The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London has taken an interesting and unusual initiative when creating a job for an ‘outreach historian’ (see the announcement here and below). The only problem is that the position (as judged by the announcement) does not seem to involve any requirement to do research in science communication studies, or museological studies, or any other research area of relevance for the communicative practice. If this is the case, the position risks becoming a second rate academic job. But otherwise it is an excellent initiative. Now at least five London institutions with a strong academic basis are competing in the increasingly important medical history public outreach arena.
“Applications are invited for a new post of Outreach Historian at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL. The Centre, the world’s largest research institute dedicated to the History of Medicine, is part of University College London and is based in the Bloomsbury area of London, close to the British Library, the British Museum and other major centres of scholarship. Details of its work can be found on http://www.ucl.ac.uk/histmed/news/index.html.
The post is offered with effect from 1 September 2006 or at a date to be negotiated, and it is anticipated that the successful candidate will have postgraduate qualifications in History, relevant experience in communicating with the public and an understanding of marketing and experience of managing communications with professionals. The responsibilities of the post will include developing and managing projects which support the work of the Centre, working with members of the public to encourage them in investigating the history of medicine, working with journalists, curators, media producers and others and the coordination of these activities with colleagues engaged in similar roles within College, the Wellcome Trust and other groups of medical historians in the UK.
The post is offered as a full time post on Grade 8 of the University salaries scheme ( £ 31,525 to £37,642 plus London Allowance ( (Pay award pending).
Applications, in the form of a CV, accompanying letter of application and the names of 3 referees should be submitted to Alan Shiel by 26 June 2006. It is anticipated that interviews for the post will take place in early July 2006.
Harold J. Cook, Ph.D. FRCP (Hon.), Professor and Director, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London, 210 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE UK, , www.ucl.ac.uk/histmed, +44 (0)20 7879 8102″
(mail from Hal Cook)