PhD student Victoria Hill spent three highly useful months at EMBL-EBI within the EU projects team. The experience taught her valuable skills in career development and science communication.

I have recently completed a three month Professional Internship for PhD Students (PIPS) at EMBL-EBI within the EU projects team. My role during this time was to provide learning and career development support to professionals in computational biomolecular research. As a PhD student working in this field, it has been an invaluable opportunity. During my three months at EMBL-EBI, I have been lucky enough to be involved in a number of exciting projects, from writing career profiles and learning pathways for the Competency Hub, to organising virtual courses and webinars, and writing content for social media. All of these experiences have taught me how to communicate learning opportunities and engage with my community. 

Working on the Competency Hub has allowed me to focus on one of RItrain’s main goals: ‘competency profile definition and identification of training needs’. I have learnt what competencies are and, importantly, how they can be used at my career stage. Mapping competencies to career profiles has given me the opportunity to reflect upon my own training needs and I will be sure to use the competency model to aid my own professional development going forward. The Competency Hub project is highly collaborative and involves a number of different teams within EMBl-EBI. From this, I have gained perspective on different ways of working and managing a project, which can be directly applied to my PhD research.

victoria-hillMy placement coincided with a project that is nearing its end. This allowed me to be part of discussions regarding funding, report-writing for deliverables, and gave me a unique insight into how large grants are managed in such an institution. I have also had the opportunity to network with experts in the field of computational biomolecular research through the organisation of courses and webinars, and engage with other researchers in this field that have attended them. I would say that my biggest improvement during my placement was surrounding communication and social media. I have gained insight into how to communicate recent news in my field to different audiences as well as how to promote learning resources and opportunities through specific social media campaigns. Owing to this, I now feel more confident in the wider area of science communication, which is essential for any researcher.

My thanks go to Marta, Daniel, Vera, and everybody else that I have had the opportunity to work with during my placement. Not only have I learnt a great deal about training, communication, and engagement within my field, but also have had the opportunity to reflect upon my own training needs and explore my own interests within the various tasks and projects, which has been essential to my professional development and enjoyment during this placement.


Victoria Hill

This staff exchange experience was run as part of the RItrainPlus Staff and Knowledge Exchange Programme. Visit the webpage for more information about the programme, how to take part, and how to apply for a travel grant.

Staff exchange at EMBL-EBI: Improving skills in science communication