Christmas Lectures PhD Intern

A unique opportunity to join the Ri for 3 months at its’ busiest and most exciting time of year: the planning, filming, and broadcasting of the Christmas Lectures.


Audiences in the Theatre at the Royal Institution

Job Title:             Christmas Lectures PhD Intern

Location:            A unique opportunity to join us for 3 months at the Ri's busiest and most exciting time of year: the planning, filming and broadcasting of the Christmas Lectures.

Contract type:   Three-month internship for PhD students, 35 hours per week, Monday to Friday, with occasional evening and weekend work. Payment by stipend from university, Doctoral Training Programme or Research Council. Please check funding with your DTP before applying. (x1 placement Sep – Dec 2024)  

About the project and the role

This placement will involve joining the Ri at its busiest and most exciting time of year; 

Started by Michael Faraday in 1825, and broadcast on national television every year, the CHRISTMAS LECTURES are the UK's flagship science series. The three-part series is filmed in front of a live audience in the Ri’s famous lecture theatre and watched by millions on the BBC over the festive period and on BBC iPlayer and the Ri YouTube channel afterwards.

You will be a key part of the delivery team for the Christmas lectures, working alongside Ri colleagues and the TV production team You will assist with preparations for the creation, development and implementation of the CHRISTMAS LECTURES and associated activities. The role will involve working with a TV production company, partner organisations around the UK, and a variety of unpredictable children, animals, academics and props.

Every day will be different but potential tasks and responsibilities include helping to coordinate the multiple partners who come together to make the Lectures happen. This may include researching items for scripts, sourcing and building props, and managing events. There may be heavy lifting or access to hazardous material, but full Risk Assessments will be carried out and training and support given where necessary.

You will also be given the opportunity to work with colleagues in other Ri teams, so that you complete your placement with an appreciation of how we meet our mission.

Who are we looking for?

This placement would be ideal for anyone interested in learning more about science communication and informal education through demonstrations, live events, and mass media. There is no need to have any prior TV or presenting experience, but the following experience is highly desirable:

  • Experience working on projects, with multiple stakeholders, to a rigid timetable.
  • Experience of taking science communication and/or informal education projects from conception through to delivery.


To apply, please send your CV and a supporting statement, no longer than 500 words, to, explaining why you are interested in this internship and how you meet the criteria set out in the job description.

The closing date for applications is: 9am Monday 29 July 2024.

Interviews week commencing 5/12 August 2024.

Read a blog from one of our previous PhD interns here: Being a Digital Media Intern at the Ri | Royal Institution (


This opportunity is only open to PhD students who are eligible to undertake an internship as part of their studentship and receive a stipend from their Doctoral Training Programme (DTP). Please check with your university/DTP to ensure funding is available before applying for this internship.

Participating Research Councils include (but may not be exclusive to): BBSRC, NERC, MRC, AHRC, EPSRC.

Please note there is no formal agreement in place between RI and UKRI, and each placement will be reviewed by the grant holder and approved at their discretion.

You will need to obtain the grant holder’s written permission to undertake the placement, outlining any funding arrangements, before a position can be offered.

Please note, the Ri is unable to assist with accommodation costs; applicants need to be able to arrange accommodation in London or the South East for the duration of the 3 months. Some assistance with travel costs may be available.

Safeguarding is of paramount importance to the Ri; we expect all those who work with us to share our commitment to safeguarding children and adults at risk, prioritising their welfare and protecting them from harm. Interns will be given appropriate safeguarding training and may be required to undergo DBS checks upon appointment, depending on their role.

We ask applicants to complete and return the recruitment monitoring form along with their application. The Ri is committed to equality of opportunity at all stages of the recruitment process. The information supplied in this form will be treated in strict confidence and not form part of the selection process. You may choose not to disclose some or all of the information requested in the form, and this will not affect your application in any way.


About the Royal Institution

The purpose of the Royal Institution is to connect as many people as possible with science. We've been doing it for well over 200 years and have an international reach, working with world-leading scientists, from Hannah Fry to Carlo Rovelli.

We talk, and listen, to the public. We help scientists talk, and listen, to the public. We develop critical thinking and a spirit of exploration in young people through our educational work.

In our historic Grade I listed Mayfair building, discoveries were made that literally changed the world. Today it acts as base for the Ri team and tenants as well as a busy and vibrant event space for private and corporate events.