Policy and Communications Placement at MSD

Top Employer
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Application Deadline
Central London and City
Role May Involve
Public Relations

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MSD is a Top Employer
“I have learnt many valuable skills in both techniques and transferable skills e.g. giving presentations, writing scientific papers and teamwork. The placement also gave me an insight into how the pharmaceutical industry works.…” - Read full review

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Policy and Communications Placement

We offer exciting 12-month placement opportunities to students that are looking to work with us to deliver on our mission to save and improve lives. A placement with us will give you the opportunity to collaborate alongside subject matter experts, bring your own ideas and share real responsibility whilst delivering on meaningful projects alongside a passionate, diverse and inclusive workforce.

This role will be based in our brand new, state-of-the-art co-working facilities in Moorgate, London; with fantastic amenities and support services including a gym, coffee bar and conference rooms.

Job Description:

Our Human Health Division maintains a “patient first, profits later” ideology. The organization 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 Policy & Government Affairs team collaborate with government entities and policy organizations at local and national levels. We address legislative and regulatory issues that promote the discovery and development of innovative medicines, vaccines and animal health products while improving and protecting patient access to care.

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
  • Therapy policy and communications – supporting our main priority disease areas for medicines and vaccines such as oncology, hepatitis C, diabetes, antibiotics, HIV, Alzheimer’s disease
  • Corporate policy and government relations including political engagement and pharmaceutical industry relations

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 the our 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

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

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

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 organization’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

Start Date

Summer 2021


All the student placement positions listed above will be based in our brand-new office in Moorgate, London, opening in January.

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.

About MSD

We are a global biopharmaceutical leader with a diverse portfolio of prescription medicines, oncology, vaccines and animal health products. We are driven by our purpose to develop and deliver innovative products that save and improve lives. With over 70,000 employees operating in more than 140 countries, we offer state of the art laboratories, plants and offices that are designed to Inspire our employees as we learn, develop and grow in our careers. We are proud of over 125 years of service to humanity and continue to be one of the world’s biggest investors in Research & Development.

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

Other important information:

Our presence in the UK goes back a long way. For over 80 years, we’ve been researching, developing and supplying new medicines and vaccines that prevent and treat diseases that occur at every stage of life.

Today we're one of the top five biopharmaceutical companies in the UK and employ over 2,000 people across five sites in Hertfordshire, Northumberland, Buckinghamshire, Edinburgh and London.

How are MSD in the UK adjusting our hiring process with COVID-19?

At MSD in the UK our key priorities during the current COVID-19 outbreak are both maintaining supply of critical medicines to our patients and ensuring the health and safety of our employees and candidates. In support of Government measures to limit the spread of infection, we have therefore developed a new flexible, virtual route for candidates applying and interviewing for our open roles.

Equal Opportunities

We are proud to be a company that embraces the value of bringing diverse, talented, and committed people together. The fastest way to breakthrough innovation is when diverse ideas come together in an inclusive environment. We encourage our colleagues to respectfully challenge one another’s thinking and approach problems collectively. We are an equal opportunity employer, committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace.

What we look for …

In a world of rapid innovation, we seek brave Inventors who want to make an Impact in all aspects of our business, enabling breakthroughs that will affect generations to come. We encourage you to bring your disruptive thinking, collaborative spirit and diverse perspective to our organization. Together we will continue Inventing For Life, Impacting Lives while Inspiring Your Career Growth.


How to apply

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