Living through Lockdown – A Graduate Tale

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This article has been written by Grace Russell, an inspirational woman who has shown us in this article just how achievable things can be if you stay resilient in spite of obstacles that come our way. We hope you enjoy the read and that it gets you thinking about how you can progress in your own life.

Interruptions and Resilience

Eighteen months ago, I was embarking on my final year project, completing the MSci programme in Biomedical Science. I had a vision of the future. Both the future and my vision were interrupted by the Covid crisis – “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, to paraphrase the late, great Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). Thankfully, the project was finished before the lockdown in March 2020. However, myself and the student cohort still had to finalise and hand in several pieces of work.

It was strange not being able to meet up with my contemporaries, we usually got together every Friday, discussing our progress and intentions. We also missed out on our Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) certification, as this was a physical hand-in, which we had arranged for the end of March – a week after the first lockdown began. On top of this, our tutor also caught the infection and became terribly ill; this showed me early on that this virus could have serious implications for us all. And so, the knocks came early on in this pandemic.

Nevertheless, showing resilience in the face of adversity, under the great guidance of my mentor and supervisor, I was encouraged to continue writing and, what better subject than the focus of our previous project: molecular hydrogen and how this could benefit communities facing this unprecedented pandemic (for access to these publications please click here).

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina from unsplash.


The first few months of lockdown passed quickly. I emersed myself in work, writing academic papers, job applications, and applying for research funding. Then, around the end of July, the wheels fell off, just like a clown car! I had hit the proverbial wall. My student finance had depleted weeks ago and I’d had no success applying for a position that suited my qualifications. Time to adapt.
I felt my career status was in limbo. I’d applied for a PhD, using an awkward route, involving part-funding, match-funding and an awful lot of paperwork! Whilst tentatively waiting to see whether my application was accepted, I secured a part-time position in retail and am lucky enough to have worked with a great team here; friendly, supportive. On top of this, having the extra time at home gives me the freedom to survey the landscape, both literally and figuratively.

Photo by Lindsay Henwood from unsplash.

Productivity – Creativity

Next came the second lockdown, more time on my hands. It’s difficult not interacting with people on a daily basis and I came to realise that my motivation is inextricably linked with the social aspect of humanity.
As company and sharing was limited in a George Orwell-esque fashion, I thought I should perhaps reconnect with some old hobbies. Collage was always something I have enjoyed, so I gave it a shot, but nothing ventured…! I now find collaging time consuming, messy and wholly unsuccessful, (see left). Although it was a catastrophic attempt at art and one destined for the fire pit, it did inspire me to try a different medium, paint. Painting, as a pastime, is not something I have indulged in since I was a young mum in the 90’s.

As I didn’t feel experienced enough to freestyle a landscape painting, I thought I’d look for an online class. This is where I came across the wonderful Bob Ross, a renowned landscape artist and 70’s icon famed for his “happy trees and happy clouds.” And in just one evening, I managed to produce my first landscape painting (right). Admittedly, it looks nothing like the example the YouTube tutor created, but I’m proud of it and wouldn’t turn down a holiday to my fictitious location; I could see myself camping here!

A week or two later, I thought I’d pick up the paintbrushes once again; I’d stocked up on supplies after all. I began to channel my inner bohemian and tuned in to the dulcet tones of Bob once again (see left). Another snowy mountain scene was emerging; I like to think of it as the approach to the allegorical camping ground. However, I’m not naturally one to tackle the same task twice, so after following my mild-mannered mentor for most of the picture, I decided to freestyle the last part of the painting; this involved using the mantra ‘depth, perception, darkness and light’. I managed to form a boat, a means to escape the wilderness, should the weather take a turn for the worse!

With two relatively decent paintings done, I thought I would challenge myself further and try to create a self-portrait – possibly one of the most difficult undertakings of any foundling artist (see development below!). This small project has developed into a longer-term study of human form: lighting, angles, skin tones, textures, all need to be considered. Although there is still a long way to go before the portrait is complete, it does at least bare some resemblance to myself.

Final words

In other news, I have now secured both the funding and the PhD, and another publication, in the European Medical Journal.
Oxy-hydrogen Gas: The Rationale Behind Its Use as a Novel and Sustainable Treatment for COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Diseases – European Medical Journal (
So, for now it’s time to put down the paintbrushes and pick up the pipette.
I hope you have enjoyed this little snippet into my world. Keep safe, well and sane, and don’t forget to let wonderful things happen!

Grace Russell
Msci Biomedical Sciences, PhD Researcher, Department of Applied Science (UWE)

Edited by Jessica Griffith

Grace Russell

Grace graduated from UWE in 2020 with distinction after studying Biomedical Science (Msci) for a total of four years. She lives and works in Somerset, UK, where she has set up her own company – Avalon Research Consultancy Ltd, providing editing, manuscript formatting and proofreading and publication services. 

Grace’s research interests include natural and sustainable healthcare products, including the new and emerging medical gases, molecular and oxy-hydrogen. Much of her academic focus has involved investigating the molecular mechanisms and downstream cellular effects associated both culinary herbs and the aforementioned gaseous compounds.

Grace is still waiting for the world to open up (fully), but, she has started her PhD!!

From the editor: Honestly – this is such a good read. It’s always great hearing how others are progressing as, often times, it produces fuel for the things we are also trying to accomplish. Another one from Grace!

It would be great to have more contributors, such as this one from Grace, so please do get in touch if you have an article you would like to release, or join our team of writers. Interested? Please get in touch via email – Also connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!  

Keep well 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: . 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 – 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


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!?


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 – Do also connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter!

Keep well and stay safe.

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.’


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 – . You can also Connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter

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.

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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

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