t finished until it’s communicated.’

Mark Walport

Science Communication has an impact on all members of society, whether it is by means of an interesting newspaper article or by providing essential information for decision makers of government policy. Science communicators, working for magazines, museums and in television, play key roles in the sciences, such as translating fresh science journals into an article in a different format that caters to the general public (i.e. non-scientists). They often take the notoriously difficult to understand scientific jargon, strip it back to the essential ideas and reconfigure, and present the information in a simple yet powerful and meaningful way.  I’m sure many of us in the sciences at university watched Bill Nye, Brian Cox or Carl Sagan when we were in school and nudged us towards inquiry into the sciences.

One of the key issues that has been widely debated in this field is poor journalism. One example mentioned by Andy was the controversial, although disproven, publication and reporting of a link (i.e. association) between the Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. The incorrect published data still has negative far-reaching effects despite being disproven. This reinforced Andy’s point that as Science Communicators, our work should be based on sound and statistically significant research as there can be unintended consequences, in this case being people not taking the vaccine, from the published work. Many of us would agree that journalism should therefore be viewed with an open mind, seeing both the good and bad, potential positive and negative consequences whilst ensuring we produce sound articles that benefit society. 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

In our journey through education, it is difficult to know what we want to do and our academic adventure often leads to unexpected destinations. Andy is a prime example of this. After a degree in Biology and Economics, he started writing for the BBC Focus magazine and described his experience with this magazine as his ‘most enjoyable work’. As students, we are given many options to choose from, which can become a problem where fear of choosing the wrong pathway can arise. However, Andy’s story can re-assure many people, especially students, that you will eventually find your way onto the right path. The key is to keep pursuing, reflecting and persistently aiming to obtain the career you desire. 

‘You’ll be fine. Feeling unsure and lost is part of your path. Don’t avoid it. See what those feelings are showing you and use it. Take a deep breath. You’ll be okay. Even if you don’t feel okay all the time.’

Louis C.K.

If you are considering a career in Science Communication or interested in this topic, these are the key messages that Andy shared from his session: 

  • Start your own blog. This can help you develop communication skills as well as build yourself a profile. Future employers will see this and will hopefully be impressed by it! For instance, your blog could be about Science; perhaps you could report on some of the latest science news. It could also be related to a completely different interest you have, e.g. baking, swimming, music or anything else. There is always a way to ‘sciencify’ any topic and put your own spin on it to keep you and your viewers interested. 
  • Go on a Placement year or Summer Internship. Going on a placement can be a great way to get experience in Science Communication and work out whether it is for you. Contact a Science Centre, Website, Podcast etc. and see if you can spend some time learning and gaining experience  from them. It could be only for a week, or even just a few days; a little exposure can give you a feel for what that type of work it is and whether it is for you! 

NB: Internship opportunities available at UWE Bristol through the UWE Internship Scheme (Follow this link for details)

  • Further Study. Doing a short course or further studies could also help advance your career pathway in Science Communication. There are several short courses in Science Communication and you also have the option of postgraduate study, such as an MSc, MRes or a PhD at UWE. These courses will help you develop the skills you need and the opportunities to start forming the connections in this industry. 

‘Ask yourself if what you’re doing today will get you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.’

Anonymous

Thank you for reading! We hope you enjoyed this article. 

Written by Joseph Myatt, Biological Science  (See profile on LinkedIn)  

Article edited by Dr Emmanuel Adukwu and Jessica Griffith 


From the editors: We are pleased to receive our first article written by an undergraduate student and we welcome contributions from staff, students and anyone who would like to contribute to our content about careers in the Sciences and STEM get in touch via email – ScienceFutures@uwe.ac.uk . You can also Connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter

Think Different, Be Different! Develop an Enterprise Mindset

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Mr Iheanyi Ibe, Enterprise Adviser at UWE Bristol and Coordinator of the Student Ventures Hub recently delivered a workshop on Enterprise as part of the Department of Applied Sciences Monthly Employability programme. Iheanyi gained a first degree in Pharmaceutical Science (BSc) and proceeded to a Masters in Business Administration. He worked in the Biopharma sector for several years before taking a different route into  entrepreneurship  developing expertise in this area and now supports entrepreneurial programmes across different institutions the UK.

So why enterprise and should it matter to you as a scientist?

Typically, students do not understand the term enterprise and automatically assume it is starting or owning a business. According to Iheanyi, it is more than that. He says, “Think of enterprise like a stem cell. ” Stem cells are special human cells with the ability to develop into many different cell types. Enterprise is just like that. Skills that give you the ability to do anything you want to.

It has been defined by the QAA (2012) as “applying creative ideas and innovations to provide practical situations. Therefore, it combines creativity, idea development and problem solving with communication and action.”

For students in the sciences, aspiring scientists, academics, or even those already working in the field, enterprise is very important and should be part of your thinking and your mindset. It is really about how to identify problems and proposing solutions to addressing them.

“There is nothing new about enterprise. In fact, as a species, it can be argued that we exist today because we are enterprising.”

So broadly speaking, having an idea you can capitalise on and can meet people’s needs OR having a business, are both descriptions of enterprise.

Do you need special skills to be an entrepreneur?

The answer is NO!

Iheanyi described a discussion he has with his son about something his son wanted him to do. The nature of the conversation and the outcomes from it indicated that right from an early age, we get to apply different skills that are entrepreneurial in nature. These skills include recognising what you want or need, negotiating and communication.

“The inherent skills you use in everyday life such as negotiating with parents, negotiating with your children (for some of you) and compromising with friends are the skills we tend to take for granted, but use them in our everyday life.”

Does it matter if I do not want to be an Entrepreneur?

It does! Employers are looking for candidates that can demonstrate these skills. “20% of employers reported ‘alarming weakness in skills around team working’ and a similar proportion identified weaknesses in problem solving skills among graduates.”

In a article published in the Guardian, employers expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of some graduates, with a third of companies unhappy with graduates’ attitude to work, citing lack of resilience, self-management skills, cultural awareness, and customer awareness article. In addition, the CEO of Be Wiser Insurance group, added “You would expect that university education would teach some basic business etiquette, and certainly communication skills.”

These are the skills you are expected to demonstrate to employers regardless of your subject area and field of study and these are examples of entrepreneurial skills.

What are these Entrepreneurial skills?

  • Commercial awareness
  • Creative and innovating thinking
  • Prioritisation and time management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication, negotiation and persuasive skills

“These are no different from the skills you gain on your programme through presentations, writing essays, doing assignments, final year projects, team sports and society activities etc. do not underestimate the amount of skills you have gained through each year of your study, many of you are ready to succeed in the commercial world to embark on enterprising projects and initiatives.” – Iheanyi

Do you have the mindset of an Entrepreneur?

The speaker gave an example of people who go to a pub and are comfortable speaking to others, communicating to different folk, however struggle to speak in other settings or unable to do a presentation. This, he described is a problem with “mindset”. For you to succeed in your career, in the scientific world or as entrepreneur, you need to be willing to challenge your mindset, move out of your comfort zone otherwise you would be similar to graduates described by the CEO of Be Wiser Insurance group (“not prepared for the real world of work and often requiring ego-massaging”).

Testing your Creativity – Group Task

The students were put into groups of two to identify how many uses they could find for a paperclip. This was a 2-minute challenge and from the groups (6 in total), the ideas included: (a) a sculpture (b) a back scratcher (c) for cleaning hard-to-reach areas (d) bracelet (e) ear piercer etc.

Challenge to you – How many different uses for the paper clip did you find?

If you are able to think of a use for the paperclip, you have just demonstrated enterprise. Thus, enterprise is having the idea, mindset and action to create solutions to problems. Something you do regularly!

Skills audit

Can you identify what skills you demonstrate or utilise in the following tasks?

  • Writing an assignment
  • Writing a project proposal
  • Delivering a poster presentation
  • Group work
  • Examinations etc.

 Group Exercise

The students were given a task to perform based on this scenario.

 “You are meant on be on a trip to Singapore, what do you need to do before you go, while you are there and when you return?”


We would encourage you to try this task in your own time as those who attended the workshop found it useful to think through the scenario and to identify challenges as well as create new opportunities.

What will you do?

  • Before – this is where you plan
  • During – this is where you learn
  • After – this is where a lot of the reflection is, knowledge is gained and shared

Final notes from the speaker

  • Your personal life is not so different from the commercial world. What matters is your mindset
  • Improving your enterprise skills and your ability to identify and develop opportunities will benefit you whether you pursue a career in academia or decide to move into business or develop your own company. 
  • It is relatively easier to develop ‘Commercial Awareness’ from a technical and scientific background than doing things the other way round.
  • As a student, you demonstrate enterprise in your day-to-day activities, during the degree, general social situations and work experience. What is most important is learning to recognise these skills and articulate them!

If you enjoyed reading this article, please share it with others. Also, if you have an article or topic you would like to share with us, do contact us at ScienceFutures@uwe.ac.uk 

You can learn more about the speaker by visiting Iheanyi’s LinkedIn page here .

For information about opportunities to develop your own business, apply for enterprise grants or for advice and mentoring contact the UWE Bristol enterprise team at enterprise@uwe.ac.uk 

Continue reading “Think Different, Be Different! Develop an Enterprise Mindset”

Science Futures 2020 – Promoting Diverse Careers in the Sciences

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Happy new year and welcome to the Department of Applied Science Employability Blog. Our first article was on Sandwich Placements and Internships written by our Associate editor and current MSc Public Health student Jessica Griffith and published in December. On Wednesday, 22nd January 2020 the annual Science Futures fair will be taking place at UWE Bristol, Exhibition and Conference Centre, Frenchay Campus. This is an incredible event and one of the largest careers and employability events in the UK particularly in the applied sciences field.

Who is it for?

The event is open to all undergraduate, masters, PhD and postdoctoral researchers in the department, as well as graduates seeking further careers support. This year, Science Futures will also see students attend from other colleges and Universities. We are expecting students from Weston College, Bath Spa University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and possibly from other institutions. This offers opportunity for networking, developing new friendships and learning from your peers.

Why Science futures?

Science Futures is such an important event in the calendar for students and the department and is at the heart of the student journey. Understanding the diverse career pathways that you can explore as a student is important in decision making whether to continue or change career choices. The opportunity to meet and interact with employers is also very useful to provide a window into what the world of work is really like.

As an undergraduate student, I did not have anything like the Science Futures fair and the closest science recruitment event I remember was the National Recruitment Fairs which were often far to travel to and not subject or field specific. At UWE Bristol, we have the annual Meet the Employers fair every October however Science futures is developed with the field of Applied/Life/Bio Sciences in mind.

What to expect at Science Futures 2020?

The new iteration of the Science Futures fair is designed to enable 1-1 interaction between our students and staff with employers, provide career advice through panel discussions, provide opportunities for networking between current students and alumni and promotion of postgraduate programmes and conversion courses (for students looking to move away from the basic sciences into other fields).

I am really looking forward to our annual Science Futures event this week. It is great to meet so many of our alumni, working for great organisations and companies  who come back to UWE to support our event and they give great advice to our students.
Dr Lyn Newton, Head of Department (Department of Applied Sciences)

Some of the programmes we have exhibiting this year include

MSc Biomedical Science

MSc Forensic Science

MSc Advanced Wildlife Conservation in Practice

MRes Applied Science

MSc Public Health

MSc Environmental Health

MSc Physician Associate Studies

MSc Rehabilitation

Secondary Science PGCE

You can see details of each of the programmes and the entry criteria. You will also get the chance to meet the programme leaders at the event.

Specifically, you will benefit from the following;

  • Expert speakers from different applied science related fields including a lot of our alumni who have excelled in different fields in Science and beyond the Sciences
  • Careers fair with employers and professional societies
  • Wall of work highlighting live opportunities you can apply for

In addition, for students who have attended my professional development workshops e.g. LinkedIn and others, you would remember the discussions about joining a professional society. Being a member of a professional society is very important for all students in the sciences and if you look at the DAS Employability programme (2019-2020) on Blackboard, we have provided a list of suggested professional organisations you could join, with many offering FREE memberships. By the way, many offer fantastic benefits such as grants for conferences, funding for public engagement events, PhD studentships etc.

How can you get the most from the Science futures programme?

  • Use the Career Fair Plus app (Identify the exhibitors and employers you’d like to network with.
  • Be Punctual (arrive on time), and dress smartly (you never know who you might be speaking to on the day)
  • Network (engage) with the exhibitors and speakers
  • Prepare questions you would like to ask the panelists
  • Have digital/physical copies of your most recent CV and be ready to share CV with exhibitors, speakers and guests (not all delegates are exhibitors)
  • Have an up-to-date LinkedIn Profile
  • Create your own business cards (easy to do for cheap – visit Bizay and Vistaprint)

Who are the exhibitors this year?

We have a great list of exhibitors attending in 2020, the largest we have ever had at the Science Futures programme and much more than the national biology/applied science events nationally.

Our exhibitors are listed on the Careers Fair Plus App (here) with some in the picture below…..

Some of the employers exhibiting at the Science Futures 2020

Who are our speakers?

To sum up the quality of our speakers in 2020, you’d need to google them online or look up their profiles online to see how good they are. Our speakers work at great organisations and are very talented individuals. We have two keynote speakers this year – Dr Sabrina Roberts and Solomia Boretska.

Dr Roberts is a Senior Scientific Policy Advisor at the Food standards Agency. The Food Standards Agency is a “non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom…responsible for protecting public health in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.” She currently represents the UK at EU working group meetings and the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCOPAFF) meetings in Brussels and votes on behalf of the UK in this policy area.

Solomia was a UWE student studying Biomedical Science between 2011 and 2015. Following her degree, she taught herself to code after struggling to find job opportunities and secured a research position at UCL, which led her to an MRes in Neurotechnology at Imperial College London. She is now the CEO and co-founder of Tempo Market, a company that is driven by sustainability to provide easy access to camping equipment when you need it, without the need for storage or cleaning.

You can find out about all the panelists on the Careers Fairs App (Careers Fair Plus). Also, following some of the feedback from students last year, we are trialling out sessions so you can get the opportunity to attend more than one panel talk. You can see the list of the talks below

14:15         Session A – Careers panel discussion I

  • Careers in Sustainable Futures and Sustainable Environments
  •  Careers in Biopharma, Biotech and Health
  • Careers Beyond the Lab Coats & Science
  • *Employer Consultation & Networking (Session for employers and staff only)

15.05 Session B – Careers panel discussion II

  • Careers in Research in Academia
  •  Placement and Summer Internships (Student panel: FROME)
  • Careers Beyond the Lab Coats & Science (Repeat panel)
  • *Developing your Career at UWE Bristol (Research, Teaching and KE – Staff Workshop only)

Science Futures Fair is a fantastic opportunity to engage with employers, alumni and postgraduate tutors to explore what the next steps in your life can be. Whether you know exactly where you’re heading, or just looking for ideas & inspiration, there will be something there for you. Hope you enjoy the day and I look forward to seeing you there!
Dr Antony Hill, Academic Director and Deputy Head of Department

My appreciation goes to the UWE Employer engagement team particularly Imogen Hirst and Zuliza Mackenzie (Placement intern) who have worked tirelessly with me to put this programme together and for their creative and dynamic approaches to enabling and ensuring that Science Futures 2020 is s success.

To all our speakers, employers and to you the students we look forward to seeing you at #ScienceFutures2020 and we hope you enjoy the event.

To follow our updates, you can connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter. Remember, you can also write for us if you have any personal stories to share or any interesting Careers or Employability information.

Article written by Dr Emmanuel Adukwu, Department lead for Employability and Coordinator of the Science Futures event. You can follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter

Sandwich Placements and Internships: Getting to Know the Application Process

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On the 23rd of October at the very popular Department of Applied Science Monthly Seminar, Dr. Heather Macdonald (Placement co-ordinator), Dr Shona Nelson (Summer Internships Scheme) and Helen Moore-Elly (UWE Careers coach) discussed the value of placement and summer internships schemes and how to go about applying for them.

Placements and summer internships are a great way to enhance your CV and hence increase your chances for a job. These opportunities can be found locally, nationally and globally so you can expect to have a wide range of experiences to choose from. As a student searching for a placement or summer internship, there are a few things that you should consider before you start this venture.

Know what you want

Before you even start looking for placement, you should first think about what you want, i.e. your career aspirations. This is what most students tend to skip or forget when searching for a placement or summer internship. Whilst it is important to get an opportunity, it is more important to gain experience that is relevant to the career you aspire to work in.

Most students are still on a self-discovery journey and are trying to figure out what they want to do when they grow up (like these students you may be one of them). This can make it quite hard to know what placement opportunities you should choose over others. However, with some reflection and guidance from peers and mentors, you can be sure to find an opportunity relevant to what you want to do.

During her “Find your way” presentation, Helen Moore-Elly did an amazing job encouraging students to take time to reflect on who they are and what their interests are. By doing this, students will have more direction as to which placement or summer internship opportunities they should be applying for. For more advice, check out the Careers toolkit on the UWE InfoHub to find the career that is best for you.

Where to find opportunities

Placement and summer internships can often seem out of reach; despite this, if you know what you are looking for and where to look, you can be sure to find an opportunity relevant to you!

There are many different online platforms which advertise various placements and summer internships. These platforms include:

  • InfoHub: UWE’s InfoHub is a great place to start your search. With specialised search engine tools, you can narrow opportunities down to those which are relevant and appealing to you. UWE Volunteering is another great way to enhance your CV so be sure to look out for these during your search.
  • Prospects:  this site is often used to read up job profiles (as one does when trying to understand what a job will entail). In addition to this, you can also search for placement and summer internship opportunities.
  • Indeed: this site is not only for job hunting, as many students do when job hunting, it is also a great place to find a placement or summer internship.
  • Rate my placement: this is a great place for hunting for various placement or summer internship opportunities, with reviews from previous placement workers and where top employers are highlighted.
  • Student ladder: this site has a great search engine which helps you to narrow your search right down to what year of study you are in (even graduate opportunities), helping you find the most suitable opportunity.

Tips on how to use search tools:

  1. If present, use the navigation menu to select relevant categories (i.e. science) to help narrow down your search results to what you want.
  2. Type in key words that are relevant to what you would like to do. For example, if you are desiring to work in a laboratory as a biomedical scientist, you should use terms like “science”, “biomedical science”.
  3. Start with broad search terms (see examples above) and then get more specific, such as a specific job role (i.e. “laboratory technician”) to give you more opportunities to choose from at first and then narrow down to see if you can find a more relevant opportunity.

Many of these websites also include advice on how to be a successful applicant so be sure to read their blog posts and articles for advice and guidance. Signing up to their newsletters will also be useful to receive alerts when new opportunities are advertised.

If you have a company in mind, you should also consider approaching them directly and enquire about the possibility placement or summer internships. On the other hand, if you are unable to find a relevant opportunity for you, speak to the Department of Applied Sciences employability team or the UWE Careers and Employability team for advice.

NB: Many placement opportunities have deadlines and so it is important for you to start searching and preparing for the application and interview process as early as you can!

Expand your horizon

When students have an idea of what they want to do in the future, the search can become narrowed down very quickly. Whilst it is good to focus on specific subjects or job titles, it is also important to stay open minded to other relevant opportunities available. You also want to keep your budget in mind as depending on the placement location (for example when going global), you will need to consider how you will be funded/ fund yourself.

Placements can range from large to small (i.e. less well-known) companies/ organisations and so be aware that larger ones might be more competitive than smaller ones. When applying for opportunities, broaden the types and sizes of companies/ organisations you apply for to increase your chances of success. Global opportunities are a great way to gain experience whilst exploring a new environment and of course having fun in your new adventure!

Curriculum Vitae

Before you start your applications, ensure your CV is up to date and ready to show employers. Your CV is your chance to tell employers all about yourself, show them what you have to offer and present yourself as a successful candidate for the placement or summer internship you are applying for.

On your CV, it is important to include all relevant work experience and skills that match the opportunities you are applying for. Make sure to research into how to create a successful CV and attend CV workshops and drop-in sessions facilitated by the Careers team for feedback etc.

You can do it! Have confidence in yourself

Finally, as expressed by Dr. Heather Macdonald, it is more than possible to gain a placement or summer internship as you are more than capable of doing so!

Set your goals, do your research and go for it! Never give up and you are sure to find an opportunity relevant to what you want to do and so no matter how long it takes you (even up to the induction day of your next year at university), don’t give up!

Getting placement opportunities can seem like a daunting task with so many people to compete against and sometimes long processes to go through. Nevertheless, the wait is certainly worth it and you can definitely do it! Know who you are, what you want to do and where you want to go. Finally, have confidence and go for opportunities that will help you reach your goals.

Upcoming Events

Next DAS Monthly Employability Workshop: Wednesday 4 December 2019

Science Futures Fair – Wednesday 22 January 2020