Malin joined POST in 2009 through the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) scheme. She applied towards the end of her PhD, feeling her project had policy relevance and wanting to get a first-hand look at how science was used at the UK Parliament. Today she is Head of Conservation Prioritisation at Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI).
The POST experience
Malin can’t recall the specifics of her POST application, “but,” she jokes, “surely that must mean it was not too bad!”
As for her first week, it was thrilling. “I really enjoyed my first week at POST. It was daunting to learn all about the processes and procedures of UK Parliament, but so inspiring to meet with the POST team, civil servants, other POST fellows and MPs and Peers.”
During her time at POST, Malin worked in the Energy and Environment section and co-authored a POSTnote on biodiversity and climate change, and thoroughly enjoyed the ride despite its brevity.
“Three months is a fairly short placement, but it gave you a flavour for the use of science in policy. It was a steep learning curve, but very inspiring to meet with decision makers on this topic.”
Life after POST
Shortly after her fellowship at POST, Malin went on maternity leave. But before she knew it she was back at work. She first did a short post-doc at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. But she eventually left academia, joining Botanic Gardens Conservation International, where she still works today as Head of Conservation Prioritisation.
Looking back at her time at POST, she believes it helped her to see the importance of science communication. It helped her understand how research evidence must be communicated in a range of accessible formats to cater to a wide range of audiences. It also played a role in her career trajectory since. “It sparked an interest in the science-policy interface that I am still involved in today,” she concludes referring to the role of scientific groups such as BGCI in guiding and evaluating policy decisions.
Advice for POST fellows
As with most POST alumni, Malin really recommends doing a POST fellowship. “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work at the intersection of science and policy.”
On a practical note she advises new POST fellows take their time and try not to rush through the experience. “Make sure you take the time to really focus on the fellowship and don’t try and finish your PhD at the same time.”
You can find Malin on Twitter @MalinRivers