BBSRC Professional Internship: Evidence and Evaluation Function

Starting May 2018. Apply by 12th February 2018.

Within the Evidence and Evaluation Function at BBSRC, there is an exciting opportunity for a Professional Internship for PhD Students (PIPS) placement to work on exploring new ways of analysing BBSRC’s portfolio and developing new visualisations. This interesting and challenging internship will provide insights into BBSRC’s portfolio analysis, text mining and data visualisation, which provide the evidence base for decision making and strategic planning. As a PIPS intern, you will be closely involved in work that interfaces with many areas of the office, spanning the remit of BBSRC science.


BBSRC provides a strategic capability aimed at ensuring that the UK retains its world leading position in many areas of the biological sciences, and that the UK has the knowledge and skills base to remain internationally competitive in biology-based industries.

Within the Evidence and Evaluation Function, we are exploiting advances in auto-classification, text analytics and data visualisation, measurably enhancing BBSRC’s analytical capabilities in order to inform strategic planning. With data at the centre of our work, we are enabling rapid, data-driven insights into our portfolio of research investments, outputs and outcomes. The Auto-Classification Solution (ACS) for data enrichment was developed by BBSRC in collaboration with the UK National Centre for Text Mining. The ACS uses 5 algorithms to classify research and training investments against our 21 research topics, utilising topic modelling, termine terms and supervised machine learning models for predictions. However, for some topics there is insufficient information for the ACS to learn from. Therefore, we are exploring an alternative approach to portfolio analysis, the ‘more like this’ functionality. This will be particularly helpful in defining emerging fields of research and classifying those areas of our portfolio that are difficult to classify using the ACS. This work will enable new and meaningful insights into our data and provides an opportunity for further collaborative work with the National Science Foundation (NSF) on mutual areas of interest.

Role of the PIPS intern

There is an opportunity for a PIPS intern to assist in the development of classification and machine learning approaches, text mining for new knowledge discovery and data visualisations. The PIPS intern will support BBSRC staff in the process of exploring a new approach to portfolio analysis, the ‘more like this’ functionality, and will have a chance to assist with research analyses for colleagues across the office. The role will be located within the Corporate Policy and Strategy Group and provide a unique opportunity to learn about how our analyses inform the strategic planning and decision making. The PIPS intern should have enthusiasm for science and data analysis, as well as good organisational, communication and interpersonal skills. Programming experience (especially R) would be a great advantage, as there is scope for the PIPS intern to get involved in developing new visualisations. This placement will also be an excellent opportunity to learn about other activities of BBSRC and the Research Councils, which together with Innovate UK and Research England will become part of UK Research and Innovation in April 2018.

If you would like to apply for this PIPS placement, please complete the application form and return it to by 12 February 2018. You should be available to start your placement in May 2018, however the start date is negotiable.

Questions on this placement can be directed to Dr Joanna Jacklin (

published on: 31st January 2018