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Ever wanted to know what the staff at the RSC get up to? In this blog, members of our graduate schemes describe some of the interesting (or unusual!) activities and projects they are working on...

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I joined the RSC at the end of September as a Science, Education and Industry Graduate and it feels like it has been 3 weeks rather than three months. I am in my first rotation in the Higher Education, Business and Industry team and it has been great as I have been working on a variety of projects from undergraduate research bursaries to data management.


One project that I have particularly enjoyed is the joint RSC and Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Summer Bursary Scheme as I learned a lot in a very small space of time. As well as working with the Nuffield Foundation, it was also a cross team project within the RSC to produce the documents and details for the webpage and application form.

I have also been working with the large collection of the data the RSC possesses and trying to find a way of making the data more interactive for staff to manipulate for their needs. Although it may not sound particularly exciting, it actually is very interesting and hopefully the end product will be user friendly for everyone at the RSC.  I have had a lot of fun looking at the different ways to display data including one which method which uses breakfast cereal characters in the demo.

I moved to Cambridge from Glasgow after spending nine years at the University of Strathclyde and I have settled in really well. I am still getting used to the fact that it is much flatter (no more hilly campus to navigate in the winter) and that fog is more of a problem than rain! After leaving a friendly and social PhD group, I was glad that RSC is very similar with lots of social activities including the fancy dress Christmas party.


 Melissa Black is a Graduate working on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Graduate Scheme. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email

Posted by Melissa Black on Dec 19, 2012 3:19 PM GMT

 I joined the RSC as a graduate publishing editor in July, and over the past five months I have settled in really well. I am fully trained in proof-reading, am nearing the end of my editing training and am due to start peer review in January.

It's an exciting time for us in the Interfaces team, as we have recently launched a new journal, Biomaterials Science, and one of our other journals, RSC Advances, recently published its 2000th article - a great achievement seeing as the journal is less than 2 years old. Many of the teams here are also growing and changing, a good reflection of the enormous growth that RSC publishing has seen over the past few years.

In addition to my day-to-day work, where I am constantly learning and developing new skills, I was recently given the opportunity to help out at a public lecture held at our Chemistry Centre in Burlington House. This was a great chance to see some of the work done by the RSC outside of publishing and allowed me to represent the RSC to the general public. There are so many development opportunities like this available and I love that as part of the graduate scheme we are actively encouraged to take advantage of these.

It's the run up to Christmas and the office is starting to feel very festive! Last Friday we had a work Christmas party, organised by the Sports and Social Club. The theme was "Best of British" and everyone went to lots of effort with their fancy dress. Costumes varied wildly, with Mr. Blobby, Grenadier guards, Daleks, where's Wally and London underground stations to name but a few! We also have our all staff Christmas lunch at King's College in town this week, which I am really looking forward to.

So far my time here has been overwhelmingly positive and I am looking forward to becoming fully trained in all aspects of the publishing process.
Sarah Kenwright is a Graduate working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Sarah Kenwright on Dec 11, 2012 1:18 PM GMT

I have been working as a Publishing Editor at the RSC for nearly 8 months and the time has flown by. 

Moving from Bournemouth to a new job and a new town was a big leap into the unknown, but the support provided by the RSC has been great. I joined the bio team as a publishing graduate where I was soon kept busy proof reading and looking after manuscripts through the peer-review system. I loved learning 'on the job' about the production process and the scope and standards of the journals I work on. Since starting I have become journal co-ordinator for Lab on a Chip and the newly re-named Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, I am involved with cover commisioning, issue make-up and I am also about half way through my editing training. It's been great getting so much responsiblity within the team. I finally feel like I have found my feet, just in time to be fully trained...almost. I have also met and worked with some great people, made some great friends and learnt plenty of new skills.

Jade Holt is a Graduate working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Jade Holt on Nov 29, 2012 3:46 PM GMT

Since my last blog post, I have moved into (and nearly come to the end of!) my second 4 month rotation, working in the International Development team.  There is something exciting about working with people from all over the world, organising events all over the world, for scientists from all over the world... This is what the International Development team does.

It is very fast-paced in this team, with the equivalent of around one large conference a month to help organise – in places as diverse as the UK, China, Ethiopia and India. It is also probably the only rotation where you arrive each morning to find your inbox full of about 20 new emails, from the international RSC staff whose working hours are so different from ours in the UK. And it isn’t all about working with fellow colleagues and academics; this rotation also gives you the chance to work with industrial partners, such as Syngenta, and gives you experience of finding sponsors to fund some of the events.

Everyday tasks include compiling abstracts and speaker details for abstract booklets, proofing these booklets once they have come back from the Design team, drafting invite letters, attending teleconferences and researching academics and policy makers to invite to the next event. The diversity of these tasks means that you get to work with people from lots of different teams across the RSC – Design, Events, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships.
Since I began in the International team around 3 months ago, I have spent most of my time organising the 2012 PACN Congress on Agricultural Productivity, Water and Waste, which will take place in just a few days’ time in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

I have been particularly lucky as I have seen the organisation of the congress right through from initial discussions to its (hopefully successful) delivery, so I feel completely immersed in all of the details involved in organising an international conference for over 150 people!  I am really excited about finally getting to meet all of the people I have been liaising with over the past 3 months, and of course having the chance to go out to Ethiopia!


Amy Styring is a Graduate working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Science, Education and Industry Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Amy Styring on Nov 22, 2012 12:05 PM GMT
From the international team to membership

At the time of my last post I had just returned from an exciting trip to Brazil and had been busy helping to plan a PACN event in Nigeria.  Moving to the membership team I was expecting a much more relaxed rotation. I was wrong. Over the last two and a half months I have been travelling all over the UK visiting universities and talking to students about the benefits of membership.  I’ve been on buses, trains, planes, taxis and cars, travelling everywhere from Wales to Aberdeen to Plymouth.

Every day is different and sometimes things don’t go to plan, trains get cancelled, post goes missing, but that’s just part of the challenge. You quickly learn to be confident working independently and to solve any problems that arise.

One of the great things about this rotation has been meeting so many new people and learning about their experiences in the chemical sciences as well as their involvement with the RSC. I now have a much better appreciation of all the work our members contribute to the society.

At the beginning of December I will be moving to the science team and I’m excited to find out what projects I will be working on there.

Laura Smart is a Graduate working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Science, Education and Industry Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Laura Smart on Nov 19, 2012 10:59 AM GMT

In July of this year, I joined the RSC graduate scheme as a Publishing Editor for the Bio Team. I relocated from Hertfordshire, and as I didn’t want to move into a house with people I had never met before, I stayed in accommodation provided by the RSC for 7 weeks, whilst I found my feet.
Despite it being slightly embarrassing living literally at work, the accommodation was lovely, and it did relieve the initial stress of starting a new job and finding somewhere to live. Eventually, I did move out, and regardless, I did still end up living with random people, but it has worked out well; my housemates are well house-trained and I have a 15 minutes cycle ride commute to work.
The four months has sped by. Like all other publishing graduates, I started out by training in proofreading. This is a useful skill as it increases your awareness of things that are ‘house-style’, and provides an insight into the various journals. I am now working in all areas of production (proofreading, cover commissioning, peer review, issue make-up and editing, albeit I am not fully trained in anything except proofreading) and I am journal coordinator for the two journals Molecular BioSystems and Integrative Biology, which was initially overwhelming, but with the support of my team and colleagues, I am now enjoying the extra responsibility.
My daily work routine has become increasingly varied as I have started in each area of production, and I am looking forward to being fully trained in all aspects of the job. 

Marie Chapman is a Graduate working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email.
Posted by Marie Chapman on Nov 13, 2012 9:04 PM GMT
Nearly three months have passed since my last post, but it barely feels like three weeks!

Working in the Science team is very different to working in Membership – there isn’t as much travel, although I’ve still been out and about representing the RSC at a couple of events including the Durham University RSC Roadshow, and the Lab Innovations exhibition in Birmingham.

My work is a mixture of supportive ad-hoc assignments (usually involving tight deadlines!) and long term projects that are slotted in around everything else. I’ve certainly learned a lot over the last few months. One of the highlights was presenting some of the RSC's data on the state of UK chemistry to the SEI team managers, which was a massive confidence boost.

My biggest challenge has been managing one of the SEI graduate projects organising a series of policy-focussed events at the Chemistry Centre. With support from the rest of the science team, I’ve learned to manage the delivery of these lectures every step of the way, from liaising with high profile speakers and putting together a guestlist to making sure everything runs smoothly on the night. It is always great to see everyone’s hard work come together and result in a successful event. The next in the series, a debate on the science and ethics of synthetic biology, is taking place next week and I’m really looking forward to it.

The days are getting shorter, and there's a definite wintry chill in the air. This means Christmas celebration plans are well underway, with an all staff Christmas dinner and fancy dress Christmas party to look forward to. It will be the perfect end to a fantastic year.


Emma Stoye is a Graduate working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Science, Education and Industry Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Emma Stoye on Nov 9, 2012 3:05 PM GMT




I came to the RSC four months ago as a Publishing Editor from a PhD in Physical Chemistry. The job offered what I was looking for: a chance to experience something different from research, but still use my science background.

I joined the Materials team at an exciting time, as the Journal of Materials Chemistry is splitting into three from the beginning of next year. I was lucky enough to start training in a number of different aspects of the job soon after starting. As well as the three main tasks (proof reading, editing and peer review), I’ve been learning about the issue make-up process and commissioning journal covers. It’s been good to have variety from day one, it’s kept me on my toes and ensured I’ve not got bored! I’m looking forward to the chance to take on more responsibilities as I complete my initial training, such as being the contact point for one of our associate editors.

A particular advantage of the graduate scheme is that I’m encouraged to take advantage of development opportunities in addition to training in publishing. For example, this week I’m helping at a public lecture at the RSC’s Chemistry Centre in London. Opportunities like this are great for getting a feel for some of the work the RSC does outside of my specific job area. I like to keep busy outside of work as well as inside, and as well as taking part in social events with the RSC I sing in a choir based in Trinity College and am a Cub Scout leader.

The atmosphere in my team and at the RSC in general is really friendly. Many of my colleagues have been through the graduate scheme, and everyone is willing to share their experience and wisdom. Being responsible for publishing articles and accepting or rejecting submissions can seem daunting at first, but the support is there, and my experience of working at the RSC so far is very positive.


Stephen Hessey is a Graduate working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Stephen Hessey on Nov 8, 2012 4:34 PM GMT
Time does indeed fly when you're having fun.

Quite proudly, I am now approaching my first year mark at the RSC (cake will be involved). My editing training has almost come to an end, and I was recently confirmed as a permanent member of staff after my probationary period was over. This year has gone by with amazing speed.

Apart from my development within the Publishing Editor role, which, as I have described in my previous blog entries, has proved exciting and challenging each step of the way (and very much promises to continue being so for a long time to come!), I have also amassed a number of intresting experiences and extra curricular insights, so to say, into the very wide-ranging activities going on at the RSC.

To give just one example, I particularly enjoyed being involved in prescreening some of the Mpemba competition entries which were submitted for perusal by the RSC. I was very proud to lend my expertise to evaluating the scientific soundness of some of these entries, and I am now watching the unravelling of the next stages of the competition with much interest.

I have recently been promoted to production coordinator for two of our databases (MOS and CCR) and been given a new Associate Editor to look after as one of our former Editorial Board members has now joined as an Associate Editor. These are exciting times for OBC and working in this rapidly developing team has never been more rewarding. I very much look forward to my next year in this organisation.

Elisa is a Graduate working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Editorial Production Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Elisa Meschini on Nov 7, 2012 3:54 PM GMT

Time flies when you're having fun.

It's been more than seven months since I joined the RSC Graduate Scheme. The transition from my PhD was fairly smooth – I was already here in Cambridge, so there was no panicked viewing of flats or hiring of vans.

It certainly doesn't feel like I've been here that long, although I concede that some time must have passed as I'm now almost fully trained (in peer review, proofing, database selection/abstracting and issue make-up, with editing training in full swing). In fact, in a few weeks I'm going to start training someone else...the student becomes the master.

I'm very much enjoying my involvement in the process of peer review, from the initial assessment of new submissions through referee reports to (with a following wind) acceptance, even though both authors and referees can occasionally try your patience. If there is one thing more satisfying than accepting a good paper, it's when the comments of an expert in the field reflect exactly what you said when you first looked at that manuscript.

Even though it's not yet Halloween, the festive season is looming fast, and therefore so is the annual Christmas bash. Reports from previous years suggest that fancy dress is taken rather seriously, so I'm expecting great things. I have eventually settled on an idea for my own costume, but that will of course remain a closely guarded secret until it's ready to be unveiled.


Mark Archibald is a Graduate working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Mark Archibald on Oct 25, 2012 10:34 PM BST
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