Theresa Dahm, a PhD student at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, recently spent three months as an intern with the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. So just how different were the halls of Westminster from life in the lab?
This summer I traded my life as a PhD student in Cambridge for life as an intern with the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. And what a trade it was! I may be used to criticising research papers, but scrutinising government was a whole new challenge.
The world of policy-making seemed at first to contrast sharply with the research environment I was so used to. I went from managing my own long research project, with its looming but fairly intangible deadline, to working closely with members of a tight-knit committee and meeting deadlines every week. I also left behind the comfort of being a specialist in my research area (how depression affects self-control) to work in an area I had little knowledge of: an inquiry into the regulation of medical implants. Armed with a licence to ask questions and the need to learn a lot and fast, I set to work. Read more