Of all the emails we get from prospective scientists, the most common are probably: “how will I know if I’ve been selected?”, and “how does the application process work?”.
So — in our never-ending benevolence — we wanted to give you a peek at the how we choose scientists, and what happens once you send us your application.
When do we select scientists?
I’m a Scientist runs in March, June, and November every year. We select scientists around a month before each event.
What’s the most important part of the form?
The most important part is the box that asks for a one sentence description of your work the part into which all your creativity and communication skills should be poured.
We email the descriptions to students and teachers who’ve taken part before and they rate the scientists. They get a survey containing only the descriptions. So it’s really important that it (a) concisely says what kind of research you do, and (b) is going to be interesting to a 13 year-old student.
We read through all the descriptions, seeing who fits the themes for the zones that we’re running in a given event (e.g. “I work at CERN”, won’t get you into the Animal Behaviour Zone, but might get you into the Particle Physics Zone).
Then we pick the best group of people for each zone, taking into account the students’ ratings, scientists’ descriptions, as well as trying to get a good mix of institutions and research levels. (At this point, “I work at CERN” probably doesn’t get in, because someone else might have had a similar, but better description, e.g. “I use the biggest machine to search for the smallest particles of the universe”.)
Keep your description short and to the point, but make sure it grabs the students’ attention!
If you’re selected…
If you’re selected to take part, we’ll email you asking you to confirm your place. Please reply to that email as soon as possible, whether or not you still want to take part; saves us having to chase you.
…and if not…
If you’re not chosen, we’ll email to let you know a couple of weeks after the application deadline.
Once you sign up to the list you stay there, so if you don’t get in selected for the next event you’ll be considered for the following one. If you’re not selected in March, you will be considered for the following June, November, and so on until you update your preferences to say just keep me updated. (All the emails we send out have the option to update your preferences.)
Sometimes, if we know we’re running a specific zone in a later event, we might choose not to offer you a place in the next event, but save your application for the later round of I’m a Scientist.
Find the application page here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply