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Science Careers Outside the Lab: Government and Policy

Working in policy is a great way to use the skills developed from your science qualification to help inform and support policy making in a range of organisations including local and central government, professional bodies, think tanks and NGOs.

Date/Time: 18 March 2021, 15:00-16:00

Venue: Online

Join this session to hear from science graduates now working in government and policy roles within the Civil Service and Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

This session will help you:

  • learn about the range of job roles for science graduates in government and policy
  • chat with science graduates now working in these areas
  • understand how to enhance your chances of success when applying for roles in government and policy


Dr Lorna Christie, Physical & Digital Sciences Adviser, Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology (POST)

Lorna is a Physical Sciences Adviser at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). Prior to this, she completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry (MChem) at the University of Manchester. As part of this, she worked in industry for one year, at an ink development lab in Cambridge. After completing her degree, she then pursued a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Glasgow, which focused on the coordination chemistry of palladium. During her PhD, Lorna applied for a policy internship with POST, and produced a parliamentary briefing paper on ‘Automation in Military Operations’.

After completing her PhD, she then returned to POST in January 2018. POST works at the interface between science, technology and policy, providing analysis of evidence on science & technology issues to MPs and Peers. Lorna has produced briefings all members of a wide range of topic areas including chemical weapons, food fraud, AI and healthcare and online safety. In addition, she has worked closely with a number of the Parliamentary select committees, including undertaking a secondment to the House of Commons Transport Committee to manage its inquiry on e-scooters.

View Lorna's LinkedIn profile

Richard Derry, Policy Adviser, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)

I finished my MRes in Neuroscience in July 2020 having also completed my BSc in Biochemistry in 2019 at Newcastle University. In September last year, I began working at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the EU Strategy team, briefing Ministers and senior officials for EU Exit related meetings and committees. In February, I was moved to the International Strategy team within DCMS, where I now work on bilateral engagement and strategy, mainly focusing on the Indo-Pacific.

View Richard's LinkedIn profile

Robin Delaine-Smith, Government Statistician, Civil Service Fast Stream

My journey to where I am today has been far from linear. I have a BSc in Natural Sciences from Sussex University, an MSc in Analytical Sciences from Huddersfield University and a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Sheffield University.

After completing my undergraduate degree and working for a year in the US, I came back to study for my Masters degree and then followed numerous lab-based scientific roles; I worked for six months as a pharmaceutical analytical scientist and then one year as an environmental chemist in hazardous waste management. Having an interest in research and regenerative medicine, I went on to study for a PhD in bone tissue engineering. During my 3rd year, I took on the dual role of leading my PhD supervisor’s group for six months and then in my fourth year I worked in manufacturing research for a regenerative medicine company for six months. Wanting to have a career in academia, I went on to become a post-doctoral research associate at Barts Cancer Institute for five years, which was intrinsically very rewarding and I was able to contribute some exciting research to the field of cancer. My interests changed once again and my passion for data analysis and statistics had been building throughout the years to the point whereby I decided I wanted to take my career down this path.

Currently, I am a Government Statistician in my second year on the Fast Stream Future Leader’s programme. In my role, I perform high quality data analysis at pace for policy colleagues, parliamentary questions and internal and external stakeholders. I am involved in publishing departmental statistical releases including data collection, stakeholder management and generation of data tables, data visuals and commentary. I also have developmental projects that I lead on with the aim of building my experience in leadership and change management. Day to day, I get to delve deep into the data that we collect and present my findings using a range of tools including the programming languages SQL and R, which I really enjoy.

How to attend

This session is open to all current students, recent graduates and early career researchers. Click on the button below to login and book your place via MyCareer.

We encourage you to read our Virtual Events Code of Conduct to find out more about online etiquette during the session. Please note the session is due to be recorded.

We want our services to be accessible to our students and graduates. Please get in touch via MyCareer you have any specific requirements, eg an alternative format, communication support, or other adjustment, to access our workshop/event.