August 25, 2016, by Lindsay Brooke

Christmas Lectures – The Royal Institution assistant required

Christmas might seem a long way off but The Royal Institution (Ri) is already gearing up for the festive period!

The Institution is looking for an assistant with scientific knowledge to work on this year’s Christmas lectures – Britain’s most prestigious public science lectures.

Marking 80 years of television history, since the world’s oldest science series was first broadcast in 1936, this year they celebrate the past, present and future of energy – ‘Supercharged: Fuelling the Future’.

The Ri is looking for a Masters or PhD student working in the energy-related field. So, if you are thinking of a career in science communication or you are someone already established as a science communicator this might be the opportunity you are waiting for – but you only have until 9am on Tuesday 30 August to apply.

This year’s Christmas lectures will be presented by Saiful Islam, Professor of Materials Chemistry at the University of Bath.




He’s planning plunge the theatre into darkness for the start of this year’s lectures. The successful applicant will work closely with Saiful Islam, the Ri science and media teams and the TV production company.




James Whiting Ri



But you won’t be the first Nottingham student to get such a fantastic opportunity. Last year Jim Whiting, from the School of Life Sciences, was accepted on a BBSRC funded internship for the Christmas Lectures.





The BBSRC PIPs scheme is a scheme in which all BBSRC funded PhD students are encouraged to take three months away from the lab to do something completely different, but their funding continues throughout. They have offered Christmas Lectures placements for the past three years and as Jim Whiting blogged after his three month stint, they reveal the value of scientists working with the media and are a great experience for any upcoming science communicator.

This year it’s the turn of Life Sciences student Nel Taylor, a BBSRC funded PhD student who currently investigating the ageing brain. She has landed the media assistant placement at this year’s Christmas lectures and will be helping out with media releases and social media.


She has been a fan of the Christmas lectures since she was a child and can hardly wait for her placement to start: “I have been fascinated by science since I was at primary school. It is really important to get people interested in science so I can’t wait to get behind the scenes and see how it all happens and find out how this type of science outreach works. Science isn’t this big scary thing if you are taught in the right way.”

Nel will be keeping us updated on her experiences via her science blog. Good luck Nel!

Pictures courtesy of The Royal Institution, Paul Wilkinson and The University of Nottingham

Posted in AlumniHealth & medicineResearch newsScienceStudents