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CASE STUDY: SAGES INTERNSHIP - Martha Stokes x Teach the Future

Since 2017/18 ECCI and SAGES - the network that gives organisations, businesses and policy-makers to access geosciences-related expertise from across Scotland - have been teaming up to offer pioneering career enhancement opportunities for SAGES members.

The programme links students with relevant host organisations and is at the forefront of bringing academia and business together to tackle global environmental challenges. A range of business, third and public sector organisations working in priority areas of interest for SAGES were matched with PhD and MSc students to work together on meaningful consultancy projects.

Here we hear from Environment & Development (MSc) student Martha Stokes, who undertook a Policy Internship at the Teach the Future (TtF) campaign - a student-led campaign aimed at improving education around the climate crisis.

Hi Martha! What did you do and how did you find the experience?

I worked as a policy intern on the Teach the Future campaign. This involved conducting research into recent Scottish and UK government policy with a focus on education and climate policy. It also involved keeping up to date with key publications by government and other influential organisations, attending stakeholder meetings, and mentoring students.

My key achievements from the placement were:

  • 1:1 mentoring to a Welsh school student interested in learning more about policy
  • summarising key opportunities (strategic, funding, campaigning) for TtF in a report following the publication of the Scottish Government's Response to the Climate Assembly Recommendations
  • conducting background research on key projects and organisations
  • editing the current draft of a Climate Emergency bill ahead of a review by our legal partners
  • brokering a new relationship with a like-minded organisation (the Children's Parliament) and identifying opportunities for future collaboration

Did you learn new skills during the internship?

I learnt a lot about how to influence government policy. I understand so much more about how to structure campaigns and for me this is really exciting.

Has this placement helped you to understand how policy based organisations operate?

Absolutely. I hadn't worked so closely on policy before and now I understand a lot more about different mechanisms organisations can use to influence change in government. I worked across a range of policy activity including bill creation, policy review, and campaigning.

Do you think the internships are useful for your future career prospects?

Definitely. My background prior to this internship was mainly in business and project management. I have been really wanting to build up my policy experience and working with SAGES was a great way to do this. It also worked perfectly alongside my studies. I've been looking at some full-time jobs for when I graduate from my MSc and almost all of the prospects that interest me ask for some policy experience.

Thank you for hosting such an excellent placement! I thoroughly enjoyed working on the Teach the Future (TtF) project. I learned so much about policy making, campaigning, and managing youth-based teams.


Supported by ECCI, SAGES is a network that gives organisations, businesses and policy-makers to access geosciences-related expertise from across Scotland.

It acts as a knowledge broker between scientists and research users, including Government teams and small businesses.