Policy Intern, Lizzie Dellar, discusses her first three weeks at CaSE.

I’ve just come to the end of my third week at CaSE, and it’s definitely flown by! I’m a Biosciences PhD student, but have joined CaSE for three months as part of my doctoral training programme at the University of Oxford. For my PhD project I’m investigating the role that extracellular vesicles play in intercellular communication in response to cellular stress, collaborating between two labs at the Oxford and Oxford Brookes, so this internship is quite a contrast.

Whilst I really enjoy the practical and problem solving aspect of working in the lab, I’ve always been interested in the wider context of research;  how science, scientists and society interact together, so when I saw the placement advertised at CaSE I jumped at the opportunity! Three weeks into the role, what are my thoughts? Well, as one member said to me:

CaSE has a massive footprint for the size of the organisation”

This is very true, there are a total of only six other people working here, but their work is so wide and far-reaching. Since we all sit in one office, it gives me chance to understand and get involved in every aspect of what CaSE does, and I’ve felt like my input was valued right from Day 1.  So far that has involved a team-building and strategy-setting day, helping to prepare, run and follow-up two events on immigration and Brexit, sourcing and editing articles for our Guest blog, alongside several meetings with people across the science policy sphere.

Working at CaSE is quite different to what I’m used to, where studying for a PhD involves being heavily focused on a very niche area, here a much broader view is needed, with a much more responsive and outward-looking mind-set. I hope that my time here will allow me to develop a different set of skills that I can take back to my PhD and beyond.

During my three months here, one of my main activities will be to do a policy review on diversity and inclusion. It will be a chance to update our core evidence and asks since our last major report on Improving Diversity in STEM from 2014. Since then there has been substantial amounts of work, research and initiatives by many across the sector, as well as some shifts in emphasis and focus. I’ll be aiming to provide a brief overview, pulling together a lot of the work from across the sector, so I’d very much welcome any input in the weeks ahead. Please do get in touch!

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