Zinc – Innovation Internship – deadline: 22nd October 2021

Name Zinc
Placement base location Theatre Deli, 2 Finsbury Ave, London EC2M 2PF
Website ZINC
Contact for enquiries Please contact Ella Moonan-Howard (ellamh@zinc.vc) with any questions or to find out more about the Internship.
Placement job title Name: Ella Moonan-Howard
Email: ellamh@zinc.vc
Name: Rachel Middlemass
Email: Rachelm@zinc.vc
Potential start date

This is an on-going opportunity with several recruitment intakes. The dates and details for the forthcoming intakes are as follow:

Intake One:
● Stage: Accelerate
● Dates: 4th of April to 1st of July
● Mission: Children and Young People’s Mental and Emotional Health

Intake Two:
● Stage: Portfolio
● Dates: 4th of April to 1st of July
● Mission: See our list of portfolio companies here

Potential working pattern

Daily work pattern: 8 hours per day

Total hours per week: 35


Details of application method

The application process will include a CV and Cover Letter followed by a short video outlining your career goals.

Applications should be made at this link: https://apply.workable.com/zinc-ventures-limited/j/D9E06CFD8B/

Please specify your preference for the intake you would like to join in your application. We will endeavour to match
you with a placement of your choosing, however, cannot guarantee this.

Application closing date This is a rolling application, however, we encourage interns to apply before Friday 22nd October.
Overview of PIPS organisation

Zinc was created as a new innovation platform to build products from scratch. The platform was designed to overcome silos by taking a mission-led, cross-sector, trans-disciplinary approach, and to combine the best of design, research and entrepreneurship in a new method. In our flagship programme, the venture-builder, we bring together cohorts of 50-70 talented individuals who are pre-idea and pre-team. In a 6-12-month, full-time programme, we help these individuals find their co-founder(s) and build highly scalable ventures. To date, we have supported 150 individual innovators and created 45 new ventures. We have developed an extensive, mission-based innovation ecosystem around the programme, now with over 11,000 members and more than 300 Visiting Fellows, as well as wide-ranging cross-sector partnerships.

Each venture-builder programme has:

  • A mission focus. We work across four key missions:
    1. To improve mental and emotional health
    2. To add five high-quality years to later life
    3. To minimise harm to the environment
    4. To create new opportunities for individuals impacted by automation and globalisation.
  • A science-led platform for start-ups: Mirroring the way that Big Tech combines behavioural science, engineering, the arts and life sciences to develop its products, we anchor our programmes around a robust approach to research and development.
  • A much greater diversity than is typically seen in the startup world: For example, half of our entrepreneurs have been women, one-third have been people of colour, and the average age has been early 30s.
  • An inclusive and open ecosystem: Our programmes bring together unique opportunities for partnerships between a range of private, public and third sector organisations who care about our missions.

Zinc’s Objectives
Zinc’s vision is to be the most trusted place for entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers to experiment their way to impact at scale in our chosen missions. Zinc is deeply committed to the idea that high-quality research is essential for the production of impactful innovation, and that the experimentation of early-stage ventures creates unique and fertile ground for R&D.

We embed research knowledge principles and practices into our ventures builder programme from the outset and throughout. This is to ensure that our ventures create products and services that: are underpinned by a robust knowledge of the problem they are looking to solve, that use cutting edge science and technology to meet this problem, and that they embed research talent into their businesses to ensure they remain evidence-based as they scale. Innovation Interns may support the ventures they work with with the following types of task:

  • Translating and communicating academic knowledge on a subject area to a non-academic audience.
  • Generating rapid and robust literature reviews on new subject areas.
  • Consulting on appropriate methodological approaches either through cohort level training, through 1:1 advice, and/or through the hands on creation/delivery of research activities.
  • Providing strategic advice about the prioritisation of research activities and the centrality of key research questions within a ventures wider company and mission vision.
  • Adopting a creative and flexible approach to designing research activities, exploring novel recruitment practices and research methods.
  • Identifying and developing partnerships with relevant stakeholders. These may be user groups, academics, professional experts and/or institutional stakeholders.
  • Representing Zinc, and/or the venture you are placed with, through the production of external facing content. These activities could range from presenting at public events to writing blog posts.
  • Contributing to research funding proposals.
Placement offered
What does an Innovation Intern do?
Your role as an Innovation Intern will depend on the point in the innovation journey that you would like to work in. You can learn more about the Accelerate and Portfolio phases below. Your experience will also depend on the venture you work with and the project you take part in. However, it will always include 1:1 work with entrepreneurs in the development of their new products and services.There are two stages at which you can join Zinc:


1) Accelerate
You will be working across a cohort of ~70 founders who will be in venture teams that are approximately six-months old. At this stage ventures teams are incorporating their new companies and are conducting lots of testing to refine their products. You will helping them with things like:

  • Conducting user engagement and product development through an iterative process of experimenting, learning and re-experimenting.
  • Adopting a hands-on approach. In the early stages of building a company there is the opportunity to get ‘stuck-in’ to a range of different tasks and experience first-hand what it takes to turn an ‘idea’ into a workable solution/product/service.
  • Building “science-rich” products and services to address complex social problems. This will involve applying your research skills to specific scenarios that will directly inform the product development of the venture you are working with.
  • Working with Zinc’s in-house R&D team to help founders and newly formed companies develop and work through ideas, design research and test their ideas with users.

2) Portfolio
Interns at the portfolio stage will be joining one of the ventures who have come through a previous Zinc venture builder programme. Zinc has a portfolio of around 30 companies that range from between 18 and 30 months old. As a portfolio intern you will work on a discrete project, the scope of which will be refined collaboratively between yourself and the venture you are matched with.

  • Our portfolio companies work in a wide range of areas relating to various aspects of health (e.g. reproductive health, gut health, loneliness and isolation, women’s sexual health, menopause, erectile dysfunction, mobility, etc.) as well as employment, education and transport (you can view our ventures at the bottom of the page here). You must have an interest in one or more of these ventures as a portfolio intern.
  • Apply to join a portfolio company working in an area that you care about, and use your research knowledge to design, refine and deliver products and services that respond to complex societal challenges.

Why should you apply for this role?
This is an exciting opportunity for PhD students to gain experience working in a fast-paced, applied and creative environment. Innovation Internships will provide the opportunity to:

  • Get a different sort of “industry” experience. This won’t be like joining a big corporate organisation. Our early-stage start-ups provide a fast-paced, creative and experimental environment to work on issues that matter. This is a chance to gain ‘industry’ or ‘commercial’ experience in a supportive, research-led environment where the primary focus is on addressing complex societal challenges.
  • Develop your knowledge and understanding of early-stage innovation and the role of research within that. As well as learning on the job, you’ll have unlimited access to content delivered in the Zinc venture-builder programme, covering a range of topics relevant to the development of mission-focused businesses, products and services from scratch.
  • Design and participate in research. Early-stage start-ups run a series of experiments as they try to figure out how best to serve the demographics they’re trying to reach. Innovation Internships provide opportunities to be part of creative, applied, design-led research with a Zinc venture. This might mean gaining experience in designing a research project, new methods or approaches (e.g. participatory or action research), or applying methods you know well in the new context of an early-stage business.
  • Help apply research to practice. Learning to apply research to non-academic problems is increasingly important to academic careers, as well as for those interested in pursuing careers beyond the academy. Innovation Internships offer students a chance to see and be part of the application of research to the development of new products and services and to understand how academic work can deliver impacts through its use in start-ups.
  • Work in a multi-disciplinary, cross-sectoral environment. Zinc team members, venture founders and our wide network of associated experts come from diverse backgrounds. Innovation Interns will have a chance to meet and explore their own interests with people from wide-ranging disciplinary and sectoral backgrounds.
  • Broaden your network and create unique new partnerships. Engaging with academics and non-academics from diverse backgrounds will allow you to build productive relationships beyond your own institute or discipline. These might form the basis of future research partnerships (including with partners outside academia) as well as supporting your personal and professional development more widely.
  • Make a meaningful contribution to the development of brand-new businesses, products and services designed to improve people’s lives. If you’re passionate about our mission, you’ll be excited by this chance to help shape products and services that might one day help us all respond to it.
  • Benefit from the support of our in-house Research & Development team. You’ll be supported by Zinc’s in-house R&D team, all of whom have come from research backgrounds like yours and will be on hand to provide help and advice.
Financial contribution/benefit(s)