November 11, 2020

Beth Clarke – HM Government Open Innovation Team placement

Beth Francis 400 x 400 px

Details of student and placement

Name: Beth Clark

Institution: Bangor University

Placement Host: HM Government Open Innovation Team


I applied to do a placement with the Open Innovation Team at the end of 2019, in my third year of a part time PhD in Ocean Science. I was keen to get a taste of the culture and experience of working in the civil service, and in particular to discover a different style of research to what I was used to in academia.


My placement was originally planned to be an in-person placement over the summer of 2020, based in the Cabinet Office. However due the pandemic of course, my placement took place virtually.

Every member of the Open Innovation Team made me feel instantly incredibly welcome and I found that starting something totally new online was a novel but incredibly useful experience.


My placement was more than I could have imagined. I was amazed at the wide variety of interesting projects that I was given the opportunity to work on during my three-month placement. I felt like the team gave me the chance to be meaningfully involved in projects and supported me throughout the placement in developing skills to support my career post-PhD.


The experience of seeing how research is used by policy makers, will shape how I structure the research outputs from my PhD. Having to quickly adapt to a totally new way of working in a variety of topics I had no experience in, taught me so much about myself and what I want from my career and I think the experience of working with the OIT will be invaluable in applying for jobs once I graduate.


I would whole heartedly recommend a placement with the Open Innovation Team to any PhD students interested in a career in the civil service, or even just seeing what is involved in seeing a different side to research.