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Ever wanted to know what we get up to on the RSC graduate scheme? In this blog, members of our graduate scheme describe some of the interesting (or unusual!) activities and projects they are working on, as well as what it is like to work in a variety of departments across the RSC.

Find out more about the RSC Graduate Scheme here

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Videos, events, experiments and technology! Lots of changes since last you heard from me. Am I still loving every minute of it? Is a water molecule polar???!!!!

I have left my rotation in Membership, although a last hurrah recruiting student members in Ireland and North Wales turned into a bit of an adventure as I took to plane, train, automobile, ferry and even scooter to make sure members new and old were up to date with all our initiatives and to help with any queries they had.

On my return, I then completely changed rotations to Industry. I’ll be the first to admit, that with no experience of working in an industrial environment and not a huge knowledge of business, this seemed a little bit daunting but with a traditional RSC welcome (a combination of complete warmth and enthusiasm combined with throwing you straight into the “deep end”) I instantly loved this role.

It seems crazy to think I’ve only been here for two months but in that time I’ve been involved in such a huge variation of projects. I’ve been involved in organising the Joliot-Curie conference in Edinburgh (16th/17th Sept), a conference aiming to help encourage diversity and inclusivity within the chemical sciences. (It’s free! Keep your eyes peeled for registration!) .

The most fun project I’m currently occupied with has been the Emerging Technologies Competition. This prestigious event, with a £10,000 cash prize, has been one of my key priorities and has given me some rather interesting opportunities… Including becoming a director! Knowing only that every good director has a clapper board and a chair with their name on it, I made my way to London to make a film on how to deliver the perfect pitch (the elevator kind that is, not the musical). Once I eventually found a room that didn’t have building works right outside, I only had to tackle with the HD camera, the lighting, the microphones, the editing software and the music before my masterpiece was created.  I will let you guys all know when it goes live...

As well as that, I’ve been looking at the Industry and Technology awards system, the Health and Safety support information available on learn chemistry, and organising an RSC Roadshow in Cardiff on the 26th June (lots of free, interesting and exciting talks for any budding or seasoned chemical scientists out there). As if that isn't enough to be getting on with, I've even made bold steps into the musical world singing bass in the Royal Society of Chemistry's choir affectionately known as "Choirality". I can't read music, I've never sung in a choir before but sometimes I get the right note and they seem happy with that for now!

Once again RSC, you’ve taken me outside my comfort zone, given me incredible experiences, taught me about some areas I didn’t even know existed and you’ve supported me every step of the way! GIVE ME MORE!!!

Gareth Davies is a Graduate currently working in the Industry Team on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Graduate Scheme. To see if we are currently recruiting for the RSC Graduate Scheme click here

Posted by Gareth Davies on Apr 23, 2014 11:19 AM BST

A new start on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Graduate Scheme, in my first rotation in the Strategic Partnerships team

I have been at the Royal Society of Chemistry for just over a month now and it has been a very busy month! 
I was delighted when I found out that I had been selected for the Graduate Scheme and moving to Cambridge was pretty hectic but I found the people here extremely helpful. Especially the lovely Cambridge taxi drivers, who basically gave me guided tours along the way, with lots of helpful tips and advice about Cambridge!
Starting at the RSC was daunting, but everyone was very welcoming and supportive. I knew about the RSC somewhat as a former student member, but after working here it has been an eye opener as to the amount of effort and conscientious work that goes into the RSC’s activities in publishing, professional training and accreditation, charitable initiatives and in public policy.
The Strategic Partnerships team have been going through an immensely exciting time and have launched three new charitable funds in the UK, India and Africa, to support UK chemistry education, new education collaborations with India and science capacity in Africa. Our aim is to raise over £12 million by 2018.
The funds needed new webpages and an accompanying eye catching video to raise awareness, which is what I started working on at the start of my rotation. Having no experience in video editing; storyboarding and knitting together various clips was a challenge but was a great new experience! With the help and expertise of other departments and individuals such as the Design team and our Web- Editor, I learnt a lot and we launched the webpages for the new funds. Focussing and fine tuning our webpages and our video’s message really helped to improve my communication skills. 
Currently I am working on the new Strategic Partnership webpages and I am researching companies that the Strategic Partnerships team could work with in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility. These projects in particular and the previous ones above have given me a great sense of responsibility and satisfaction in seeing my work come to fruition.
Visiting Burlington House in Piccadilly, our London offices, is always an exciting experience and never ceases to charm me with its period features. Exploring the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly, the grand department stores and shops, on my Induction day was lovely!
The first weekend in Cambridge I helped out in the Cambridge Science Festival with the other lovely Graduates on the Graduate Scheme, which I really enjoyed. I was working on the traffic light stall which involved showing how oxygen affects the colour of indicators in solution. The looks on children’s faces when the solution turned bright colours encapsulates a part of what we as the RSC are trying to do- to get people excited and involved in the wonders of Chemistry!

Anu Daniel is a Graduate currently working in the Strategic Partnerships Team on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Graduate Scheme. To see if we are currently recruiting for the RSC Graduate Scheme click here


Posted by Anu Daniel on Apr 17, 2014 3:35 PM BST
Well, I can’t believe the end is nigh. Having joined the Royal Society of Chemistry fresh faced and inexperienced almost 18 months ago, I am now coming to the end of my final rotation in Strategic Partnerships and, *sob*, the end of my time at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

So, let me tell you a bit about my time in Strategic Partnerships – it has been a great rotation – and some of the ‘extras’ that make this graduate scheme such a great and worthwhile experience. It's a bit longer than usual so stick with me.

The Strategic Partnerships team, unsurprisingly perhaps, form partnerships – both to gain funding AND to collaborate and share expertise and networks. One of my projects, Client Background research, had me looking at companies Corporate Social Responsibility and mapping it against our work and our values to see which shared our passion and vision - it is about more than just who has money when we decide to form a partnership.
A highlight was getting to attend a meeting with a potential multimillion pound client company.
I also researched Beijing and Singapore’s potential prior to my line manager’s trip to Asia in December, no mean feat when you are looking at every chemical related sector the countries have to offer, trying to pick your top ten. And just a bit of pressure knowing your manager is booking meetings based on your information.
Internal communication is really important for a team like Strategic Partnerships and I co-ordinated it during my rotation, organising Lunch & Learn sessions in my first week (a great way to immerse myself in all that the team does), writing for Cohesion our internal newsletter, and working on our intranet page.
Throughout my first two placements I got a taste of matrix working and a crash course in knowing who does what. Having these relationships was a real bonus when working on raising the profile of my new team and ensuring that the rest of the organisation knows them and keeps them in mind.
The ‘Big One’ for me in this team has definitely been working on our ambitious new 5 year fundraising campaign. I have had a chance to be involved in every aspect, from working on the core messaging, writing an RSC News Feature, and working with a fancy design agency in London. To storyboarding our promotional videos, filming our current activities, helping secure a quote from Heston Blumenthal and, next week, interviewing *gasp* Bill Bryson.
Now, I also mentioned ‘the extras’ so…
Personally I have been on Project Management, Networking and Presentation skills training, had Insights profiling and a follow up workshop, and the chance to have a 360 degree profile – a great evaluation and development tool encompassing my whole time with the organisation.
Informal development has come in the form of the grad projects for example the Cambridge Science Festival, and a card sorting project for Chemistry World (no idea what card sorting is? Neither did we – you learn something new every day here). University recruitment visit and also volunteering opportunities such as working at Meet the Universities and at the Burlington House, our historic London office, for Open House London.
These opportunities gave me confidence, knowledge, great networks and helped me feel empowered. From beginning to end I have greatly improved my time management, organisational and problem solving skills. I learnt project and people management, honed my creative thinking and idea generation and gained experience in an amazingly diverse number of areas.
Oh yes, and I’ve enjoyed myself immensely!
Posted by Holly Salisbury on Feb 28, 2014 3:16 PM GMT

Somehow, I’ve made it to the end of my first rotation in the Science team already!
The last five months have been a bit of a whirlwind, but I’ve had loads of fun, learnt a lot and been involved with a huge variety of projects.
The Science team organise scientific events and public lectures, write policy papers and respond to consultations from the Government, manage our Awards portfolio and much, much more. I’ve been lucky to have worked with nearly everybody in the Science team, and it’s hard to pick out the highlights, but I’ll give it a go….
In September the House of Commons asked for evidence for their Inquiry into Antimicrobial Resistance. Writing policy is something I’ve always wanted to try my hand at, and I was so lucky to be able to help collate the evidence and write the final response for this inquiry (with a lot of help from the wonderful Life Sciences team!) Not only did I learn loads about a very important issue, I also found out how policy is developed not just within the RSC, but across UK Government.
As November and December dawned I found myself in our beautiful London offices in Burlington House a lot. I got to attend some fantastic events, such as a whole day symposium on Micro-algae, a Materials Division Schools lecture on Nanotechnology from the brilliant Annela Seddon, and last but not least the Organic Division Poster Symposium. This was an event I’d been closely involved in organising since the moment I entered the team, and seeing the students and delegates enjoying themselves throughout the whole day was a highlight for me (not to mention trying to delicious canapés that our catering staff at Burlington House provide!)
Perhaps the most exciting project I worked on was a public panel discussion on Antibiotics resistance – after helping to plan the event, I got to visit the Department of Health to film Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England. We even had Michael Mosley come to chair the discussion, which was really interesting and received great feedback.
As you can probably tell, I’ve loved my time in the Science team. It’s been very busy at times, but it’s been great fun getting to know everyone in my team, and the rest of the grads. I’ll be leaving the grad scheme at the end of this rotation to start a job in the Education team, managing our Initial Teaching Training Scholarships. I’m so excited about it, but I’ll be sad to leave the grad scheme and the Science Team, and miss out on the latest grad project – designing our stall at the Cambridge Science Festival!

Lizi is a Graduate currently working in the Science Team on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Graduate Scheme. To see if we are currently recruiting for the RSC Graduate Scheme click here

Posted by Elizabeth McLoughlin on Feb 3, 2014 11:41 AM GMT

Where have these last five months gone! It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was starting my first rotation in Membership Recruitment. Since day one I have loved every minute of my time at the Royal Society of Chemistry, and I can only see it getting better and better.

This rotation has had me travelling up and down the country (including Edinburgh and back in a day), arranging a showcase event that promotes all that our members do for the organisation, creating fun and somewhat cheesy quizzes and a whole host of other recruitment related initiatives.

With a nomadic October and November I was rarely seen without a pop-up stand and suitcase full of Royal Society of Chemistry goodies. Well equipped to encourage chemical science students to take advantage of the support we provide for them, I have been welcomed into chemistry department’s right across the UK. Having the opportunity to help our membership community grow with passionate members who are early on in their careers has been a real privilege as well as meeting existing members and keeping them up to date on all the innovative work we are doing.

With the membership department reaching a record high of 49,112 members at the end of 2013 there was also cause for celebration! Hence a mini grad project was born. Charlotte, Jenifer, Andrea and I got asked to organise an internal showcase celebrating all the hard work that not only the membership department but in particular our members do.  Creating an exciting game allowing colleagues to slip into the personality of someone else for a day has been a very different aspect to my role but equally as enjoyable. Getting to see how parts of the organisation such as the design team run and really understanding the work that our members do on our behalf has made my time in the membership department feel even more special.

In amongst these I’ve been able to write an article about nanogenerators for chemistry world, voiced Cutthroat Kevin the pirate in Molecular Treasure, eaten the gingerbread version of myself, made the most fantastic friends throughout the organisation, and walk into work every single day with a smile on my face. Who could want more than all that!?!?

Gareth is a Graduate currently working in the Membership Development Team on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Graduate Scheme. To see if we are currently recruiting for the RSC Graduate Scheme click here

Posted by Gareth Davies on Jan 22, 2014 11:55 AM GMT

I'm currently in the Member Services department, and the big project for me this rotation is 175 Faces of Chemistry. I’ve been privileged to find out about the stories of many diverse people who have influenced the chemical sciences. These stories never cease to amaze me. Technicians, academics, teachers, authors, partially sighted, dyslexics, wheelchair users, those from all different cultures with different backgrounds - there have been so many people whose courage, persistence, curiosity and determination should be celebrated.

Corresponding with some of the international nominees, and interviewing and filming those closer to home has been very enjoyable, as has writing up people's stories.


Other activities include publishing the Networks Newsletter and blog, which is great for finding out about some of the things members get up to. A lecture on fireworks, and the Global Chemistry Experiment have made particularly memorable blogs.


I've also been working on the Trends in Remuneration survey results… some colourfully displayed data on  the extra questions asked this year (diversity, career breaks etc.) will be appearing soon… watch this space!


A lecture at the Chemistry Centre about Christmas trees, finishing the grad project on Chemistry World's website structure, visiting Queen Mary's University London,  a grad Christmas lunch, and the usual excess amount of cake have also featured in these past few months.

Jenifer is a Graduate currently working in the Member Services Team on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Graduate Scheme. To see if we are currently recruiting for the RSC Graduate Scheme click here
Posted by Jenifer Mizen on Jan 15, 2014 3:12 PM GMT

My second rotation in the Communications team has allowed me to build upon what I learned in the Strategic Partnerships team and also develop a wide range of new skills.

Since September, I have been working in the Communications team, a rotation that I had been keen to try since joining the Graduate Scheme.

As with all of the rotations, I am involved in a wide range of projects. One of my roles in the team is to manage much of the internal communications at the RSC, including sourcing and writing stories for our monthly staff newsletter Cohesion. I have also written speeches for both out CEO, Dr Robert Parker and our President, Professor Lesley Yellowlees, for our parliamentary events held in Northern Ireland and Scotland, Science and Stormont and Science and the Parliament.

We organise Chemistry Week every two years to promote a positive image of chemistry and to increase public understanding of its role in everyday life. This year, the theme of the week was health and I had the enjoyable project of designing and creating an exhibition for the Chemistry Centre to teach students more about the roles of chemistry in health
. I have since written an article summarising some of the activities carried out by our staff and members during the week for January’s issue of RSC News.

One of the best things about the scheme is having the opportunity to get involved in activities across all parts of the organisation. For example, in the last couple of months, I have written a research article for Chemistry World and visited Liverpool, Birmingham and Aberystwyth Universities in order to discuss the benefits of becoming a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry with students.

It’s not all hard work at the Royal Society of Chemistry and Christmas brought plenty of festive fun! Staff packed into Churchill College in Cambridge (the only college big enough to house everyone!) for our Christmas lunch, and there were a number of great fancy dress costumes on display at the Sports and Social Christmas party.

Jonathan is a Graduate currently working in the Communications team on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Graduate Scheme. To see if we are currently recruiting for the RSC Graduate Scheme click here
Posted by Jonathan Wells on Jan 9, 2014 9:12 AM GMT

All good things come to an end, as does my time on the RSC graduate scheme.

I’ve written the last few chapters of my time at the Royal Society of Chemistry here in the Chemistry World team. I’ve dabbled in writing science and business news stories, writing and recording podcasts, planning a feature story, running the science communication competition and project managing a team to improve the user experience of the Chemistry World website. I was also thrown into the deep end with my first press week – learning how to copyedit, proofread and produce Education in Chemistry, The Mole and Chemistry World itself.

I’m not only sad to be leaving a job, but my friends and colleagues too. I’ve spent my final few days here saying goodbye and stuffing my face full of food – pictured are the grads eating our Christmas pot luck.

Looking back at what I’ve learnt over the past 15 months, I can definitely recommend the graduate scheme to anyone wanting experience working in a non-lab-based science role. I’ve learnt so much and the employment opportunities after the graduate scheme are rife here, however I’ve decided to write a new chapter to my education by going back to undertake my natural products PhD at the university of Surrey.
But that’s not to say I won’t be leafing back through the pages of my time here – I’m leaving with some freelance science writing work, fond memories and more recipes for (vegan) baked goods than I could possibly imagine.

Farewell for now! If you want to keep in touch with my anecdotes - you can usually find them on Twitter...

Emily James was a Graduate on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Graduate Scheme.  To see if we are currently recruiting for the RSC graduate scheme click here.
Posted by Emily James on Dec 13, 2013 10:30 AM GMT

The Strategic Innovation group is a recently established directorate, and, as the name suggests it performs a variety of interesting work.

It’s made up of the Business Development and Business Intelligence team, the Community and Customer Innovation team, the International Development team, the eScience team and the Solutions team. Over the last four months I have been based within the Business Development team, and as well as getting to know this team, I have had the opportunity to work with colleagues from across the department. For more information about the team - take a look at this blog.

Half of my role has involved using skills developed during my Communications placement, and the other half has taught me new skills. Business Development related tasks have included researching aspects of our competitors, user testing for our new platforms, and I have also been fortunate enough to be part of the project teams of two of the most interesting and exciting projects – the digital regeneration of our web presence ( – where the aim is to launch a user-friendly web presence that looks great and is easy to use - and the launch of our new Chemical Sciences Article Repository, which is the subject specific repository that allows authors, publishers and institutions to deposit Open Access papers.

In September, I was also fortunate enough to help at a workshop held at Burlington House called ‘Open Innovation and Neglected Diseases’, where as well as learning a great deal about the topic, I also learnt how events like that were organised, and I met some really interesting people.
Using my communications skills, I have helped raise awareness of a new Royal Society of Chemistry initiative called the Global Chemistry Network. As part of a project team we organised two internal staff ‘open days’ where we showcased the work that was happening as part of the Global Chemistry Network project – such as the launch of the new Chemical Sciences Article Repository, the Royal Society of Chemistry Account and Profile and the work we are doing to ‘Digitally Enhance the RSC Archive’. (We also provided ‘innovative’ cakes for attendees – delicious cakes that were made up of an unusual combination of flavours.)

As a result of sitting next to Oscar Gillespie, a Multimedia Innovation Specialist, whose work predominantly involves designing interactive and educational chemistry games, I have helped him with the Molecular Treasure Hunt game – a pirate based game where you have to cure sick pirates using specific molecules.

I have really enjoyed my time so far within the Strategic Innovation group, as it has been really interesting being involved with the initial ideas that lead to us launching new products, services and technologies for the benefit of our community.

Posted by Marie Chapman on Dec 10, 2013 9:51 AM GMT

The first two months of the graduate scheme have flown by in my rotation in Books.

As I had absolutely no previous experience of book publishing, this was an exciting place to start the scheme. It came as quite a surprise to find out I’d be in Books as this is a brand new rotation that I hadn’t heard about before. It’s been a good experience being the first graduate to work in the department, and figuring out with my very friendly line manager Leanne how to manage my work flow and how I should be getting involved in a range of different projects.

My aim for this rotation is to get involved in as many aspects of book publishing as possible from start to finish. First of all this meant a whistle stop tour of the publishing process and meeting with everyone in the team, which covers editorial, production, marketing and sales, to learn about what they do.

Since then I’ve been involved with the early stages of the publishing process, such as assessing proposals for books and sending the proposals out for review. The next stage is getting the team’s feedback on the proposals at the Books Department’s version of Dragon’s Den - at the moment I'm preparing my first pitches for the meeting next week.

The later stages of the publishing process come into play when the contributors submit their work and the book goes into production. This means finding a copy editor to read through and correct mistakes, and several rounds of proofreading. One plus of this stage is dipping into a lot of interesting books!

At the end of production the book is published and becomes available for purchase, and the marketing and sales teams (which have already started work on the book during production) really get to work. I’m looking forward to working at a book launch in January for one of our popular science titles The Science and Commerce of Whiskey, at the beautiful Burlington House. And yes, I’m told there will be a tasting session on the night!

Martha Henriques is a Graduate working in the Books team on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Graduate Scheme.  To see if we are currently recruiting for the RSC graduate scheme click here.

Posted by Martha Henriques on Oct 22, 2013 10:27 AM BST
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