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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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Nearly three months have elapsed since my last blog entry and time seems to have gone by really fast!

Life in the Synthetic Organic team is as busy as ever. With the databases (MOS and CCR) now moved completely within our team, we abstract from so many different organic chemistry publications each month, with so many high-impact advances in the field to keep track of, and it is all we can do to keep on top of things! I am very glad that my training for this started early and that I am now almost independent in my abstracting, the most interesting part of which, of course, is to get to read outstanding research from leading experts in the field from all over the publishing world.

With my proofreading and issue make up training completed, I am now doing the peer review for OBC which, as I predicted, is extremely interesting and I enjoy looking after papers since the early stages of their submission to the journal. In the summer, we will publish our 10th Anniversary special issue which already counts several contributions from outstanding names in the field of organic chemistry. As the cover coordinator, my challenge is to commission and produce a suitable cover to highlight this very important occasion and showcase the OBC 10th Anniversary issue on the RSC’s blogs and media channels. When I write my next blog entry, the issue will be published so I will be able to show you which cover was selected!

These past six months in Cambridge have flown, I have now made a number of friends inside and outside the organisation of whom I am already very fond. We regularly showcase our general knowledge skills on Wednesday evening pub quizzes and, when it stops raining and I am finally rid of this annoying cough, I will hopefully be able to participate in the next RSC rounders game!

I am very much looking forward to the next stage of my training, which will involve editing, and to the continuation of my career. I couldn’t be more excited about the future.
Posted by Elisa Meschini on May 15, 2012 9:34 AM BST

After my PhD in Medicinal Chemistry for Cancer at Cambridge, I started at the RSC on the SEI Graduate Scheme and have been here for six months now. I'm currently in the Communication Team (2 months) and before that I was in International Development (4 months).

In Communications, I'm working on internal communication projects such as our internal newsletter Cohesion, and external content like the Annual Review and RSC News. It's a fast pace environment, which is exciting! There's such a variety of projects and the team are gret to work with. Look out for the Annual Review covering our activities in 2011 - it's going to be available as of June...

In International Development, I was heavily involved with our Pan Africa Chemistry Network activities and got to travel to Ghana for the 1st Congress on Agricultural Productivity just one month in from starting here! This was to support the conference, which had delegates from all over the world. It was great to be on the organising side of a conference for a change and getting to know some of the high-profile speakers! It was the first time that I met our President, Professor David Phillips CBE, who is a real asset to the RSC and chemistry generally. If you ever get the chance to meet him, you should!

There is no guarentee that you will get to go abroad during the rotation but if the opportunity arises, I'd definitely recommend it. My trip was one of the most intense weeks I have ever had but certainly one of the most rewarding. It was such an eye opener to go to Ghana (my 1st trip to Africa), seeing first hand the environment that they work and live in. Malaria, cholera, poverty are some of the harsh realities that they have come to accept are part of their lives, but it shouldn't have to be like this.

The purpose of Societies such as the RSC is to disseminate information for the benefit of mankind. The work of international scientists, industralists and governing bodies all have their part to play in helping people in Africa and beyond. And, the Science Team do a great job in bringing these people together and producing policy documents with recommendations on topics such as agricultural productivity and human health. Maybe I'll be rotated there next...?

Samantha 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 Samantha Cheung on May 4, 2012 5:34 PM BST

I am now 6 months in to the Science Education and Industry grad scheme and am still thoroughly enjoying every minute.  I started in the Education team and am now on my second rotation in the Membership department.

The graduate programme has been an amazing experience right from the very start.  I came to the RSC after doing a PhD in Southampton, I wasn’t exactly sure what path I wanted to go down but I knew I didn’t want to be based in the lab.  The RSC grad scheme has turned out to be the perfect choice. 
In the Education team I was immediately given the opportunity to work on and manage a variety of projects such as ‘Chemistry in the Olympics’ (the Education team’s Olympic themed website hosting a series of resources highlighting the role chemistry plays in sport along with a sports themed global experiment)  and ‘Faces of Chemistry’ videos, featuring Reckitt Benckiser, to name a few.

After spending such an enjoyable couple of months in the Education team I was not disappointed as I moved into my second rotation in the Membership team.  I am currently working on the MyRSC site which involves designing and creating pages, providing technical support for users (both internal and external users) and managing the blogs amongst other things.  This has been an amazing opportunity for somebody like me without a computing background.  I have been learning how to develop an effective content strategy and how to develop content with search engine optimisation in mind, all concepts that were previously alien to me.

All this as well as a variety of graduate projects to get stuck into; ‘This Day in Chemistry’ and the 2012 Roadmap series of Science Policy lectures, which I am currently managing, means that there is never a dull moment here at the RSC. 

Sarah 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 Sarah Hobbs on Apr 24, 2012 1:39 PM BST
It's been about three months since I last posted to the blog but time seems to have flown. Here are just a few things that I have been doing since then: Ok, so the last two aren't to directly to do with work, but they did have a large impact. The RSC squash league has seen me play RSC staff from other teams around the organisation, making connections that I might not otherwise have made. In addition to being really fun it's also been keeping me fit now the hockey season is over.

Moving house shortened my commute from a 40 minute drive to a 10 minute walk / 4 minute cycle. There's loads of really nice housing around the Science Park where the RSC is based so if you are considering applying for a job here, housing is never an issue. In addition, with the new guided bus system up and running in parallel with the normal city buses, I can catch a bus to town every few minutes or so, which is ideal for getting to the city centre or the station.

Although a little stressful at times, producing my first themed issue was a nice achievement as I was able to work with some field-leading scientists to produce an attractive looking issue packed with high impact articles. Similarly, peer review has training has been really interesting and it's really nice to now be able to follow an article through the process, and to have an active role in every stage from submission to publication. 

My trip to Birmingham was really successful too. Having run stands at university for different societies and sports clubs, it was really nice to have the opportunity to continue this through work by running a stand at a careers fair. I met lots of keen students wanting to learn more about the RSC, both as an organisation and as an employer. In addition to answering questions, I had a lot of materials to hand out including brochures, application details, free pens and even lab safety specs.

So seven months into the grad scheme, I'm still learning and experiencing new things, and with different challeges to face on a daily basis, no two weeks are ever the same. I'm really enjoying myself and I'm certain I still will be in three months when I write my next post. 
Alicia 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 Alicia Parker on Apr 24, 2012 1:24 PM BST

It’s been a couple of months since my last blog and it’s been as busy and varied as ever here. I have now completed my training on the Graduate Scheme so I’m now a fully-functional Publishing Editor!

The final part of my training was in editing, which took around three months to complete. The Interfaces team also launched Biomaterials Science and I was given a new associate editor to look after. My responsibility in the team has grown in other areas too; in the next few months I will be looking after my first themed issue of Soft Matter and I am also in the process of taking over the role of covers co-ordinator for Soft Matter.

There has also been plenty of opportunity for development outside of the Publishing Editor role. I have recently completed my first article for Chemistry World and am also working on Faraday Discussion 159 alongside an Editorial Production colleague. This process involves receiving the papers, sending them for peer review and editing them before the meeting. Once at the discussion, it is our responsibility to record the discussion surrounding the papers and compile this into the Faraday Discussion volume, which will be printed as a hard-back book. I’m really looking forward to seeing this project through as it involves various roles outside of my day-to-day role such as attending the conference and meeting the authors and other delegates.

So, as you can see it’s been a busy but productive and rewarding past two months here at the RSC and I’m looking forward to the next few months and whatever they may bring!

Lucy 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 Lucy Gilbert on Apr 13, 2012 8:35 AM BST

Well I am now 5 months into the graduate training scheme working as a development editor for the inorganic team and the time is flying by.

Recently we have been working on our development plans for the journals for the coming year - it's been really interesting to look at the types of articles that have been published and which topics are popular.

Since my last post I have also joined the RSC squash league which has been great fun and has given me great insight into how unfit I am, hopefully as the league progresses this will change!
Matthew 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 Matthew Cude on Mar 28, 2012 9:49 AM BST

Today I completed my training in peer review.  I think that at the time I wrote my last blog, I had just started peer review training.  The time in between seems to have gone very fast.  

For the past few weeks I’ve been aiming to choose two or three newly submitted manuscripts each day to send out to appropriate referees.  I’ve also been making decisions to accept or reject papers based on reports that have been returned from reviewers.  Apart from this I’ve been proof reading a few papers each day, attending meetings and dealing with other miscellaneous correspondence.  Something I occasionally do is commission covers for ChemComm, which involves asking authors to design images based on their research and, if necessary, corresponding with them to raise the picture to a suitable standard for reproducing on the front or back cover.

As well as lots of new tasks at work, I’m taking up new sports outside of work.  Some fellow graduates have recently set up a RSC squash league.  With a division dedicated to beginners and courts just down the road, subsidised by the RSC, it left me no excuse not to join in!

Hopefully by the time I write my next blog I will be getting on with my editing training.  Editing is one remaining task I still have yet to learn.

 Rowan Frame is a Graduate working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Science, 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 Mar 12, 2012 9:14 AM GMT

Eight months in and I’m still enjoying all the challenges of the
RSC Graduate Scheme in Publishing.

My last blog was back in December, I had just started my peer review training which has continued to go well and be very interesting. I have now independently made up issues 2 and 3 of Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, with issue 4 due to be started next week. Issue make-up was quite complicated at first as there were so many different aspects that had to be considered, however, each time I make-up a new issue I find that it becomes easier and much quicker to do.

In February I began another new area of my training, which is abstracting for Natural Product Updates (NPU). NPU provides graphical abstracts of new developments in natural product chemistry, selected from dozens of key primary journals. This aspect of my training is really interesting and is completely different to the others, which means that my days are becoming even more varied.

The RSC is a very welcoming and rewarding place to work. Unlike a lot of other companies, the RSC has a really enthusiastic and dedicated Sports and Social Club, which organises some really enjoyable socialising activities that range from chocolate tasting to the RSC Quiz Night.

Applying to be on the RSC Graduate Scheme in Publishing was the best decision I have made. I am lucky to have found a job where I really look forward to going to work the next day.

Rachel 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 Rachel Jones on Mar 7, 2012 8:39 AM GMT

I’m now just over 3 months into the RSC publishing graduate scheme.

Having finished my degree in chemistry last summer, it has been quite a change starting a new job and moving to a new city. Thankfully, my time at the RSC so far has been really positive: everyone I’ve met has been so friendly and welcoming, and I’m really enjoying the work.

I started as a Publishing Editor on the Materials team in November and began training in proof reading, which involves making the final changes to an article and publishing it online. Before too long I was able to do this independently, which was initially a bit daunting but I soon got used to it. Just after Christmas I completed proofreading training, and I am now about a month into my training in the peer review process, which is turning out to be a lot of fun. It’s very different to anything I’ve done before but I’m definitely enjoying the challenge, and luckily my trainer and the rest of the team are always happy to answer my questions, no matter how daft! I’ve also been able to commission artwork for journal covers, and tomorrow I’ll be putting together my first issue of the Journal of Materials Chemistry.

Outside of work I’m really enjoying life in Cambridge. I’ve recently joined the university trampolining club, and somehow, despite having only ever played twice in my life, I’ve found myself on the RSC squash ladder!

One of my favourite things about my job is the variety – there’s always a new challenge around the corner and more to learn, and I’m looking forward to what’s to come.

Catherine 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 Catherine Brown on Feb 27, 2012 11:03 PM GMT

Three and a half months in, enjoying every day, and always looking forward to the next!

As I was nearing the end of my PhD in synthetic organic/medicinal chemistry, the next stage of my career looked more nebulous than it ever had. What to do next? Then an opportunity with the RSC came up!

Doing anticancer drug discovery research was wonderful, and I couldn't be happier with the choice I made back in 2006 when I decided to leave my native Italy to pursue a PhD. It was a great experience and it has enriched me in countless ways. Yet, when it came to deciding what to do next, I knew I wanted a new challenge.

I have always been hugely passionate about reading and writing since a very young age. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the practical aspects of my PhD research, predictably, it was writing about it afterwards that provided the highlight for me. The machinery behind the "other side" of research, where the results are made public and become available to the rest of the world, was always deeply fascinating for me.

So when my PhD ended, and the RSC opened up some vacancies with the publishing graduate scheme, I literally jumped at the opportunity! I have joined the Synthetic Organic team and am currently being trained in abstracting and proofreading. I am enjoying this immensely and look forward to the next stages of my training with much anticipation. The new skills and insights I was able to absorb in this short time (which has flown by with amazing speed!) have been manifold, and since day one I was in the company and in the capable hands of lovely, knowledgeable (and massively patient!) trainers.

In a recent development, I was made the cover coordinator for Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry and have been assigning covers to the latest issues, choosing from a range of wonderful artwork submitted by eager authors from around the world, and providing aesthetic (!) guidelines for them as they create new and impressive images to highlight their work. Who says science is not artistic?!

The next stages of the training will involve editing and peer reviewing, and I am looking forward to these with excitement and curiosity. Watch this space for what comes next (resolution for next blog entry: find a decent picture to upload!). The future looks bright - I have a job where I always look forward to the next day with anticipation, and I count myself incredibly fortunate for that.

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 Feb 27, 2012 10:03 AM GMT
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