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'I am really pleased to see the positive response from students and the impact the internship has on their development. Well done for organising such a successful course.' Daniela Bultoc, Skills Development Programme Manager at University College London's Graduate School

The charity that publishes BioNews, the Progress Educational Trust (PET), runs a scheme with University College London (UCL), King's College London (KCL) and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) whereby Life Sciences, Biomedical Sciences and Law postgraduates can gain practical news writing experience under expert supervision through BioNews Internships. The next deadline for internship applications is by 5pm Wednesday 11 April 2012.

Under the auspices of this scheme, the editors of BioNews select two UCL graduate students and one KCL and one QMUL graduate student per term, and train each student in the art of science writing. The internships are of particular relevance to students interested in science communication and legal, ethical and policy issues arising from developments in biomedicine. All BioNews interns to date have completed the course, and provided positive feedback on it.

The internships last for a total of five days, spread over a nine-week period. After the initial induction period, the intern is expected each subsequent week to research and write a draft BioNews story for editing (if necessary) by BioNews staff before publication. By the end of the internship, the students will have acquired the following experience/skills:

  • critical reading and evaluation of media coverage of genetics, assisted conception and embryo/stem cell research, and related ethical, legal and policy issues;

  • an understanding of the contrasting values of scientists and journalists, and the pressures faced by both in relation to science news coverage;

  • researching stories and checking accuracy by referring to press releases, original research papers, policy documents and reports;

  • summarising this information and prioritising key points;

  • how to write an effective news story;

  • writing for a non-specialist audience, avoiding specialist jargon;

  • proofreading and editing skills;

  • writing copy to a weekly deadline;

  • using a database-driven content management system to publish news items and manage web links.

Former interns who have gone on to become regular contributors to BioNews include:

If you are a graduate studying at UCL or KCL and would like to apply for the next available internship, please see the Skills Development Programme section of the UCL Graduate School website or the Researcher Development Programme section of the KCL Graduate School website.