12 Aug Stepping Out Of The Lab And Into PR
Growing up in the city home to Life, a science village (and now vaccination centre) where scientists, clinicians, educators and business people work to promote the advancement of life sciences, meant exploring and discovering science from a young age, and a growing desire to be part of the next generation of STEM professionals.
Fast forward 18 years (after numerous work experience placements within the NHS) and I was embarking on student life at the University of Sheffield, ready to carve out my own career at the lab bench and deliver (what I hoped would be) ground-breaking research into regenerative medicine and genetics, which would one day make international headlines, and benefit hundreds of thousands of people.
Four years later, I was coming to the end of my Master’s and volunteer stint with the Clinical Trials team at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and the reality was…I couldn’t wait to hang up my lab coat. My greatest finding through this time had not been the cure for a rare genetic disease that I had once hoped for, but in fact the realisation that I didn’t enjoy the lab environment.
Actually, my favourite aspects of the role were drafting and editing manuscripts, slide decks and posters, delivering oral presentations, conducting literature searches, and explaining concepts to scientists and lay audiences *cue the lightbulb moment*. This is when I started to explore careers in PR and media relations. If I wasn’t going to make the headlines myself, then maybe I could help others get there and highlight the innovative research happening in the UK that I had been introduced to at such a young age?
In 2018, I made the rather smooth transition into agency life, specialising in life science and healthcare PR. Looking back, many of the skills I now use in my role as Account Manager were already well honed before joining OVID Health. The transferrable skills gained from years of planning experiments, analysing data, problem-solving and presenting complex ideas have certainly come in handy, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to become familiar with new scientific topics quickly!
Working in this industry has been a great way to stay in the scientific field and increase my experience and knowledge not only of the pharmaceutical sector, but also the work of start-ups, patient organisations and the NHS, whilst removing the aspects I enjoyed less (all that time I spent pipetting!).
The variety of work available ensures I never get bored, being able to dip in and out of multiple therapy areas, which I recognise is not something that a lot of people get to experience when working in research. I get to work with journalists at scientific publications that I’ve been reading for years, as well as national outlets that we see and hear every day. It’s a career that enables me to fulfil my passion for writing, whilst staying both scientific and creative, and more recently has enabled me to expand my career horizons to areas including public affairs, investor relations and patient advocacy.
Today, the most rewarding part of my job is communicating scientific knowledge to the public in a way that can positively affect their health and well-being. It’s been an incredibly exciting journey so far and I can’t wait for what’s to come.