Archives for posts with tag: #sheffvista

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 Editor, BioMed Central (part of SpringerNature)

Approximate salary range for your type of role: Editorial roles start ~£22k, increasing with promotions

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I obtained a PhD in yeast molecular biology, looking at DNA replication and gene silencing in yeast mitosis, and then did a postdoc looking at chromosome positioning in yeast meiosis. After three years of the postdoc, I didn’t have any results, so in some sense my reasons for leaving academia were negative – finding another postdoc with no publications wasn’t going to be easy; having spent three years with nothing to show for it was a bit soul-destroying; I realised if I was going to go down that route, at some stage I would have to consider becoming a PI, and I found it hard enough thinking of experiments for me to do without having to come up with experiments for other people to do as well.

But my choice of going into editing was a positive one – I had enjoyed writing up my PhD thesis, and had proofread friends’ theses and found I enjoyed that and was good at it too. I had a friend who worked at a journal, and it sounded like the kind of job that would be good for me. She let me know when a job came up at Genome Biology and I applied for and got it.

Genome Biology has professional editors, so the job is slightly different from at other journals which have academic editors – we have more hands-on experience with manuscripts. The bulk of the job is reading and assessing research manuscripts. If we decide to send for peer review, then we have to find relevant reviewers (this involves a lot of time on Pubmed), and once they have returned reports, we make a decision on the manuscript.

Although the job title is editor, there is no actual editing involved – I don’t sit in the office with a red pen, crossing out words or writing ‘stet’ in the margin. Also, people often expect it to be a writing job, but we do very little writing for external consumption. We occasionally write blog posts about interesting research we have published or other relevant topics, and we have a twitter account which we share responsibility for.

The best bit about the job is reading over a wide range of topics and being able to keep up to date in a fairly broad field. I read much more widely than I ever did as a researcher, although it does mean you have a shallow appreciation of a lot of things, rather than a very detailed knowledge of one topic. Another perk of the job is being able to go to two or three conferences a year.

Depending on the journal, it’s not that necessary to know a lot about a field before you start. Although my background was in molecular biology, so I could follow along with most manuscripts, I really didn’t know much about genomics. And everything I now know about bioinformatics I have picked up on the job. As I mentioned previously, for journals with academic editors, the in-house editors have much less direct interactions with manuscripts, and so you could be working on a journal covering a field very different from your background.

Most journals will take editors straight from a PhD with no formal editing experience. Any relevant experience at all will help your application – science blogging, freelance copyediting, conference organisation, even just having been involved in writing papers. You should be able to demonstrate a broad interest in science, so be prepared to discuss interesting papers you have read recently, particularly outside your own field.

In conclusion, editing is a great job if you want to move away from active research, but still want to keep up to date with developments in science, and you still want to use the knowledge and training you accrued during your academic career.

Where can researchers look for jobs like yours? Standard job websites like Nature Jobs. Also, publishers will have job adverts on their own websites, so check there. And recruitment agencies often carry editorial roles.

What professional/accrediting bodies, or qualifications are relevant to where you work? A PhD in a vaguely relevant subject is required for most editorial jobs. But it doesn’t have to be hugely relevant.

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 titles and companies: 

  1. Product Innovation Scientist, Mars
  2. Senior Product Design Scientist, Mars
  3. Programme Leader, Mars
  4. Development Manager, Britvic
  5. ‘Head of Science & Public Engagement’ at Oxford University’s Botanic Garden

Approximate salary range for your type of role: Ca. 55k on leaving Britvic

new _28100.jpgI completed my PhD in Plant Molecular Biology in 2009 at the University of Bristol. I absolutely loved working in research and I wanted to pursue it as a career. So much so, I devoted my heart and soul to my work and I won both a faculty and a national prize. However this commitment to my PhD was followed by two unsuccessful attempts to secure funding. At that time, I started to question whether this was in fact the career for me. So despite my passion for plants and biology, I started to look at opportunities in Academia and also in Industry.

I saw a job advertised in New Scientist in Research and Development (R&D), working for the American company Mars – the confectionary giant. I did my homework and learnt that the company was repeatedly listed as a Top 100 Employer across the board. My dad, whose career was in Advertising, told me that Mars was a blue-chip company that was very well regarded. So I completed (and passed) the online numerical tests and was invited to a telephone interview. The questions were fairly direct and it was difficult to tell over the phone if I had built a rapport with the interviewer. Two weeks later I was invited for a face-to-face interview and Assessment Centre. On arrival I was given an exam paper (of sorts) and told that I had two hours to prepare a business plan. Having never done anything like this before in my life I was rather sceptical about how I would perform. The panel challenged my analysis and my recommendations hard – there was certainly nowhere to hide! I now know that there were several competencies against which I was being assessed; for example how successfully I would stick to a decision once I had made it and how well I could cope with ambiguity. After a series of interviews I was offered the job, so I moved from Bristol to Leeds (where the office was based).

My role at Mars was initially in Product Design for the Pedigree and Whiskas (household pet food) brands. I spent much time overseas in a factory in Hungary commissioning new products and running trials. I was amazed (and sometimes a little scared!) at the level of responsibility I was given. I probably learnt more in that first year than I ever had before.

11000718_10100759869244672_1357603821274704278_n.jpgTwo years after my appointment I was promoted to a senior role, and a further three years on I was promoted again to Programme Leader and led a technical team. Each promotion involved a very gruelling series of interviews and assessments.  I spent lots of time travelling in these roles and experienced working in, for example, America, Germany and Lithuania. I also developed a whole suite of Manufacturing and FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) industry skills in for example Product Design, Process Engineering, Project Management, Regulatory Affairs and Marketing. In my last role at Mars I was looking after a significant portfolio of projects across several continents.

During my time at Mars, I still made time for interest in botany. For example I returned every year to University of Bristol to teach plant identification in Portugal. I compiled data from these trips to publish a field guide with Kew Publishing.

Five years after my appointment at Mars I decided to look for other opportunities. I applied for the role of Development Manager in Chemical Engineering for a company called Britvic, who manufacture household brand soft drinks including Robinsons and J2O. This required a move back down to the south. Whilst my background was not in Chemical Engineering (unlike the colleagues I worked with), and was therefore somewhat technically challenging for me, I was able to draw upon the transferable skills I had acquired at Mars. I led the ‘Liquid’ programme for the company’s multi-million investment project to build new factory lines across the UK, alongside a team of project engineers. There was also the opportunity to become a chartered Chemical Engineer in this role which is highly transferable in the industry.

After a serious operation in 2015 I did some soul-searching and decided to move back into the plant science arena because for me, it’s truly what I love most. This was a difficult decision (just like my first to move into industry in 2010!) and not one I undertook lightly.

IMG_3472.JPGA post at Oxford University arose which would be the perfect opportunity to combine my passion for plants and biology with the leadership skills I developed in industry. I am now in post as ‘Head of Science & Public Engagement’ at Oxford University’s Botanic Garden. I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to do what I love and to draw upon the skills I acquired in industry as well. Sometimes I experience a slight ‘culture shock’ or have people look at me quizzically when I use language not traditionally used in Universities or Academia that I picked up in Industry! However overall I feel immensely privileged to have worked across the Industry and Academic sectors. Having worked in an unusual variety of roles over the years, my advice to anyone would be not to worry about crossing sectors, or perceived divides, and to just get stuck in!

Where can researchers look for jobs like yours?

What professional/accrediting bodies, or qualifications are relevant to where you work? 

ICHEME (Institute of Chemical Engineers)

 

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: Policy and Projects Manager, BioIndustry Association @DrMartinTurner

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £35,000-45,000

Martin.jpgWhy do politicians make the decisions they do? Why did the previous Chancellor, George Osborne, freeze science spending between 2010 and 2015, and why has the current Chancellor, Philip Hammond, promised to increase it by 20% over the next four years, albeit with an emphasis on innovation over basic research?

I started my career in policy because I wanted to understand how decisions like these get made, and to potentially influence them myself. 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: Patent Attorney, Teva Pharmaceuticals

Detailed salary information for the UK market can be found here.

Moodie.jpgI enjoyed my time at Sheffield University whilst studying for my Biochemistry undergraduate degree and planning and performing experiments as part of my PhD. Towards the end of my PhD project I decided that I wanted to find a career that allowed me not only to keep up with the cutting edge of science, but also to broaden my business horizons. I found such a career as a patent attorney. 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 Services Librarian, University of Sheffield

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £25,000 – 30,000

@OpenAccessShef

Beth.jpgIn a world of fake news, and politicians trying to supress scientific information for their own agendas, I can’t think of any job I could be doing that would be more important than working to promote open access to research, which is what I do as a Research Services Librarian. Our department used to be split into open access librarians and data management librarians, but we’ve recently all taken up the same title to create a cohesive front in scholarly communications. 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: Volunteering & Participation Director, National Trust

@HelenTimbrell @nationaltrust

Company web page: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

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I decided to do a PhD some way into my career which until then had broadly covered learning, development and community volunteering. I did the PhD as a career development opportunity, but mostly because I had a genuine curiosity about the research area. I also wanted to do it as a personal achievement and to cross it off my bucket list. 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: National Fuel Quality Manager, Stobart Biomass Products Limited

image1.jpgAround 6 months before I finished my PhD, I knew that I wanted to do something different once I had finished. I wanted a faster pace of work, more defined targets with timescales, more structure to my work. I had also spent a long time at University and I just wanted to experience something else. I hadn’t had the best supervision experience towards the end of my PhD and I probably let this cloud my judgement more than I should have – I really thought “life would be greener on the other side”, I specifically remember thinking that all the machines in all the laboratories in industry wouldn’t need fixing the whole time! 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 post tags 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.

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Job title and company: Senior Performance Analyst, Department for Work & Pensions

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £30,000 – 40,000

Ed on LinkedIn. Ed on v i s t a mentoring.

My early career was pretty uninteresting as academic backgrounds go, moving directly from my degree in Microbiology, to a PhD, to two post-doc contracts. I did relatively well academically but I stayed at The University of Sheffield for my whole career, only moving departments for my last contract. Obviously going against the pressure to move around constantly in your work. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story. These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

IMG_0368.jpg Job title and company: COST Action Administrator & Discovery Medicine North (DiMeN) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) Manager, The University of Sheffield

Salary range for this type of role: University Grades 6-7, e.g. £25,298 – 38,183

I finished my PhD in Plant Biology in 2014 and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do next, should I try and stay in research (even though I hadn’t really enjoyed my PhD) or should I try and do something different (but what different things did I want to do, what different thing could I even do?). Read the rest of this entry »

This is the first in a new series for the Think Ahead blog — check back each Friday for a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story. They accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

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Job title and company: Senior Teaching Technician, The University of Sheffield

Salary range: Grade 6 £25,298 – £32,004

@michaeltrikic

Read the rest of this entry »