Short stories from our students

Discover what life is really like at the OxICFM CDT directly from our students, with stories describing their experiences within the programme. Discover how they evolve, both professionally and personally, on their journey to become scientists capable of addressing the critical manufacturing challenges of the future.

UKRI Policy Internship at DEFRA

Maya Landis (2020 cohort)

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Following my interest in the role of science in political decision-making, I decided to apply for a placement through the UKRI Policy Internship Scheme during my third year as an OxICFM student. The scheme allows UKRI-funded doctoral students to undertake a three-month placement with a range of influential policy organizations covering a wide variety of topics. According to my preferences, which I had stated in my application, I was placed with the International Biodiversity and Climate Directorate within DEFRA (the Department of the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs), where I worked with the scientists and economists of the International Biodiversity and Environmental Negotiations team. Under their guidance, I produced a set of briefing materials geared towards policymakers based on the assessments published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES – an intergovernmental organization with 144 member states which assesses the current knowledge on the state and trends in biodiversity, akin to the IPCC), allowing me to hone my science communication skills within the policy context. In addition, I participated in and followed along with the UK delegation’s preparation of the 10th IPBES plenary, held in Bonn, Germany, in early September. I was also able to attend the plenary myself – an enriching experience which gave me a new understanding of the science/policy interface.