My name is Katie and I work in the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as a Science and Engineering Fast Streamer. I started in October 2011 and for my first role I’ve been placed in the Evidence Team. This is part of our Chief Scientist David Mackay’s group* and our aim is to make sure that all of DECC’s policies are based on a consistent and rigorous evidence base (how we try and do this is a topic I’ll save for another time!). I also do small ad hoc research tasks for policy teams. For someone who likes science but never wanted to work in a lab, it’s a great job. I feel very lucky and still have to pinch myself occasionally when I remember where I am.
This week I attended the Government Science and Engineering conference, which is run by the Government Office for Science (who are based in BIS). This event was a celebration of the contribution that scientists and engineers in government make to the civil service, as well as a chance to network and find out about other interesting opportunities that exist . Sir John Beddington, who is the Chief Scientist for the whole of government, not only has an extremely cool job but is very passionate about the Science and Engineering profession. One of the highlights of being on the Science and Engineering Fast Stream is getting a chance to meet him and get a first-hand account of what he does.
There are two things I love about the Fast Stream so far. The first is the chance to do so much training. Getting paid to learn about really interesting things is pretty amazing. Within DECC there are “DECC Schools” run by different members of staff, which help you to learn about other things going on in the department. I’ve also been on several Fast Stream specific courses. The second is the feeling that every job you will take on will be completely different and inevitably fascinating. It may be a tough slog to get in, but it’s completely worth it. Good luck!
* If you haven’t heard of him and you’re interested in sustainable energy, check out his free book online. It’s highly worth a read.