One thing not happening this summer


in Daily updates, Science, Writing

I heard back about the Richard Casement Internship at The Economist today:

Dear Milan Ilnyckyj

Many thanks for your application for the Richard Casement internship, but I’m sorry to have to tell you that you haven’t got it. There were 220 candidates this year, a record number, so I wouldn’t feel too bad about this.

Good luck in the future.

Geoffrey Carr
Science and Technology Editor
The Economist

I was hoping to at least be within the fraction of those who they interviewed, but I expect that would be less than 5% of the total. Even with the pay advertised as ‘a modest stipend,’ I can easily see why 220 people under 25 would apply to write about science for such an interesting publication, headquartered in such interesting cities. Simply in terms of the people you would meet, it would almost certainly be worth doing for free. I hope whoever gets it will make the most of it.

The article I wrote has been posted online, in case anyone wants to read it.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon @ Wadh March 6, 2007 at 5:39 pm

Too bad. It was always a long shot, though:

“Our aim is more to discover writing talent in a science student than scientific aptitude in a budding journalist.”

You are neither a scientist nor a budding journalist. With more than 200 applications, they could surely find a good writer who fit their criteria more perfectly.

Keep hunting!

Antonia March 6, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Sorry to hear this.

I don’t entirely agree with anon’s comment, but it was well-meant. I think anyone looking through the content of your blog thoroughly would see it at least as much as a semi-journalistic exercise by someone scientifically-minded and scientifically-educated as a ‘personal blog’. It’s far more journalism than many magazine and newspaper commentators seem to achieve.

Milan March 6, 2007 at 7:09 pm


I agree with both of you. With so many applicants, they were perfectly free to choose someone who suited the position exactly. Probably, there were applicants who were both scientifically educated and experienced to some extent in scientific writing for a general audience.

To deprive the position of someone more deserving is not something I would have wanted to do. Always picking the things (schools, scholarship, jobs, etc) where there is a lot of competition almost guarantees that you will often fail. Of course, you may well still do better than if you hadn’t applied such ambition from the outset.

Lukasz March 6, 2007 at 7:47 pm

Hey there, just found you via google. I didn’t get it, either. And I am a scientist-in-training, with pretty good credentials (1st at Cambridge, 4th year PhD student at a good US school). No idea whom they called for the interview. They really could have done a better job with the rejection e-mail, geez…

I will try next year, though :)

Milan March 6, 2007 at 8:57 pm


Good to hear from you. I didn’t find the rejection email too harsh: at least it was human, unlike many I have received from funding bodies.

What did you write about?

Hilary March 7, 2007 at 12:17 am

I actually quite liked the rejection letter. I mean as far as rejection letters go. At least they spelled your name right.

Kerrie March 10, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Yeah I liked how they were informal and friendly at the end. I’m sorry you didn’t get it Milan but I’m sure you’ll find something to do that is right for you. Hint: don’t move to Calgary ;)

Are you legal to work in the UK or EU?

Milan March 12, 2007 at 10:23 pm

Are you legal to work in the UK or EU?

Not at present, but I don’t think it would be impossible to get a work visa if I could find a job in either.

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