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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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Publishing Editor at the RSC – a bit of a change from a PhD in Evolutionary Genetics!

I completed my PhD at Cambridge in 2010 and spent some time working for the NHS in Bristol, before deciding that I wanted a job that used my science background. I spotted an advert for the RSC Graduate Scheme and, since I had always thought science publishing sounded interesting, I applied.

The assessment day was one of the most positive interview experiences I’ve ever had. Everyone went out of their way to make it as stress-free as possible, and I liked having a chance to ask questions about the day-to-day work of a publishing editor. After that, you can imagine how pleased I was to get a phone call offering me a job!

I’m now fully-trained in proofing, which involves making an author’s final changes to the manuscript before publishing it on the RSC Publishing platform. It’s very satisfying to see a paper appear online in its final form, although hitting the “Publish” button can sometimes be rather daunting! I am currently being trained in editing, which I particularly enjoy. I get to read all the interesting papers before they’re published, and I love feeling that I am contributing to science by improving their readability.

One of the best parts of my job is seeing such a breadth of scientific research. In my four months here I’ve learnt a lot about so many subjects, particularly since the Interfaces journals (Soft Matter and RSC Advances) have pretty broad scopes. I’m also excited about publishing the first few online articles for Biomaterials Science. Maybe I’ll have a chance to use more of my biology background!

Outside of work, I have been rediscovering life in Cambridge. There is so much to do! I go running with a group every Monday night and two weeks ago I heard Sir Terry Pratchett (one of my favourite authors) speak about his new book. This week, I’m looking forward to seeing Antony and Cleopatra at the ADC Theatre.

The RSC is a great place to work and I feel lucky to be here. I have a job that utilises my skills and my scientific knowledge, while at the same time always providing new challenges. Peer review training is next for me and I’m sure there will be lots more to learn!
LJ Michie 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 Laura Jane Michie on Oct 4, 2012 1:21 PM BST

I’ve been working at the RSC for six months as a trainee Publishing Editor on the General Chemistry team.

I joined the RSC after working as a postdoctoral research fellow at Stockholm University for two and a half years. While I had always enjoyed reading papers and keeping up to date with the literature in my field of chemistry, the idea of making a career out of it never occurred to me… until I saw a careers article on academic publishing in Chemistry World.

The article mentioned the RSC Graduate Scheme and as soon as I read the details of the Publishing Editor position, I knew that it was the job for me.  Less than 2 months later, I moved to Cambridge and began work in the General Chemistry team. The General Chemistry team deals with ChemComm and Chemical Science, which means that my day-to-day work is extremely varied as I handle manuscripts from across the chemical sciences.

The first part of my training was in peer review, which involves looking at the new manuscripts that are submitted to the journal, sending them to appropriate referees, and finally making decisions to accept or reject papers based on the reports. Learning how the peer review process works from an editorial point of view has been absolutely fascinating, given that my prior knowledge of the process ended with clicking the ‘submit manuscript’ button and waiting for a decision email to arrive.

Working in publishing has enabled me to use the knowledge and expertise gained during my degree and PhD and to remain in touch with cutting-edge research. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a chemistry career outside the lab.

Ellie Merritt 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 Ellie Merritt on Sep 29, 2012 12:01 PM BST
I joined the RSC Graduate scheme last April and I honestly don’t know where to start to describe how much I have enjoyed every day at work. 

I have been working in science communication for some years, and I decided to get on the RSC Graduate Scheme after I completed my PhD because I wanted to be part a large and renowned organization.

In my first rotation I spent 4 months in the Communications and External Relations Department and that was a perfect introduction to the RSC’s broad range of activities. At the RSC we do great amount of work in publishing, science, education, international development and, of course, with our members.  I am very happy to be at the end of the business that gets to communicate all these great activities to staff, members and to the general public.

I have been involved in project for our internal communication like developing new areas of the intranet, preparing some videos to support our CEO’s presentation, and writing for Cohesion, our internal newsletter. I worked on RSCNews writing, editing and proofing learning every time more about what goes on at the RSC worldwide. I took part and helped organising different public engagement events including our fantastic public lectures’ program or out Chemical Landmark scheme  I have been given interesting and challenging tasks, including writing speeches for our president and CEO. This is one of the great things is that being a grad at the RSC means you are given real work and you learn a lot from the great opportunities you are given.

The RSC is a great place to work and I have loved my first rotation so much that I decided I wanted to stay with the Comms team. I was lucky enough that a job position came up just at the end of my rotation and I am now just few weeks into my new role as Communications Executive. 
Posted by Chiara Ceci on Sep 12, 2012 10:59 AM BST

I joined the RSC in January as a Publishing Graduate, the time is flying by and so far I’m enjoying everything. I am now fully trained in proofreading, editing and issue make-up, and I hope to start my peer review training soon.

So far I’ve particularly enjoyed editing, as it’s fascinating to read such a variety of authors’ work before it’s even been published, as well as being a great chance to satisfy the grammar nerd in me! It’s exciting working in a place where things are constantly changing. For example, our team has been given responsibility for the recently launched journal Biomaterials Science, and I’m enjoying seeing the new submissions that are coming in, as well as looking forward to its first ever issue.

I came to the RSC after graduating from Cambridge University with a Masters in Natural Sciences (Chemistry). I wanted to make use of my chemistry degree, whilst learning some new skills and not having to spend time in the lab! The job has been a steep learning curve, especially as many of the papers I’ve seen are very far removed from my specialist areas – but it’s been good to branch out, and much easier than I anticipated to pick up the language used in different branches of chemistry.

Outside of the working day, I’ve found time to have plenty of fun. I play squash regularly, through the RSC squash ladder, and I’ve taken part in various activities organised by the RSC Sports and Social Club. For example, last week I took part in a treasure hunt in the town centre. It was great fun and an opportunity to get to know people, as well as discover parts of Cambridge I had never been!

I’m now looking forward to the next part of my training, in peer review, and hoping to keep enjoying it and learning lots more.
Elisabeth Ratcliffe 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 Elisabeth Ratcliffe on Sep 6, 2012 2:31 PM BST
After graduating with a degree in biological sciences I joined the RSC as an SEI graduate in April. The past few months seem to have flown by -  I’ve now completed my first rotation in the Membership Sales team, and can’t wait to get stuck in with Science!

During my time in Membership Sales I have been travelling the length and breadth of the country visiting universities, chemical companies and conferences to recruit new members. It’s been challenging at times, but also great fun -  I've been out and about meeting lots of new people, and no two visits are the same. I’ve also had to learn all about the RSC’s different activities, so I already feel like I know what goes on in a lot of the other departments!

This week I started my second rotation in the Science team, who look after the RSC’s policy work. Over the next four months I will support the work of the team through a range of projects. At the moment I am helping to organise the upcoming Organic Division Poster Symposium for postgraduates, and putting together a report on bioenergy initiatives and regulations in the UK.

On a slightly less work-related note this week also saw the start of the Office Olympics, in which I am competing in the ‘paper toss’ ’20 metre chair dash’ and ‘balloon relay’ events! I’m up against some tough competition, but I’m hoping to do my department proud and bring home a medal or two....fingers crossed!

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 Aug 3, 2012 4:47 PM BST

Eight months into the Graduate Publishing Scheme, and the challenges keep coming in!

It's been three months since my last blog entry and, again, time has gone by so fast I can barely believe it's almost August already!


As I was saying last time, we published the 10th Anniversary Special Issue of OBC earlier this month, which was extremely well received by the scientific community and attracted lots of positive attention. I am proud to say that I was able to commission a suitable cover in time (do you like it? And want to have a sneaky peek at the unlucky rejects?) and it was with much satisfaction and sense of achievement that I proceeded to bake a chocolate cake to celebrate this brilliant success with the rest of the team! We had candles and everything, and I am proud to say that the cake received almost as many rave reviews as the issue itself!

Even more cake (alas, this time not baked by me) was involved in the celebrations for the launch of Toxicology Research, a new journal to be handled by our team. The first issue was published last month amidst extremely positive reviews too.

After almost 9 months at the RSC, I am now fully trained in proof reading, database abstracting, issue make up and peer review, and my editing training is well underway. I have also been assigned to look after after the Drugs in Middle Space special issue of MedChemComm, to be published early next year. This is a great opportunity for medicinal chemists (such as I was) and natural product chemists to highlight their work on medium sized molecules of pharmaceutical interest, and I am very excited about it. Despite being almost at the end of my time as a trainee, I still learn new things every day and I suspect this will be true for a long time to come! No two edits, proofs or Editorial decisions are ever the same and every morning I wake up very excited about what the day is going to bring.

Plus, it has now been sunny for almost a week, which has done wonderful things to my mood and has enabled me to enjoy some of the great outdoor activities that are available during the Cambridge summer. The Shakespeare Festival is currently on and yesterday, some RSC people and I went to see Julius Caesar at the outdoor amphitheatre of Robinson College, which was great fun! Provided that the British summer lasts longer than a millisecond this year, we'll be looking forward to more outdoor plays at the beginning of August.

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 Jul 30, 2012 9:52 AM BST
Another two months have flown by and apparently it's now summer, although recent weather events would suggest otherwise. Work is still going well - I am very busy, which I am assured is a good thing!

Last week I produced two themed issues, one on Computational Biology for Integrative Biology, and the other an issue of Journal of Environmental Monitoring dedicated to emerging investigators. The emerging investigators issue is very exciting as it promotes the work of researchers that are just starting their careers in environmental science. It was interesting to profile these authors for the issue as it was great to see how passionate they are about the work they do and what they want to achieve in the coming years.

Otherwise, my day-to-day activities haven’t changed that much. I’ve nearly completed all my training but despite this, I’m still learning new things all the time because no day is ever the same.

Additionally, the Sports and Social Committee have been very busy organising events recently so there has been a lot to do outside of work. We went go-karting a few weeks ago, which was fantastic; the summer fun-day took place on Saturday, and there’s the opportunity to go to see the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Burlington House, our headquarters in London, later in the year.

Looking forward to the next few months, hopefully we’ll finally see some sun!
Posted by Alicia Parker on Jul 6, 2012 1:44 PM BST

  My first two months of the SEI Graduate Scheme have flown by – there has been so much to take  
  in!  I am in my first rotation, working in the Science Team.


  I finished my PhD in Archaeological Chemistry at the University of Bristol in January.  Still undecided
  between education and policy work, the RSC’s SEI Graduate Scheme looked like a great place to try
  both out...  Two months in and I haven’t been disappointed. 

  My first rotation is with the Science Team, whose role is to promote chemistry in seven priority areas
  relating to different global challenges.  Each Programme Manager is responsible for a “challenge”, such as agricultural productivity or bioenergy, and they organise events and write policy statements to help tackle these challenges.  So far, I’ve had the chance to go to lots of talks and meetings in London, including a dinner in Portcullis House!  You definitely get thrown in at the deep-end, but it’s a great learning experience and you get to work with lots of different teams across the RSC.  Everyone is so friendly! 

Before my rotation ends in a couple of months, I am organising the Honorary Fellows lecture by Professors Suzuki and Negishi in the Chemistry Centre.  This is a great chance to see how an event is run from start to finish – from agonising over the invite list to finalising the dinner menu!  I am also writing about the research landscape in different countries, such as India and Japan, identifying areas where the RSC can help advance the chemistry needed to tackle some of these grand challenges.


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 Jun 6, 2012 12:07 PM BST

A few weeks ago, I volunteered to help at the Cambridge Science Festival on the RSC stand. Last week, all the volunteers who worked on the stand were awarded an excellence award at the All Staff Meeting.

The RSC ran a number of interactive science experiments at the Cambridge Science Festival this year, as it does every year, including exploding volcanoes, and cornflour gloop.  The experiments showed some chemical principles whilst being suitable messy for children to enjoy.  Although the event was organised by the Science, Education and Industry (SEI) section of the organisation, anyone was allowed to volunteer to help on the day including employees from the editorial office.  I jumped at the chance because I thought it would be a great way to work with people from SEI whom I don’t normally get to see on a normal working day. I also found that it was great fun, despite being quite exhausting. Because a record number of over 30 volunteers turned out to help that day, we were each awarded with an excellence award at the RSC All Staff Meeting.  It’s great working with people who are always “up for anything” and ready to get involved.


My day to day work is similar to how I described it in my last blog, but now I am also training to edit papers as well.  I’m excited to be nearing the end of my time as a trainee.
Rowan Frame 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 Rowan Frame on May 28, 2012 10:43 AM BST
 I am currently in my first rotation on the SEI Grad Scheme, working in the international development team.  It has been less than two months since I moved to Cambridge to start work at the RSC and there is lots to learn. I didn’t realise how many things the RSC does!

International development is a really exciting section to be placed as our work involves activities in Africa, India, China, South East Asia and Brazil and we collaborate with a range of people in academia and industry to plan and organise events.

I’m particularly lucky because in two days I am going to Brazil on RSC business (the other graduates are pretty jealous as not everyone gets the opportunity to travel). I have never been to Latin America so I’m very excited. It’s also going to be great to participate in the activities we have been planning from the UK.

The graduates work as a team on some projects. At the moment we are organising a series of scientific lectures as well as designing a new website. This is a lovely chance for us to all work together and to attend events. Next month the RSC is hosting a lecture by honorary fellows Akira Suzuki and Ei-ichi Negishi. I used the Suzuki reaction almost every day during my masters research project. I’m really looking forward to hearing the story behind the reaction.      


Laura 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 May 21, 2012 2:26 PM BST
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