Work Placement / Internship

Student placement - Policy and Communications


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Job Description

This role will be based in our brand new, state-of-the-art co-working facilities in Moorgate, London. This site, at the heart of London provides fantastic amenities, support services and collaborative workspaces with convenient transport links.

What's the best thing about our student placement scheme?

What’s the best thing about our student placement scheme? Watch MSD placement student Sophie reflect on what she most enjoyed!

Who we are…?

For more than a century, our organisation has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases. Today, our organisation continues to be at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions and advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and animals around the world.

We are officially certified by the Top Employer Institute and been awarded the exclusive Top Employer United Kingdom Certification for the fourth year running.

Job Description:

Our Human Health Division maintains a “patient first, profits later” ideology. The organisation is comprised of sales, marketing, market access, digital analytics and commercial professionals who are passionate about their role in bringing our medicines to our customers worldwide.

Our team, within the External Affairs Department provides strategic and tactical communications and policy leadership and support to our UK business. Our work is focused on engaging with a wide range of stakeholders and audiences from politicians and government officials, to policy influencers and the media, through to our UK employees. We are therefore seen as a critical hub for our business, often working cross-functionally and in partnership with other parts of the business.

In joining our team, you would have the opportunity to learn from a well- respected team with diverse skills, expertise and career backgrounds. This role would suit a candidate who thrives on working in a fast-paced environment, enjoys working as a team player and who is interested in developing a career in communications and policy.

Our department covers three main teams:

  • Strategic communications which includes corporate, employee, social media and issues communications
  • Corporate policy and government relations including political engagement and pharmaceutical industry relations
  • Therapy policy and communications – supporting our main priority disease areas for medicines and vaccines such as oncology, hepatitis C and HIV

To make sure you get experience across all communication disciplines and functions, you will have a chance to work with each team, through a rotation across the year. This will give you experience and insight into a broad range of communication disciplines and projects, as well as how a major pharmaceutical and healthcare company operates. You will be given opportunities to be part of key specialist or project teams as well as the opportunity to lead and deliver on your own initiatives. The experience will therefore provide a blend of project leadership, tactical implementation and professional and personal learning opportunities.

As well as ‘on the job’ learning and coaching, the successful student will be encouraged to have a mentor within the business (not their manager) who can provide insight and advice. Further internal and external training courses may be provided, with approval from the External Affairs Director.


These are just some examples of activities or initiatives you could get involved with during your time with our External Affairs team:

Strategic Communications

  • Development of creative and impactful corporate materials
  • Maintaining and updating our organisation’s UK internet site and our employee intranet
  • Assisting with the development of creative and engaging communications materials, including using the AV studio
  • Monitoring corporate media, the environmental and issues
  • Developing and writing our internal digital newsletter

Corporate Policy and Government Affairs

  • Monitoring, research and development of briefings for senior leaders on a range of political and policy topics relating to life sciences
  • Supporting the team in providing political and policy counsel across the business
  • Supporting the management of key stakeholder relationships including mapping of stakeholders, coordination of meetings, and development of briefing materials for senior colleagues
  • Supporting in the development of external and internal briefing materials
  • Providing general day-to-day and administrative support to the team, including event management

Therapy area policy and communications

  • Monitoring media and health policy developments relating specifically to our organisation’s disease areas / products
  • Developing briefings for the business on trends in media and policy behaviour relating to key disease areas / products / issues
  • Assisting with the development press & social media materials & assets for a range of external stakeholders
  • Researching, mapping and planning stakeholder engagement opportunities
  • Collaborating closely with stakeholders such as patient organisations on educational initiatives

Technical Specifications

  • You will be looking to complete a 12-month placement in your third or penultimate year of study, returning to your course at the end of the placement
  • Studying a degree in Social Sciences, Life Sciences, Media, History or English may be an advantage (or equivalent qualification)
  • An awareness of and interest in the UK healthcare environment
  • Demonstrates proficiency in project management, organisation and administration
  • Numerate with good analytical skills
  • IT literate including proficiency in PowerPoint and Excel

Qualities we look for

  • Operates with a high level of integrity, transparency and accountability
  • Comprehends and aligns with our organisation’s core values
  • Aligns and fosters a culture of diversity and inclusivity
  • Demonstrates initiative, proactivity and academic curiosity
  • Encourages and boosts their colleagues through teamwork
  • Demonstrates clear and effective communication
  • Demonstrates a desire to learn and improve their performance through feedback
  • Has a can-do attitude, anticipates problems and proposes solutions, approaches work challenges creatively with fresh ideas
  • Demonstrates a sense of urgency
  • Willing to get involved in a fast-moving environment, often interacting with senior leaders

Deadline for applications:

We assess applications on a rolling basis, so we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. This role will be removed once this position has been filled.

Start Date - Summer 2022

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Opportunity Overview

  • January 31st, 2022
  • Competitive salary + benefits
  • All grades
  • 12 months
  • London
    (Show map)

Disciplines accepted...

  • Bioengineering
  • Biology
  • Biomedical
  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Science
  • Pharmacology

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