Binding Blocks full nuclear chart from a birds eye view

KICK-START Internship

Application deadline extended to end of Mon 8 April 2019

Introduction and context

The 27th International Nuclear Physics Conference (INPC 2019) will be held in Glasgow, UK, from 29 July to 2 August, 2019. This is the largest international conference devoted to fundamental nuclear physics research, and presents an exciting opportunity for delivering nuclear physics outreach on a large scale, showcasing nuclear physics to schools and the wider public. The conference also provides an ideal platform for knowledge exchange on public engagement techniques with international researchers in the field, fostering far-reaching collaboration for developing related projects.

The UK STFC-funded Nuclear Physics community has a long tradition of undertaking public engagement across the length and breadth of the UK: engagement that we know has a profound effect on our audiences. Using the INPC2019 as a forum, we aim to expand the reach of this internationally. A significant proportion of STFC’s public engagement is designed and delivered by early-career scientists, including PhD students, who are working hard to balance the demands of establishing their careers alongside their passion for leading high quality public engagement and outreach. We know that this is a real challenge: PhD students often struggle to balance public engagement with their commitments towards their research projects; they may find themselves unable to make the time to plan new engagement and outreach to their satisfaction; may have no-one in their immediate peer group that shares their belief in the importance of engagement; and may struggle to benefit fully from current developments of good practice in public engagement.

This internship will support a talented PhD student to contribute significantly in delivering the outreach programme of the INPC2019, as well as allowing them the chance to develop their own public engagement and outreach. This will ensure that the next generation of nuclear scientists continue to deliver the highest quality of purposeful, audience-driven public engagement, and ensure that new developments in public engagement in nuclear physics have lasting impact across the international nuclear physics community. The internship is funded by an STFC Spark Award, held at the University of Glasgow (Dr.  Rachel Montgomery and Prof. David Ireland), which aims to both develop the nuclear physics outreach programme at the University and deliver high-quality outreach at the INPC2019 conference. The project will be run in close collaboration with colleagues from the Binding Blocks programme at University of York, where KICK-START Internships are funded by STFC through a Leadership Fellowship for Public Engagement (led by Dr. C. Aa. Diget, York). In this way, the internship will involve training, peer learning and feedback across the wider Binding Blocks collaboration. The majority of the internship will be hosted, as a sabbatical, away from the PhD student’s home institution, and time is expected to be spent at both the Universities of York and Glasgow. The start date of the internship must be no later than 1 st June. This will facilitate participation in outreach events and training which will mostly based at the University of York in June, followed by preparations for the INPC2019 in Glasgow in July.

Aims of the KICK-START Internship Award

  • To support a PhD-student working within the remit of Nuclear Physics, either within a UK or international institution, to kick-start their independent public-engagement projects.
  • To facilitate a broad impact of their public engagement linked to both their home institution and through the wider international nuclear physics community.
  • To develop materials and deliver high-quality outreach related to the INPC2019 conference.
  • To foster peer learning and peer support between present and former KICK-START award holders with a similar passion for public engagement and outreach and through incorporation into the Binding Blocks collaboration.

Funding for the KICK-START internship

The KICK-START internship will include three months of funding at a level equivalent to an STFC-UKRI PhD studentship. This will be a sabbatical from the student's current PhD stipend. Existing funding is available for one PhD student working in the area of Nuclear Physics, either within a UK or international institution. We encourage applications from international institutions. Additional funding for travel and consumables will be made available to the intern at a level appropriate for the proposed project.

The application process:

Applications for the internship should be submitted by email to no later than 1st April 2019, 12:00 noon (GMT). The application should consist of three short documents:

  • A short, tailored, 1-page, CV that outlines the applicant’s relevant qualifications, experience, and track record to date.
  • Two letters of reference tailored to the appointment (one of these may be the applicants PhD supervisor).



  • A supplementary short letter/statement of support from the applicant’s PhD supervisor, which includes considerations of how the internship time will be facilitated through Leave of Absence, PhD programme extension, or equivalent, as well as how the KICK-START internship is envisaged to feed back into the public engagement programme at the applicant’s home institution.
  • A letter of support from the applicant’s PhD supervisor. This should include considerations of how the internship time will be facilitated through Leave of Absence, PhD programme extension, or equivalent, as well as how the KICK-START internship is envisaged to feed back into the public engagement programme at the applicant’s home institution.
  • A 2-page document, that provides responses to the following four assessment questions:

1. What do you hope to gain from your participation in the KICK-START internship programme?

2. Describe a public engagement or outreach project you may wish to develop or expand as part of your KICK-START internship. You may as part of this suggest one or more external host institutions for where this project might best be eventually implemented.

3. In relation to this project (and/or previous public engagement projects), consider the following three questions: What is your thinking process when developing effective public engagement or outreach? How do you evaluate the impact of your public engagement on the participants and how do you learn from this evaluation? How can you enable your peers and colleagues to participate in public engagement, both at your home institution and
across the wider UK Nuclear Physics community?

4. How would you describe one specific challenging concept from your nuclear physics research to an eleven year old child? The KICK-START Internship will be awarded based upon the written application and a remote interview with a panel for short-listed candidates.

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their application with Dr. Rachel Montgomery (, Prof. David Ireland ( and Prof. Christian Aa. Diget ( in advance of the submission.