Archives for category: v i s t a profile

Job title and company: Medical Writer/ Life Science Research Analyst at SIRIUS Market Access@siriusmaccess

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £20,000 – £30,000

S DAY2 289804.jpg I received a biology degree from Humboldt University in 2007 and a PhD in molecular medicine in 2012. As I had lived in Berlin all my life, I decided to go abroad and take on a postdoctoral position at the University of Sheffield (Department of Neuroscience) to examine mitochondrial transport in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. However, during that time, it became clear that an academic career wasn’t going to be for me. The reasons for wanting to leave academia were very similar to those of other ‘leavers’ who I talked to at the time: even though I loved science, I just didn’t feel passionate enough to put up with the fact that my work-life balance was way off, and that I was facing a career that involved constant struggling for funding or moving from one short-term contract to the next. About two-thirds into my contract, I started looking for opportunities outside of academia: I attended career seminars, engaged in science outreach and blog writing activities, and signed up for the University’s mentoring programme, all of which helped me to get an idea of the general possibilities, and of what I did and didn’t want to do.

I am now a medical writer at SIRIUS Market Access in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and have not regretted the transition once. In the beginning, the move away from what I had known and done for so long felt difficult and a bit overwhelming: I had to learn about health economic concepts, terminology, and processes in a very short space of time. However, after about six months of working on a wide range of projects and receiving support from my line and senior management, I felt confident that I had a good understanding of what I was doing, and that I was delivering decent work.

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The company works with global pharma companies, facilitating the communication of the benefits of their new drugs. We develop market access and pricing strategies, produce value propositions and value dossiers, help with evidence generation (e.g. systematic and targeted evidence reviews, as well as clinical trials packages), design health economic models, and give scientific advice. To put this more simply, we analyse large data sets, extracting key learnings and strategic insights in order to aid our clients with their market access and reimbursement activities. Most of what we do is secondary research, but we also conduct interviews with decision-makers and clinicians, thereby generating primary evidence.

Realistically, we’re talking about a desk job with extensive usage of Microsoft Office software, but then I don’t think this description does the job justice. I really enjoy the variety of projects and disease areas I get to work on, and I get a much greater sense of achievement than I used to get from lab work. A typical month is shown below but as activities and responsibilities shift, this schedule is fluid, and some months involve more travelling than others.

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I believe that doing a PhD (and in my case also doing a postdoc) has proven beneficial to the job that I’m doing now, as I have gained numerous useful skills through these positions. Sure enough, some of the transferable skills that SIRIUS look out for in potential candidates include:

  • Experience of sourcing and working with published literature, as well as generating evidence.
  • Ability to use referencing software.
  • Ability to analyse and synthesise a large evidence base, and draw conclusions post analysis.
  • Ability to stay motivated and on track in the face of a large project.
  • Curiosity and not being intimidated by new scientific concepts.
  • Capability to work independently with minimal supervision.

As I’ve said before, I’ve not regretted changing careers once – but do I get what I was hoping for? There is currently a considerable need for medical writers, and several writing hubs have evolved in London, the larger Manchester area, and Oxford. Therefore, there are not only multiple options to choose from, but these options also offer long-term job stability as well as personal and career development opportunities. While an initial pay-cut is unavoidable, especially when moving from a post-doc position, salaries will soon level and (at least in my experience) the overall job satisfaction will outweigh this temporary disadvantage.

Finally, my career tip would be to not be afraid of or feel stigmatised for wanting to leave academia. A multitude of alternative careers has become available, so all you need to do now is to get talking to people and find out about the skills you might want to acquire (get some writing experience, if you’re thinking of becoming a medical writer!), and to try different things so as to explore what you might or mightn’t like to do instead of academic research.

Where can researchers look for jobs like yours? Indeed.co.uk, any of the pharma recruitment agencies (e.g. Carrot Pharma), or pharma company web pages.

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title: Independent Scientific Writing Consultant

Preffered main picture.jpgWhat I do: Although I refer to myself as a ‘scientific writing consultant’, this is one of those titles that leaves plenty of room for interpretation and individual definition. You are not likely to find a standard job description for a writing consultant anywhere, that’s for sure. Someone once said that one of my workshops had only been promoted as a Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Researcher Development Manager, Faculty of Science, University of Sheffield.

San 1.jpegMy professional life started with a PhD in Parasitology hosted in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (Maryland, USA). Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Business Development Director at Adelphi Communications*.

adelphi13916-131.jpgI completed my PhD in 2008, and then took a 2-year post-doc position in the Institute for Cancer Studies. I had always planned to leave academia and work in industry, but 2008 was a bad year for industry jobs (even though I had 3 years of industry experience). And the post-doc project I came across was really interesting, so I persevered with academia. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job Title and Company: Senior Funding Proposal Writer, Abbey Tax and Consultancy Services

Salary Range: £21,000-£40,000

Matthew-Hicks.jpgI did my Biochemistry undergraduate degree at Liverpool, intercalating with a year in Lonza’s biotechnology research department in the upper Rhone valley, Switzerland. I then pursued a PhD in bacterial protein transport, at the John Innes Centre, Norwich. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

@musicedsolution @DrLizStafford

Job title and company: Director, Music Education Solutions® Limited

Approximate salary range for your type of role: Ha! When you own the company, anything from £0 to £onehundredtrillion!

E Stafford.jpgI never meant to do a PhD. I arrived at Sheffield for an MMus interview, thinking I would use that to pass the time while my voice matured enough for me to gain a place at music college. At interview I was offered a full scholarship if I applied for an MPhil leading to PhD rather than the MMus, and that was that! Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Waste Package Specifications and Guidance Manager for Radioactive Waste Management Limited.

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £35-45k

DSC_0476_12.JPGAfter finishing my PhD I found myself in the same situation that many others do.  Feeling on top of the world, unstoppable and highly employable but my first job, the only job I could get, was waiting on tables at corporate events.   This is where I bumped into a friend from hockey whose table I was waiting on, “what are you doing working here?” he said, knowing full well I’d just got my PhD. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Research Development Manager (Policy and Performance), Sheffield Hallam University

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £39,000-49,000 (lecturer equivalent on the national university pay spine)

fildes.pngI finished my PhD in History in spring 2009. Towards the end of it, my focus was really just on finishing, not what was next. A week or so after I submitted, I started looking for jobs. I was never really interested in an academic career – I enjoyed my PhD but had no vocation for teaching and was aware of the ultra-competitive and precarious routes into research in my subject area. I therefore applied for quite a range of jobs – sounding interesting and my broad salary expectations were my only criteria. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Senior Research Scientist, Cell Assay Development, AstraZeneca

Profile pic.jpgI did my Undergrad in Biology with a year in Industry. Initially I didn’t want to do a placement in Industry so did my year at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew working on the genetics of a particular plant genus. Following my final year undergrad, I did not feel that I wanted to do a PhD, so I looked around at what types of careers I could do and got excited about forensic science (FYI I have never watched CSI!). Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Principal Scientist, Cobra Biologics Ltd

FullSizeRender.jpgI work as a Principal R&D Scientist at Cobra Biologics, a contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) based in Keele, Staffordshire. I was hired as a senior Scientist in October 2016 after 6 years of postdoctoral research, so I still feel relatively new to the industry world with plenty of room to learn. Read the rest of this entry »