Newsletter Dec 2020
Newsletter December 2020
This newsletter can be viewed online at https://www.socnatsci.org/newsletters/newsletter-2/
Welcome to the second Society Newsletter. It has continued to be a hard year for many of our members and a rather different experience from the one they probably expected for our student subscribers. We loom forward to better times in 2021.
If you are looking for a fully-funded PhD studentship in interdisciplinary approaches to bioscience problems you might consider the industry-linked LIDo DTP CASE portfolio announced recently for September 2021 starts.
The companies involved in the projects range from micro, start-up scale to global players. Research will be largely at London universities with significant industrial placements to access unique infrastructure, resources, knowledge and experience of the commercial research environment.
CASE students join LIDo on an equal footing with purely academic-focused PhD students and must meet exactly the same academic standards as those other students. LIDo DTP graduates have interesting career paths some of which are described here as examples.
The LIDo DTP is the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council’s (BBSRC, part of UKRI) largest single investment in PhD Researcher Development and a flagship programme.
PhD opportunities can be posted under News on the Society website https://www.socnatsci.org/news/
UCL student wins interdisciplinary Science Essay Competition
The Rosalind Franklin Institute Essay prize – held to celebrate the institute’s centenary – has been won by UCL Natural Sciences Student Rachel Scott.
The competition was open to all undergraduates from member universities. The five shortlisted entries will receive a tour of the Rosalind Franklin Institute once the building is completed in mid-2021. The first place winner also receives £200.
Given the interdisciplinary nature of both Dr Franklin and The Rosalind Franklin Institute’s work, the competition aimed to get participants to explore reasons for the separation of scientific disciplines by discussing the following statement:
“So much of the work done in science now requires input from multiple disciplines, that the separation of the disciplines is irrelevant and unnecessary.”
First place was awarded to Rachel Scott, a second year undergraduate at UCL studying Natural Sciences. Dr Jen Jennings, a member of the Franklin’s board and one of the judging panel, said ‘I was impressed by Rachel’s essay as I felt it had a strong introduction and logical structure to it. I also felt that she had done a lot of research, which really came through in her writing.’
Upon hearing of her success, Rachel was full of compliments for her course:
“I entered the competition because the question it posed is the very foundation of my course, and the intersection between disciplines (particularly biomedical sciences and medical physics, which are my streams) is something I find very interesting. My core Natural Sciences modules helped me gain the skills to find relevant research. Researching this essay allowed me to appreciate the benefits of the separate disciplines, and brought to my attention different ways to promote interdisciplinary work. I feel more confident in my communication abilities now, which is essential for any career path, and I’m happy I got the chance to refine my essay writing skills”.
You can read Rachel’s essay here.
Outreach Events Channel Talent
Our virtual outreach events for schools continue monthly. Each event consists of a short presentation on an interdisciplinary science topic followed by Q and A and a brief introduction to degrees in Natural Sciences. So far we have had talks on the Origin of Life, (Sarah Gretton, left) Medical Imaging (Chris Brignell, centre) and Fusion Energy (Roddy Vann, right). More are planned for the New Year. Audience reaction has been very positive with an average of over 50 attendees at each session either in school groups or individually. The science element part of the talks are being recorded separately and will be available on the Natural Sciences web site shortly. If you are in contact with a school you may like to suggest this programme Channel Talent – Interactive school webinars. Attendance is free.
Educational Research Seminars
The Society is planning a series of lunch time seminars on topics of educational research of relevance to the development of university teaching and learning in Natural Sciences. These informal seminars will take place on the final Thursday of each month 1.00-2.00pm starting in January with a session on assessment without traditional examination. The format will be a presentation for about 25 minutes with up to 25 minutes of discussion. If you would like to offer to present a seminar please contact email@example.com.
The Society is an entirely volunteer organisation. We are always pleased to receive offers from members to serve on its various subcommittees. The subcommittees are External Relations Group, Membership Committee, Accreditation Committee, Pedagogic Research /Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Group, and Equality Diversity and Inclusion group. These meet virtually roughly once a month for an hour. We are always looking for new ideas for activities and support for existing ones. If you would like to join one (or more) of the subcommittees please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual Student Conference will be taking place virtually this year on 29 March.
Contributions to the Newsletter are always welcome. Please send text to email@example.com
Finally, we hope that you stay well and that despite the current difficulties you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – The Editor