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Listen to employers with a PhD talk about jobs they do in the Health Sector

uczjvwa14 November 2016

panel discussion‘UK and Global Health Sector’ Employer Forum for PhDs and Researchers open for booking

5:30pm – 7:30pm on 1st December 2016

The aim of this event is to help PhD and other research students with their career planning by providing an opportunity to hear from and network with employers from the health sector who are PhD holders themselves. The panel of speakers will give tips on how research students can use their qualifications and experiences to enter this field as well as information about their sector.

Panel of speakers will be:

Dr Rick Cousins – Research Director, RD Alternative Discovery & Development, GSK (GlaxoSmithKline)

Dr Natalia Barkalina, Principal Medical Writer, imc Integrated Medhealth Communication (Medical health consultancy)

Dr Amina Udechuku, Senior Research Consultant, Mapi Group (Health research consultancy)

Dr Julie George, Public Health Consultant, Surrey County Council & Honorary Research Associate, Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, UCL

Dr Om Prasad Gautam, Technical Support Manager for Hygiene, WaterAid UK (International charity)

Dr Jonathan Best – Head of Insight and Analysis, Wellcome Trust (Medical research charity)

 

To find out more please go to: http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=2715

Research Students book here

Research Staff book here

Bookings open for Life Science Sector Employer Fair for UCL Researchers

uczjvwa11 April 2016

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Life Science Sector: Employer Fair and one-to-one sessions for PhDs and Researchers

27th April 2016 from 11:00 to 16:00

The aim of this event is to help PhD and other research students with their career planning by providing an opportunity to meet employers from the Life Science sector.

The event will begin with an intimate fair which will have a few select organisations. Many of the employers present will be PhD holders themselves. The fair will be followed by one-to-one sessions that will allow you to discuss any questions you might have in further detail with a specific employer on a one on one basis.

Companies attending:

DDB Remedy

Cambridge Healthcare Research

Coulter Partners

Ernst & Young (EY)

Hays

Immunocore

JA Kemp

L.E.K. Consulting

Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS)

National Institute for Biological Standards and Control(NIBSC)

To find out more information about the companies attending go to:http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=2234

Research Students book here

Research Staff book here

Training to be an NHS Bioinformatician

uczjsdd9 February 2016

Rebecca HainesWith 2016’s NHS Scientist Training Programme application deadline fast approaching (this Friday), this is the last in our recent series of interviews with current trainees, with and without academic research backgrounds.

Dr Rebecca Haines studied for her PhD at UCL’s Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology and is now a second-year NHS clinical scientist trainee in Bioinformatics, specialising in Genomics, based in Nottingham. Rebecca spoke to UCL Careers about her career path and her top tips for anyone wanting to get into NHS healthcare science.

Tell us a bit about your background

After my PhD I worked in Singapore as a post-doc in the Institute for Medical Biology. Although my background is academic, in both my PhD and post-doc I was investigating the molecular basis for inherited disease. Now I’ve moved to the clinical side, using the results of past and present academic research to bring benefits direct to patients. My current role is to develop bioinformatics within Nottingham’s regional genetics department, advising on the best tools to analyse our data.

What does a normal working day look like for you?

There isn’t really a typical day, it’s a big mix of carrying out service work, and of professional and academic learning. The service work is really where you learn to do the job of a clinical scientist. This is the day-to-day testing of patients, analysing the results, and assisting in the writing of those results into reports that go to patients’ consultants. These results may help consultants to decide upon the next stage of treatment for the patient. Another part of the training involves taking a part-time Masters degree, so my days can involve reading and writing for that, and even revising for exams. Another part of ‘learning the job’ involves completing ‘competencies’. This may involve completing practical tasks, or researching a topic and writing about it, and is more like professional learning.

What are the best things about your role?

I love that I can see the impact my work has on patients. During my PhD and post-doc I was really interested in understanding the molecular basis of disease so that new treatments could be developed. But that’s a long process so my work was far removed from patients. Now the results I give have a direct impact on how a patient is treated, and genetics results can also have a wider impact on their family. It’s rewarding to know my work helps provide better clinical care for real people.

The other great thing is the opportunity to bring new innovation into the NHS from research. It’s in the NHS constitution that the NHS should be at the absolute forefront of science, and as a healthcare scientist trainee you definitely are. I spend a lot of my time reading primary research and using that to inform the work I do every day in the lab, and to develop new tests and techniques that can lead to improvements in our work.

What are the downsides?

Well I’m thinking about this specifically in terms of the three years of scientist training, not about the job of a clinical scientist once you’re trained. The difficulty for me personally was going from an independent, confident, relatively senior post-doc to a trainee. As an STP trainee, particularly in the first 1 to 2 years of training, you’re totally dependent on colleagues around you for your training. I can’t write a report without it being checked by somebody senior, I can’t make a decision about an assay to do until I get an ok from somebody senior. Of course that’s a reflection of the seriousness of our work, the impact it can have on people’s lives, which is also what I like about the job. But coming from the freedom of academia, the loss of autonomy has been the biggest challenge for me.

It’s also been difficult studying again. Doing a Masters degree means assignments and exams, things I thought I’d left behind a long time ago. It’s surprisingly hard to get back into the swing of that style of working when you haven’t done it for a while. And I miss some of the lab work; I do very little actual bench work now, most of this is carried out by technologists, while the clinical scientists work on the interpretation of the results. I only miss it a bit, but I know that some people miss it much more.

What’s the career progression like?

It’s changing slowly. If you’re in the life sciences there’s the option to take exams to enter the Royal College of Pathologists. These can develop your knowledge and allow you to move up the career ladder. But there’s also now the HSST – the Higher Specialist Scientist Training – which involves workplace training and assessments, a bit like the STP, and can train you to consultant level. In our department it’s the consultant-level scientists who do the most complex work. The HSST is a five-year training programme and is completely work-based. If you weren’t keen on getting to consultant level, there are other ways you could develop, such as taking on responsibility for training and managing other staff, or for improving quality of the department’s work.

What are your tips for researchers wanting to get into the STP?

The top thing I always say to people is “visit a department”. Use contacts, use anything you can, just make sure you visit departments. The first time I applied was to the Genetics STP. I was in Singapore at the time and didn’t even get an interview. I then applied for the Genomics Bioinformatics stream. I had been in the country for a while and I’d visited lots of labs and talked to as many people as I could. Understanding the work of the department is so important, it really comes across in your application.

And perhaps a bit of a dull tip, but you should get familiar with the NHS constitution. The NHS is using values-based recruitment, meaning you not only have to show that you’re capable of doing the job, but you have to demonstrate that you believe in the values of the NHS and are prepared to uphold them.

The third thing I would advise is to refresh some of your basic science knowledge; things you think you know but you haven’t really thought about for a few years. So in my field it might be inheritance patterns for genetic diseases. That’s the kind of thing covered in your first year at university, but in an interview you may be competing against people who’ve come straight from their undergraduate degree, so it’s much fresher in their minds.

A PhD is not essential for getting an STP position, but we understand that many trainees do nevertheless have a PhD. What skills developed during your time in academia do you use in your current role?

The biggest one is organisation. As a PhD and post-doc you have to manage your own time and projects, so you learn to work hard and plan your own schedule. The STP is work-based training and work-based competency completion, alongside a part-time Masters degree. In addition you’re also often carrying out other work for the service you’re training in, and there are opportunities to network and go to national healthcare scientist meetings. So there’s a lot going on – it’s not a 9 to 5 job – and you have to be able to balance the different demands on your time effectively.

The scientific skills picked up from a PhD are obviously very useful too. Having experience in the lab and of reading scientific papers means you can hit the ground running. I also think the maturity that comes with being that bit older is helpful. The decisions made in my department profoundly effect people’s lives, you need to have some maturity to deal with that.

Listen to representatives with PhDs talk about working in the Health sector

uczjvwa11 January 2016

Booking now open for the ‘UK and Global Health Sector : Employer Forum for PhDs and Researchers’ on Thursday 11th February 2015 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

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The aim of this event is to help PhD and other research students with their career planning by providing an opportunity to question, to hear from and network with employers that come from a variety of roles within the health sector, who are PhD holders themselves. The panel of speakers will give tips on how research students can use their qualifications and experiences to enter this field as well as information about their sector.

Panel of speakers will be:

Dr Katrina de Saram – Associate Director, AXON

Dr Claire Knight – Health Information Manager, Cancer Research UK

Speaker to be confirmed – GSK (GlaxoSmithKline)

Dr Michael Kirwan – Scientific Team Lead, integrated medhealth communication (imc)

Dr Gavin Kenny – Account Manager, Medical Education team, Ogilvy Healthworld UK

To find out more about the programme please go to: http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=2715

Research students book a place here

Research staff book a place here

Find out about the specialist careers support provided by UCL Careers for researchers here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/specialistsupport/researchers

Our chat with a Senior Life Sciences Editor at Thomson Reuters

uczjsdd15 October 2015

Jimmy HoDr Jimmy Ho gained a PhD from UCL in Biological Chemistry and is now a Senior Science Editor at Thomson Reuters, a provider of intellectual information. We spoke to him about his career and top tips for PhDs looking to move out of academia.

How did you move from your PhD to your current role?

It was towards the end of my PhD when I felt that a career as a research chemist was not for me, but I wanted to continue to utilise the skills I’d obtained. I applied for a number of science jobs, and was offered a job as a science editor at Thomson Reuters.

What does a normal working day look like for you?

My daily work routine typically entails the extraction, assimilation and content-integrity management of Life Science data from journals, patents and conferences. The data is subsequently updated in our multiple online databases, which are subscribed to by customers all around the world in both the pharmaceutical industry and academic institutes to aid them with their research. Other tasks will include assisting clients (who could be from industry or academia), supporting colleagues with various projects and ad hoc tasks.

Which skills gained from your PhD are useful to you now?

A PhD is not a prerequisite for my role, however I would say it is beneficial in the long run if you intend to make a career in Science or Healthcare. Most of my colleagues have either got a PhD or a Masters degree. The skills that I acquired from my PhD have come in very useful, particularly when it comes to analysing data, planning projects, problem-solving or simply coming up with innovative ideas for the business.

What are the best things about your role?

The best things are having the chance to learn different skills, from customer relationship management to leading and managing small departmental projects; as well as getting to participate in some international travel to conferences. On top of that, I feel the work I do is making a contribution towards science and medicine, and bettering society.

There is also a good work-life balance since I work on a flexi-time system, and occasionally I have the option to work from home.

What are the down sides?

As with most companies nowadays, there are a lot of organisational changes which take place every so often, and that can lead to a sense of insecurity. Also, job progression is quite static at the moment. The work I do is routinely-formatted, which can be a good thing for some people, however at times it can feel like the role might lack challenge and you can start to feel complacent.

The challenge I face now is to decide which direction I want to take my career, and whether I wish to advance in my role as a Science Editor, or to look for alternative positions within Thomson Reuters where I can remain with the company and transfer my skills and experience.

Where do you see yourself going from here?

Progression upwards is always possible however it can feel a little stagnant at times since there are not many openings at a senior level. But the advantage of working for a large firm like Thomson Reuters is you also have the option of applying for internal roles in different departments or business sectors. Otherwise if roles don’t come up internally then people may have to move to other companies when roles arise.

What tips would you give our PhD students and early-career researchers wanting to get into your line of work?

The competition nowadays is fierce, so with any industry I would strongly suggest that people research the area they wish to enter, so they know what they’re getting themselves into, and more importantly try to get some work experience through an internship. To enhance a CV, I’d recommend taking on extracurricular responsibilities, networking and making good connections is always a plus too. When invited to an interview, people should prepare well beforehand; have knowledge about the industry and the prospective employer. Engage with the interview positively and confidently; and always take it as an experience to learn from – regardless of the final outcome.

Bookings open for UK and Global Health Sector Employer Forum

uczjvwa4 February 2015

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UK and Global Health Sector: Employer Forum for PhDs and Researchers

26th February 2015 – 5:30pm – 7:30pm

The aim of this event is to help PhD students and other researchers with their career planning by providing an opportunity to question, to hear from and network with employers that come from a variety of roles within the health sector, who are PhD holders themselves. The panel of speakers will give tips on how research students can use their qualifications and experiences to enter this field as well as information about their sector.

Panel of speakers will be:

Dr Barbara Byth – Director of Client Service, AXON Communications

Dr Claire Knight – Health Information Manager, Cancer Research UK

(Speaker to be confirmed), GlaxoSmithKline

Dr Charlotte Simpson – Junior Scientific Projects Manager, IMC Healthcare Communication

Dr Rachael Addicott – Senior Research Fellow, The King’s Fund

Dr Emily Richardson – Senior Portfolio Developer, Wellcome Trust

To find out more and to read the speakers’ biographies please go to: http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=2234

Research Students book here

Research Staff book here