Month: September 2013

Far from a blue venture…..

I am feeling extremely comfortable within the office now and powering on with the research project. The data collection is complete and I have begun the write up. My supervisor, along with the rest of the staff, has been very helpful and trusting of me, which has enabled me to feel part of the team.

The work Blue Ventures do in Madagascar is phenomenal. Prior to working in the London office, I was unsure exactly of the scale of proceedings, especially considering they have just celebrated their 10 year anniversary. It is clear the local communities are benefiting hugely from their involvement and I hope they will continue to expand at this current blistering rate.

What a first week…..

06/09/13

Thankfully the temperature dropped throughout the week and I am now able to work without the need for industrial sized fans. Data collection has been the main goal of this first week and it is coming along nicely. I had to devise a way of categorising the houses found in Madagascar that was as precise as possible, whilst also being efficient enough to complete the given area in the allotted time. Using the ‘Ruler’ tool on Google Earth Pro I measured the diameter of various properties and created three size groups (<5m, 5-9m, and >9m) to give a good spread of data.

Blistering Start

02/09/13

My first morning at Blue Ventures’ London HQ is over and I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog now rather than after several beers later on….

A brief overview of who Blue Ventures are, and my expectations of the project seem like a good place to start. Blue Ventures are a science led social enterprise that work alongside coastal communities in order to protect marine ecosystems. Madagascar and Belize are the two main locations that are focussed on. Although the charity is still somewhat in its infancy, they are already becoming well known and respected.

IDEAs for the future

My internship at IDEA has really shaped my thoughts for future careers.

Lots of students at Imperial are driven by two career prospects : the hardcore pursuit of scientific knowledge and wanting to “sell out to the man” and get a high paying job, probably in something like finance.

I was definitely one of these students, until my internship at IDEA. It is often hard to think about how your work directly affects others, either in a positive or negative way. Through my research at IDEA, I have been able to contribute to the highlighting of a major problem within the Debating Circuit that subsequently people are going to try hard to change.

Rathlin Island Days 15-21

I am now back in London, having had a fantastic time on Rathlin Island and having completed my placement. The whole experience has been unrivalled by anything I have ever experienced before.

The final week at the RSPB Seabird Centre went smoothly, although there were very few breeding birds left to show people so late in the season. However, it was great to see so many people who were enthusiastic about coming to the centre to learn about the conservation of RSPB despite our lack of puffins and guillemots. We also had some extra excitement around the centre last Friday, when committee members involved in the Northern Irish parliament came to Rathlin Island and visited the Seabird Centre for a presentation about the proposed new marine bill, aiming to establish Marine Protected Areas and increase conservation efforts in coastal areas of NI, including Rathlin Island.

Greetings from sun-kissed Vauxhall!

Long may the weather continue!

Week four is well underway here at the Big Issue Foundation and the project is coming along. I wish I’d written a little more sooner, it’s evolved a great deal since I first arrived and I don’t quite where to begin. I’ve still got a few more weeks before I need to log out for the final time, so I’ll start from the top, lay out the basics, and (hopefully) catch up before the end.

Speaking broadly, the nature of the third sector is changing.

Charities are becoming more businesslike. They are learning the lessons of the private sector and applying to their own to cut costs and grow impacts.

The final chapter

The past month seems to have flown by. When Friday rolled around, I couldn’t believe that I’d already spent 4 weeks working at the Royal Society. I guess that’s a good sign though. It’s been such a great experience and certainly something I’d recommend to all PhD students. It can be so useful to have something lift you out of the PhD bubble for a little while…

Thinking about the internship overall, I feel like I’ve managed to get a lot out of the placement given it was relatively short. I really benefited from having the mixture of helping out on the typical day-to-day editorial tasks and working on some of my own mini projects (for the RS anniversary issue and Neuroscience marketing strategy).