UCL Careers


Transcript: Careers in Data Science and the Lab

Have you enjoyed your time in the lab during your course? Or perhaps it's working with the huge amounts of data produced by lab and clinical studies that's caught your interest? This virtual panel event offers tips on how to further these experiences in the workplace. You'll hear from speakers working in laboratory and data science roles across a range of organisations, including GSK, IQVIA, Parexel, and the NHS.  


people, programme, lab, cv, role, job, gsk, experience, studied, data, nhs, biobank, stp, work life balance, patient, clinical, research, phd, work


Jo Budd, Lee Pike, Kade Flowers, Jessica Santivanez, Tom Dowe, Eleanor Ralphs, Jade Nguyen.

Jo Budd  00:06
Hello there, everyone and welcome to the UCL Careers podcast. My name is Joe Budd, and I'm a Careers Consultant here at UCL Careers. In this episode, you'll hear from speakers working in laboratory and data science roles across a range of organisations, including GSK, IQVIA, parallax and the NHS. The speakers will offer insights into their day to day work, tips for those students who want to follow a similar pathway, and ways that you can carry the technical elements of your study into your career. So let's get into it.

Lee Pike  00:40
We've got Tom from the King's College and King's College Hospital NHS Trust. We've got Kade from St. George's Hospital. We've got Jade from public Excel. hope I pronounced that correctly. Elena from IQVIA, and Jessica from j s, k GSK. Sorry. And in terms of data science and labs, Tom and Kade are more related to the lab side of things. And Jade, Elena and Jessica are more related to the science data science side of things. So in terms of introductions, what I'm going to do is I'm going to ask each person just to give a brief introduction to themselves, the organisation, what it does, what their role is, what it involves. So either data science or lab or somewhere in between, what their career path has been, what they studied, and how they got from where they were to where they are today. That's a rough idea of what I'd like each one to talk about. So taking in no particular order. I'll start as I see them on my screen, which might be different to your screen. So maybe please just start with Kade, please.

Kade Flowers  02:04
So hello, everyone. My name is Kade. I'm currently a trainee clinical scientist at St. George's Hospital on doing the scientist training programmes specifically in biochemistry. So some of you may know that there's lots of different specialisms, but I'm currently doing biochemistry. So I guess, I'll start with what the job is, essentially. So it's my job. And well, particularly when I actually become qualified and can work unsupervised, it's working in the lab in NHS laboratories, who offer testing services, for biochemistry analysis, and that so if you go to a GP, for example, you have your bloods taken and they want to assess your how well your livers functioning, how well your kidney's functioning, your blood comes to us. And it's our job to do the analysis and to make sure that analysis is correct. A big, big part of my job is actually talking a lot with clinicians, including doctors and nurses and advising them on the best tests to use to help get to help find a diagnosis and to monitor any pre-existing conditions. So in biochemistry, specifically, we have thousands and thousands of tests. And as amazing as doctors and nurses are, there's too many tests for them to kind of understand exactly when to use each one and how to interpret all of the results. It's really difficult. It's too much for, for them to know how to do everything. So that's where we come in as clinical scientists, it's our job to help essentially navigate the clinicians through the very complicated world of laboratory testing and results, interpretation. And another big part of our job. So as a clinical scientist, I'm involved in developing new tests. So if we have a good idea on what we can bring into the lab to help patients, it's our job to do that. And to bring it in and to make sure that the test works. And also research. So it's not I get this question a lot actually, is do you do research all day? And the answer is not all day. It's something I do enjoy doing on the side, but it is something that we are expected to do if we have the time to do it as well, which is always a positive thing. So I guess I'll touch on. So just a little bit about the organisation, I won't spend too much on this, we will know what hospital is you go when you're sick. And that's also where they send the blood samples to. So our so my laboratory is located in St. George's Hospital. And that's where I work. And it's one of many hospitals around the country NHS based as well. So if you want to know more about that, specifically, there's tonnes and tonnes of information so I won't focus too much on that. I think the organisation I don't want to take up all the time. And so I guess I'll talk a little bit just about my career path specifically and how I am where I am today. So I actually did a Biomedical Science degree that was IBMs accredited. And I did a placement year in my third year of my biomedical science degree where I worked in an NHS laboratory as a trainee biomedical scientist. And it was during that time, I was able to complete the IBMs registration portfolio to become a qualified biomedical scientist. And I use that experience to help me get onto the scientist training programme to become a clinical scientist and the scientist training programme, it's a three year programme where they fully fund your masters and you get paid to do it at the same time. So it is a very good programme. I feel very, very spoiled and lucky, I think to be on it. So that's kind of what I did. Many people in my course didn't do didn't have any previous laboratory experience, but you do have to have a degree. It's a graduate scheme besides this training programme. And yeah, I think that's pretty much it. Have I missed anything?

Lee Pike  06:03
No, that's pretty, pretty good. Yeah. Thank you Kade. I guess it makes sense to ask Tom next, as you're also lab based.

Tom Dowe  06:16
Hi, everybody. So my name is Tom, I work for King's College Hospital. And for King's College London University, I manage the adult and paediatric liver biobanks at King's College Hospital. Basically, what we do is we recruit adult and paediatric donors that come through the liver service. We recruit them to donate clinical data, blood samples, and excess material from procedures they might have such as biopsies or surgery, things like that. We collect the material and data, anonymize it, store it, and then distribute it to researchers who are looking into treatments, causes, methods of diagnosis, etc. and want to use our samples. A huge part of what I do at the moment, is really based around the governance side of things. Obviously, you're working with human tissue samples there's a lot of legislation and laws surrounding the use and storage of that material. And I also cover that sort of the lab duties of my my lab team who are responsible for collecting the material, processing and storing it in a manner for our researchers. In terms of career paths, my background is actually in ecology. I have a degree in marine biology, and a master's degree in ecology. And when I completed my master's degree, I went back home. And they weren't many marine biology jobs in the middle of Essex. And so I started applying for sort of just as many lab jobs as I could. We're quite close to London, so lots of universities, etc. and 10 years ago, I just was fortunate enough to get a entry level job in a matter of oncology biobank at Queen Mary University. So essentially, at the bottom of the ladder, where I was responsible for actually recruiting the donors and collecting samples, and then over the last 10 years, I've just moved up through the levels within the biobank, and managing too. That's it really.

Lee Pike  08:48
Okay, thanks, Tom. And, Jessica, do you wanna go next?

Jessica Santivanez  08:55
Sure. So Hi, everyone. I'm Jess and I work at GSK. So you might know, but GSK is one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies out there. I think we employ around 9000 employees across maybe over 150 countries. And they're IML scientific analytics and visualisation experts, which is a bit of a mouthful. But essentially, I am in a data science world. I deliver agile data solutions to r&d costumers, so we would partner with different areas of r&d and depending on their needs, we would develop a solution. So I am in charge of assessing what is the need and the problem they're trying to solve, whether it's feasible, whether it brings value, what are the risks involved, where the timelines etc. But at the same time, I have in my past, I've also been a senior scientist at GSK. So I was also based on the bench, and therefore I have this unique both perspectives and I can act as a translator between the bench scientist and the data scientist. So that yeah, we're all speaking the same language. So my role involves a lot of stakeholder management, a lot of communicating effectively, and to different audiences, which I really enjoy. How I got here? Well, I always knew I wanted to be a research scientist, I love science. So I came to UK to study biomedical sciences. And then I stayed on, I completed a Master's, then went on to do PhDs or more traditional academic route. But midway through my PhD, I realised that I wanted to have a bigger impact to be able to work on something more practical and not so focused on perhaps a specific protein in a specific disease. And that's why I moved to to pharma, on how I got there was I think every every step of my career, I've been very intentional. So assessing different options, but when I pick one, just, you know, going for it 100%. And I'm sure I'll get into this later. But you know, getting into industry wasn't the easiest step. And I think also, depending on when you transition from an academic to an industry role he can he can present its own advantages and disadvantages. So, I'm happy to share that. And but yes, I think that would be all.

Lee Pike  11:17
Lovely. Thank you. And I call you, Jess from now on? Yes. Thank you. Okay, no problem. Eleanor.

Eleanor Ralphs  11:25
So I look for a company called IQVIA, which, if we were there in person, now, that would just be around the corner. So our London office is based in Kings Cross. So IQVIA is a CRA multinational CRA. And it's kind of tagline is about human data science. And the company has many offerings and like different touch points of the healthcare ecosystem, but the area I'm involved with is more the data side. So we have colleagues working on clinical trials, whereas I'm the other side and real world evidence, so we would be using datasets like from the biobank, from hospitals, from GPs from registries, and then we'd be using that data to do typically would be doing retrospective cohort studies. And this, these studies would be commissioned by a client, who often pharmaceutical companies, or sometimes we, do projects back to the NHS. And these projects would be looking at mainly treatment pathways, or we'll be doing survival analysis, or some sort of regression modelling to look at the association of certain factors with an outcome. Or it could be a just a descriptive study looking at which patients are diagnosed with this and what happens to them. And so, my role day to day varies, but we kind of had like this project delivery process. So it starts with the protocol where we think about the study design, and if there's any bias we're going to be introducing. And then we move on to this to the school nurses plan, we think about what methods would be most suitable. And things like how well certain variables are captured in the real world data. And then I'd also be doing the programming. So this would include the data management, data analysis, and then outputting, this and then I would be working with like another epidemiologist to interpret the results. And then this is presented back to the client and to kind of an advisory specialists that kind of help us throughout the project. And then this often leads to publications if the results are kind of of interest. In terms of my career path, I studied biology at Bristol and I realised that I really liked the more quantitative human disease side of things. So I went and studied a master's in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. And I then straight after finishing that, decided to do an internship at IQVIA. And that was two and a half years ago, and I'm still there today. But I will say, during my undergrad I kind of used my summers to figure out where I wanted to go. So one summer I was out being a field researcher in Greece. Another summer. I was working in a microbiology lab and my last summer I was I got a bioinformatics placement at a pharmaceutical company. And it kind of that, that experience. I'm really glad I did that, because I could kind of dip my toes in working outside the lab and then in office. I think that's everything, those points covered it I believe. Yep. Lovely.

Lee Pike  15:31
Thank you very much Eleanor. Jade, Thanks for your patience by far not the least of your interaction.

Jade Nguyen  15:39
Um, yeah, so Hi everyone, I'm Jade and I studied biomedical science. And then I did a master's degree at the UCLA School of Pharmacy. And I studied drug discovery and pharmaceutical management. So since my undergrad, I always knew I would want to go into pharmaceuticals. So currently, I'm working at Poulsen International, which is also a zero, which means a contract Research Organisation. And it's a multinational company, we are present in 80, more than 80 countries with at least 20,000 employees. And I am basically a clinical research associate. And what we do is we are working with several pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies, and to support them in their clinical development of their drugs. And me as a clinical research associate, I'm overseeing a lot of studies across the UK, and Ireland. And basically, I work with doctors and nurses, and data managers and people in the lab to make sure that all the clinical trials are running according to the protocol. And according to a GCP, which is good clinical practice. And basically, we ensure that all the data that's collected during the trial is indeed valid. Everything that so all the data that's collected is present in the source documents, which can be medical records, for example. And then our primary focus is that the patients are represented throughout the whole trial, that safety is not jeopardised. And basically, during the trials, we also collect, but also record adverse events that later on goes into the label of the drugs. And we mainly work on phase two and three trials. And I think that working in a CRO is very exciting, because we have the opportunity to work on many projects, focusing on different therapeutic areas. So me, I really enjoy science and the fact that I can work on projects that matter. And I can constantly learn about different therapeutic areas, I think that's great. And currently I'm working on for example, epilepsy studies, and oncology, and arthritis studies. So there are a lot of therapeutic areas to focus on. And how I get there. Basically, after my master's I, I applied for power XL, and I do the training programme for like a year. And I was trained to be a clinical research associate and currently overseeing many studies independently. And my job requires a lot of travelling once or twice or three times a week, as we need to visit different hospitals, which can be challenging sometimes, but very exciting at the same time. Yeah, I think that's pretty much it.

Lee Pike  18:32
Lovely. Thanks, Jade. We've got quite a few questions in which is great to see. Just keep asking if you if you want to. And I'll ask them in the order they've appeared. So the one that seems to be the most popular moment is what qualifications are required for data scientists. And do we need any experience? Who wants to start that one?

Eleanor Ralphs  18:59
 I can. 

Lee Pike  19:00
Okay, thanks, Eleanor.

Eleanor Ralphs  19:02
And qualifications. Say, say if you were to get a job in my team I work in you'd need a background in public health, epidemiology, medical statistics. You know, health data science, that kind of side of things, but yeah in terms of qualifications, I think some people think you need a PhD to go into it. So I, myself and about probably a third of our team will have master's and then but everyone else has a PhD says it's not necessary. Because sometimes you can find you can work number of years in industry, which then could equate to the experience you've gained from a PhD. Think that's how some people view it. Answer the question.

Lee Pike  20:05
Okay, yeah, who wants to go next?

Jessica Santivanez  20:10
So there are many routes to get into a data science or data science related job. So for example, in my case, I don't have a background in data science. But through the role and working a lot with data scientists, I've learned a lot about different programming languages and different models that one can develop for different applications. So I think there's an aspect, as Eleanor mentioned, of just learning in the job. And that will equate to not necessarily, you know, meeting those qualifications. But for example, in my team, we're divided in a line that it's the delivery where I sit, and then the data science. So these are the, you know, the more hardcore data scientists. And they do have a background in either by informatics or computational science. Maybe not necessarily associated with life sciences before, but then you know, went to pharma and focused on that. And, again, it's varied. So we have people with PhDs, we have people with Master's, but there's also a few schemes in GSK. So there is a new data science graduate scheme. There are apprenticeships. And also we have industrial placement students that you know, so we have the whole spectrum of experience in data science and qualification. So I wouldn't say that you, you should feel limited by what you have. But definitely investigate whether that is something that you want to focus more on 100% of your role, or if it's like me, just requires a level of understanding and and, yeah, the acumen of the data science but not necessarily doing the programming on a daily basis. So it's up to you. But I would say in general, you know, the things are very common nowadays. If it's more biology oriented, perhaps it's our if it's more about modelling the Python, if it's more about building an interface, then you were looking at other languages, you know, if you're working perhaps with Java or Yeah, other other languages.

Lee Pike  22:11
Okay, thanks, Jess. And just before we move on to someone else. There's another question, which is directed to you, but maybe it's applicable to to others as well, is what would be your top tips for someone who would like to enter the pharma industry? Academic qualifications and/or non academic qualities?

Jessica Santivanez  22:33
Yes, so, um, that's definitely something that I wanted to cover. So I joined GSK on graduate scheme, it's called the Future Leaders programme. And I think it's a great avenue to enter the industry, because it's well it can be quite competitive. And this is something that's not only available GSK. It's available in all pharma industries. It's just different naming or branding. But it's good because you it's a rotational scheme, in all cases, so you get exposure to different areas of r&d, and maybe you start figuring out what is it that you want to do, perhaps not so much in the terms of the scientific focus, but also more on the daily, you know, what soft skills do you have to use on the daily basis. And I think that scheme for me, helped me realise that, whilst I love the technical aspects, and I'm on a technical ladder, I also do get a lot of fulfilment from these other soft skills, like communications, they call them management, and that's where I'm aiming towards these days. But in terms of qualifications, as I said, to go into a graduate scheme, you just need a bachelor's, you don't necessarily need a Master's. For certain of those, they might ask you for higher qualifications. But if you want to go into industry for a more specific role that's been advertised, then obviously, the qualifications depend on the role and it will tell you in the in the role spec, but a piece of advice is that when I started looking at these kind of jobs, I felt like I didn't, you know, fulfil any of that experience. And that's why I went for a graduate scheme. But I think in the end, what is in the role spec is their ideal candidate, and they will never find that ideal candidate. So if you can fulfil, like, even part of it, I would just say go for it. Because, you know, in the end is just practice of writing your cover letter and, and getting your CV in shape. So I wouldn't be discouraged. You know, for those that asked you for a PhD, if you have a master's and you have, you know, some working experience in the lab through other means. So, for example, like I was mentioning, like any summer internships, and I would just go and apply.

Lee Pike  24:39
Thanks, Jess, and Jade, do you have anything to add in terms of qualifications or need for an experience?

Jade Nguyen  24:45
Um, yeah, so at Parexel, so we obviously are we the prerequisite is only BSc degree. However, some of my colleagues we like some of us they have a master's and I think it is beneficial in the long term, but you can't find a job I think, within the CRO within pharmaceuticals with a bachelor's degree. And what we're focused on in terms of soft skills that's really important for us is like time management, communication, being able to work in a team and independently as well. So basically, all these soft skills that I mentioned, they are relevant. And I think that if you do any extra curricular activities beside your course, then that can be really beneficial. And me personally, I was one of the co founder of the UCM tech society back then 2017 and I think that really helped me to get a position as a trainee within Parexel. So and to be honest, like I think applying for jobs. Me personally, I applied early on so I think it's a it's a game of numbers, the more you apply, the higher the chances you will land a job within the pharmaceuticals and sometimes it can be competitive. But you guys are studying at UCL, which is a big name and I why learned is that it it does help to get a job. If you studied at UCL and for example, the director in my company she studied at UCL establish was really good to bond on during the interview. So, that's it.

Lee Pike  26:21
Thanks, Jade. Okay, there's a question here probably could apply to anybody. So maybe Kade or Tom want to answer this one. Are established postdocs at a disadvantage compared to new PhD MSC BSc graduates, when applying for positions in your fields?

Kade Flowers  26:45
I'm happy to take that first if you want. For the STP specifically, that so so just double checking the question, estalish postdocs have a disadvantage. And so you don't you definitely do not need a PhD to do the STP if that and to go down this route and to work in laboratory science in the NHS at all. In terms of applications for the STP having a PhD only gets you one extra mark out of 60 in the application. And the majority of the people in my year do you know some people do have PhDs and they're excellent, they're really really good. But do not think you need a PhD to get on to the STP by any means at all, most people don't. And having a PhD won't necessarily guarantee you entry either. But if you want to do one, and then do the STP after, that's great. It definitely will not hurt. But it won't guarantee entry at all. 

Lee Pike  27:50
Okay so it sounds to me, like established postdocs are no disadvantage or advantage.

Kade Flowers  27:56
Yeah, neither it would depend more on the experience. Yeah, I guess you've got if it's Yeah, research and your postdoc then it might help. But yeah, it's neither advantage or disadvantage. 

Lee Pike  28:09
Okay, Tom, is that applicable here?

Tom Dowe  28:15
Um, yeah, sorry, I just want to say, first of all, my Wi Fi seems to be struggling a bit. So if I drop out at some point, I apologise. Um, I think within biobanks, there's a variety of roles. Certainly having a PhD wouldn't be a disadvantage to getting any of the roles. We have taught why entry level positions, where we do ask people to have at least a BSc. But then once you saw beyond those entry level positions, we're probably much more interested in your experience, your lab skills. If you can, like a lot of data scientists have mentioned sort of your soft skills, working with people being able to plan your time effectively manage projects, etc, things like that they're probably more valuable. And then obviously, we also have a data side where we have data managers, so some sort of experience in that field is is an advantage but obviously that would depend on sort of what you studied or what your research projects were. So your experience is probably much more valuable.

Lee Pike  29:26
Thanks. And would you say that's the same for the data roles as well. Whoever wants to take that first.

Eleanor Ralphs  29:38
I'd say the one thing about postdoc is to suffice it to say, is assuming your experiences relevant. When you come to negotiate your salary, right, you're going to have like this bigger leverage. So you find that two people with one with a PhD run without doing the same role the PhD person is going to be paid more. So it's the investment. Yeah. Can be worth it. But yeah, it's just kind of echoing what others have said, you know, from what I see, the same person could do the same job, but they don't have a PhD, but you probably get paid better if you did.

Lee Pike  30:21
Thanks. Anything else to add or should we move on? Nope. Okay. So, Kade question for you. It says you mentioned you have a chance to do research on the side. Can you give any examples of what sort of research you have the opportunity to do? And how it compares to academic research, perhaps?

Kade Flowers  30:43
That's a good question. So the research that I've been involved with have actually kind of been by coincidence, and I mean that so I think it's probably good just to touch on the fact. So even though research is definitely not your primary role as a clinical scientist, but research is something that most clinical scientists do touch on, when they have the time. So the research that I've specifically been involved with is I had to actually do an audit and an investigation into the way that our lab was currently set up to sit. So the European cardiac foundation essentially wanted to bring in a new way of being able to triage patients who they think have had a heart attack. And I looked at the the way that the lab was set up, and the performance of our particular methods for analysing these tests, and actually found out that our setup wasn't good enough to be implementing these new guidelines. I did that kind of as a thing and be like, ok, we need to do that for the department. And it wasn't actually until my supervisor said, Okay, this is great, you've done this for us, you should publish this. And so I did so apart. And it's, it's kind of blown up. But it's actually quite controversial, because I've got against the whole, like European Federation recommendations. But it's, it's something that you kind of do, as a bonus. And another example was, I was just working. This is actually only about four months ago, I was authorising some patient results. And notice something was really quite strange with this particular patient. In terms of their results, it didn't quite fit the clinical picture. And I did a little bit of digging, and used some of the problem solving skills that you develop throughout your time on the course. And that actually found out that this patient had a really rare protein in their blood that was completely interfering with the tests that we were trying to measure, giving really unreliable results. So that was a coincidental finding that I that I found just doing my daily job. But again, it has such wide implications for patient management, that I was heavily supported to write it up and publish it. So yeah, it's more I would say that doing research in as a clinical scientist, it's a bonus that you're supported and encouraged to do, but it's not the primary role. As long as the routine work is covered. And the routine patient work and everything is fine. If research is something you want to do, you definitely can do it, but it's not the primary role.

Lee Pike  33:18
Okay, is anybody else doing any research? And how it might compare to academic research? Yes Eleanor.

Eleanor Ralphs  33:29
Like, everything I do we call research. And then but it's kind of yeah, like different too, because the end product is like a report that's then given back to the client, but then yeah this is this can then turn into a manuscript and then then ultimately become become published. Yeah, so I think, yeah, I think I do this, research.

Jessica Santivanez  34:08
In GSK. I mean, r&d is a huge side of what we do it's one of our key businesses, pharmaceuticals. And there's a lot of ongoing research to develop these new medicines. I was involved as a senior scientist in more of the early drug discovery work not so much on the later stages. But in terms of how it compares to academia. It's a lot more varied, and it has more clear deliverables. So for example, in academia, I think you can be working on something for a long time. And as long as you have the funding, you can continue but in industry, if you're not meeting your your measurables, your metrics of success then you just you know, decide that this is not the best way and you can kind of project so it moves really fast. It's really fast paced. The focus can change from one day to another, just because of decisions that are being made at a higher level and this is something that yeah, you just have to be prepared to deal with. Maybe not get too attached to all of your projects. But in in a way, it's great because you know that what you're doing will actually have an impact. And since it's so varied and dynamic, you get that mix of projects that at least for me, it keeps me motivated.

Lee Pike  35:20
Thanks, Jess, Jade, Tom anything to add?

Jade Nguyen  35:26
It's a question that we do any research aside? 

Lee Pike  35:28
Well, yeah, I know, also, how that might compare to academic research.

Jade Nguyen  35:34
Yeah, personally, like we work on clinical. So we work in clinical research. And my job is focusing more on the management side of things. So we don't really do any sort of research within the company, or that Parexel that's have a lab services. So then they analyse samples and things like that. I'm not really involved on that side. 

Lee Pike  35:57

Jade Nguyen  35:57
I'm not sure if I can add anything to it. 

Lee Pike  35:59
Yeah, fine. Thanks, Tom.

Tom Dowe  36:04
Um, I mean, we, we collect samples and facilitate research with what we do. So we don't, most biobanks don't carry out a huge amount of individual research. Certainly, everything I do is mostly based around the management of the samples, until we give them to a researcher. Some of the larger, better funded biobanks, do partake in their own research, there's obviously you know, they're the sort of data resources and sample resources. So there is the capacity to do quite a lot of research. And some biobanks do link in very closely with the researchers that they work with. So for instance, rather than giving a sample to a researcher who's then going to process it, essentially turn it into a data point, the biobank will actually do a lot of that themselves and just provide the data to the researcher. But that's actually that's for your sort of your, your larger funded research issue banks. Personally, I've done research in the past, but the sort of the level I'm at at the moment. It's it's so much more based around the governance, the management.

Lee Pike  37:26
Okay. Thanks, Tom. 

Kade Flowers  37:28
Sorry Lee, do you mind if I quickly just add on just go ahead, just more specifically, the differences with just NHS research with academic research. On that point, correct me if I'm wrong with it, you know, the other panellists, I think they probably know more about academic research, specifically. But I'd say the key difference between the research that I would be doing and the research that academics would be doing is that the research that you would be doing as clinical scientists, you're doing it because you kind of want to do it, and you have the time to do it. There's zero, there's absolutely zero pressure to publish in the NHS, the no one's saying you have to do it to meet targets or do anything like that. If you do it, it's because you kind of want to do it. And it might be a bonus for your CV, but it's not something that's pressured on you at all. So just thought I'd add that.

Lee Pike  38:17
Thanks. So got a question directed to you, Jess. Can you expand on your transition from PhD to industry? Did you have any prior industry experience? And you mentioned it was difficult? How so? And do you have any tips? Quite a long question that one, isn't it? 

Jessica Santivanez  38:38
Well, the first door there, you know, is to answer. I did not have any experience in industry at all, I did not do any industrial placement, I don't have any links to any pharma companies, which I know some colleagues had, and that, you know, also help them secure a position. I guess in my case, I realised a bit too late to do that transition. And I mentioned that he was tough. And I think it's not super tough. It's just that in my case, I'm not a I'm not at home student. So I'm not I'm not British, and I'm not from the EU, and therefore getting that funding and sponsorship to have a position in the UK was a bit tougher. And that's why it was great that I got into a graduate scheme because that provided the adequate support for me to continue on that path. Well, what I would say is key to get these kinds of positions is just a lot of preparation for the interviews. So in my case, my programme was very competitive. I had different stages. I think it was something like five different stages of interviews, you know, getting to the point of video interview and then finally the assessment centre, which is quite similar to what you're getting, for example, consulting companies or bigger firms. So what I did is just I did thorough research online on what type of question GSK asks, and yeah, what kind of exercises do you go through? And I just leveraged on LinkedIn, I found out anyone that I roughly knew, like a friend from a friend that works at GSK, or like pharma industry, what is their advice, and I even tried it to some people in the programme that I didn't know at all. And I just reached out saying, sorry, you know, can you have some tips on how I can get this job because I really wanted it. And I think one of the best pieces of advice that I got is just to be yourself, I mean, you, you have the, you know, what experience you're bringing, right, and it's just the company also has to see whether you're a good fit and in GSK it's really all about the values and the expectations that they have. So you do go through some kind of values assessment, and they want to see whether you'd be happy to work there on a daily basis. And you're a good match for for not just the team, but the company as a whole. So, yeah, just do a lot of, you know, background research on what they're looking for. 

Lee Pike  41:07
Okay, and just before we move on, there's another question for you Jess, could you please expand on your role as a senior scientist at GSK? So, I mean, how can you put that in a short answer, I don't know.

Jessica Santivanez  41:19
Yeah, I can, I can, um, so I did two, two major roles. And so I was working in early drug discovery, screening. And first I was more focused on small molecule programmes, and then I moved into bio farms. So I did everything from engineering, you know, the DNA sequence to go into the vibrant myself to actually express it in cells to them fascinating and developing imaging assets to assess how it was performing in specific cells. So I would say, in general, as a scientist in GSK, you can you have, you can either be on a specific programme, so you're focused on a specific product, drug acid, however you want to call it, and you're working towards that and a specific milestone, or you can be in the early phase, like I was some more on the screening and finding the new targets and finding what potential new medicine can't, you know, tackle the specific mechanism, and you can judge that by different types of classes. So a, you know, you hear Life Sciences people. So we do a lot of flow cytometry a lot of imaging, a lot of sample collection and assessing, you know, the different components in media from cells, for example. So yeah, I was I was involved in a lot of the in vitro work, because that's my background. I was working on stem cells during my PhD in Cambridge. So that's, I think, also how I got there because I had the experience that they wanted, because they wanted to develop more of these stem cell models for drug discovery.

Lee Pike  42:48
Okay, thanks. Eleanor question for you. But I guess it applies to more than just yourself unless this person specifically is interested in IQVIA. It's, do you have any tips on finding summer placements?

Eleanor Ralphs  43:05
And, yeah, so I think when I found summer placements, I used the various sources. So I'm sure UCL had this but like at Bristol, we had like a careers notice board. And I literally went up, it was like a physical notice board. And there were different kind of things were happening over summer. And I would kind of look at that every day. And I saw a few things that kind of interests me and that's how I got a role as a field researcher. And yeah, then the next summer I was a bit sad, sorry, but I decided the day after exams, everyone's kind of struggling with their hangovers, I went to the library all day and sent about what felt like a million emails to just so many people. And think I got two replies and one of those replies I went and worked in his lab that summer. And then when I got a placement, it was at UCB pharma as a bioinformatics placement. I actually I again, reached out to a lot of people by use LinkedIn. And I kind of got in contact with this recruiter and she found me a I was just looking for like a small job just to earn some money for summer and then she kind of opened this can of worms actually a job that would be relevant and she kind of helped me go that direction. But on the other side, so summer placements with at IQVIA we still we do internships, and I know they'll be opening for internship for it's mainly targeted at UCL students doing the data science Master's. And the idea is that you spend half of your time working on your master's project, and then half the time doing work for IQVIA. And I believe that that is going to be advertised in the next week or so, so, that might be something to look out for.

Lee Pike  45:22
Okay, thank you. Although I wouldn't necessarily recommend applying with a hangover. What about anybody else? Does anybody else have any thoughts about any finding summer placements? And actually, there's another question, which is more about internships and graduate placements as well. Any tips on increasing the chances of getting an internship or graduate placement? So summer placements, internships and graduate placements?

Jade Nguyen  45:55
Yeah, I can. Yeah, so I can add a few things. So I did an internship at Kansai pharmaceuticals, which is a small biotech company. And I got the opportunity through UCL. So like, we had guest speakers during my master's course. And I paused it was the CEO of the company, and I reported to him and then I was offered a business analyst position, obviously, it was, it was unpaid, it was mainly like having the company developing the crop founding programme to raise funds for the company, so they can carry out with their job discovery research. But my tip would be that what Jessica said, it's sometimes worth to reach out to people on LinkedIn, to network a bit, get to know them. And you know, sometimes they can refer you to different positions. And I think it's a better way, so like, people can get to know you. And then they can recommend you to recruiters. And it's a better way than just like sending your CV and cover letter. And yeah, you can make a better impression by getting know someone on social media. So maybe that.

Lee Pike  47:05
Thanks, Jade, anything else from anybody else?

Jessica Santivanez  47:10
That actually just made me think as well, in terms of recommendations if you have, you know, any contacts in companies that you might be interested in. And I don't know if other companies do this, but you do get a referral bonus, like so if I were to bring someone in that I know he's quite capable for a specific position, I would get a referral bonus. So just having that connection might help. Yeah, Jade, just you know, highlighted the importance of networking. Even if it's just through LinkedIn, I think, you know, anything that can make you stand out, and in this case, it's like, oh, I already spoke to this person. And you know, she recommended me for these positions, you know, they thought that would be a good match is already, yeah a win.

Lee Pike  47:52
Thanks. Yeah, definitely being proactive, sounds like the number one tip. Okay, thank you. Let's see now, is a PhD an advantage with clinical sort of covered this, but it says, would going in at a master's level, but a years earlier, the smarter choice?

Jessica Santivanez  48:12
I think I would just really want to add that you have to be quite honest with yourself as to why you're doing the PhD. So in my case, I didn't do it because I wanted that in my CV necessarily. I just I'm really passionate about research. And I knew that that was the yeah, the career path I wanted to follow. And I think those three, four years were for me formative. If I think if I had landed in industry after my master's, I would yeah, maybe it would have been a different person, or it would have taken me longer to be where I am now. Not sure. So I think in my case, I really recommend that as a formative experience. And also because you get to be a student for more years and enjoy that life. But yeah, I think you just have to, you know, I wouldn't do something just because it will appear nice in your CV, you have to really enjoy it.

Jade Nguyen  49:14
Can I also add that within the clinical operations, at Parexel that we do have some people who have a PhD, I'm not 100% sure whether it's a very, very big advantage. It might be later on as you move up the career ladder, but I'm not in terms of salary, they might pay you more, but I'm not sure. In for example, if you work in management or commercial side, whether it is a very big advantage. So definitely, I think that doing a PhD, it's worth it. If you're really passionate about something and you're really want to be an expert in something. But in the management set of roles, it's not that relevant. If that makes sense.

Kade Flowers  49:57
From a NHS perspective, I think yes, if clinical science is something you have decided you do want to do, I would recommend just going straight into it, even after your BSC, if that's the thing like there's, you don't get, you don't get paid more if you have a PhD or a Master's, it's all banding on the NHS. So you don't get an having a PhD will definitely, if you want to become a consultant, clinical scientist, which most people do, having a PhD would help you get that position in a big teaching hospital having a PhD, but you can get that later, after you've like completed the STP. Or do it part time even I know a couple of people who are going to start doing their PhD part time over six, seven years. I know, it sounds like incredibly daunting. But if you're working almost full time along the side, that actually kind of suits quite a few people. So if you wanted to go into the NHS and do clinical science, and you know, that is what you want to do, I would recommend going into it sooner rather than spending extra time doing a PhD.

Lee Pike  51:01
Okay, thank you. This question is directed to GSK. But again, I think it probably applies to most people here. It says how to apply in GSK for those who have two years internships, what catchy points are required in a CV?

Jessica Santivanez  51:19
So I guess it's a so again, sorry, the question is a person that already has some internships, what to highlight in their CV? Well, I mean, highlight that, I wouldn't say, yeah, maybe just get some advice on on CV writing. In my case. You know, when I applied to industry, I had it such that I had my application, and then some very limited work experience on the side. And then I've done a lot of outreach activities and a lot of volunteering. So I made sure to highlight that in terms of outreach experience, or event management experience, and also my interests. So I think, yeah, that's combination has worked well, for me, you know, highlighting first work experience slash education, then the skills that I bring, perhaps also mentioned, you know, like, yeah, various skills or like, experience with a specific software or, you know, obviously highlight something like Office, but, you know, other software that in terms of science, and in terms of data analytics can be important. And then highlighting any outreach volunteering experience.

Lee Pike  52:31
Thank you, and Tom, you've raised your hand.

Tom Dowe  52:32
Hiya, yeah, yeah. Um, so I know, this question was directed, obviously, primarily, at Jessica, but just in general, to anyone that's applying. I've recruited a lot of people for a variety of roles in the last few years. And probably one of the key things is actually, I know, it sounds really simple, but actually reading what the job description is, and taking the time to actually think about how you meet the criteria that they're actually asking for, and writing your application in a way that that that highlights how you meet the requirements that you're asking for. Time and time again, I've read applications and CVS, which are incredibly generic. And you can see someone's listed where they've worked or what they've done. And if they just expanded just a little bit more, they've probably got the skills that we're looking for, but they just haven't been put across in the application that we've made. So as Jess suggested, you know, really, maybe invest some time in, in sort of how to how to write a CV, how to write an application, get people to review it, get people to, to look over it with you. And, and, you know, really the key is, is actually stressing how you meet what they're asking for.

Kade Flowers  54:09
I do want to quickly just add slightly on to that specifically in terms of the STP. But that is such a, I think, quite a profound point that I think was mentioned now I've read so many applications for the STP specifically over the past few weeks, because the deadlines just gone. And people usually very good at saying, I've done this. They go okay, great. Excellent. That's a really good experience. I think in terms of the STP and being a clinical scientist, what the people who are reviewing applications are looking for is that you understand the role. That's what it is, they're really looking to see that, okay, you've done this experience. Why do I care? I know it sounds really quite horrible saying it that way. But you kind of keep asking yourself that question when you read back to CV, if you don't really kind of think why, why are you hitting that point home to say why it's really relevant to them. So you know, oh I've done this experience working in a team, for example, I know that would be made me good as a clinical scientist, because I know that clinical scientists work in teams like, it's a really generic way to put it, but bring everything you say back in full loop, I would say like, so to kind of go back to the, to the very point. And that really helps so that you understand the role. Because I think so many people, we're used to reading applications from people who just blanket apply for things like that we use the same application or really similar applications for so many different roles. And it's really obvious, I think, when, when that's happened, so really try and tailor tailor it for sure.

Jessica Santivanez  55:39
And I thought as well, if I can interject on two points while listening to Kade and Tom. So one thing that I do a lot in my CV is I quantify. I love data, I love numbers. And therefore, you know, instead of saying I organised this event, it will be like I organised this, it took, you know, I was leading X amount of people, you had X amount of attendees on a, you know, maybe we had a budget of X amount of pounds. So just like quantifying, even if you think it looks small, it's just a way for the recruiter to digest what you have actually done. Because it can be sometimes, you know, very wishy washy. You're trying to yeah, just describing without some actual numbers. And then the other thing that I thought about is if you do start getting rejections, which you will, because the systematic nature of applying for jobs, just ask for feedback, I think some companies are quite good at, you know, highlighting why you didn't make it to a certain stage or, you know, I think most of them would only focus on the interview stage, if you didn't make it. So you made it to the interview, but you didn't get the role. But I think in some cases earlier on, you can still get feedback. And yeah, just any, anyone reviewing your your CV at home would be really helpful.

Lee Pike  56:56
Thanks. And I'll just add that if you search for UCL Careers, how to write a CV, there's a very good leaflet there, which kind of explains everything that people were saying about making sure it's a bespoke CV, you have your skills that are related to the application you're making with evidence and quantity. So thank you everyone, for saying that.

Jade Nguyen  57:16
How can I just add lastly, that sometimes like jobs, they don't require a cover letter, but I think if you can include optionally a cover letter that that can make you stand out, because not everyone makes the effort to to also tailor CV and a cover letter as well. But in a cover letter, you can expand on certain examples, and then you can really describe by why you would stand out and why it would be a good match for a company.

Lee Pike  57:44
Or maybe I'll just ask if the if they only ask for a CV? Would you treat the email that you send the CV with as your cover letter?

Jade Nguyen  57:55
Um, what do you mean, like?

Lee Pike  57:56
 Would you write it as if it was your cover letter?

Jade Nguyen  57:59
Oh, no, I would separately have like a traditional CV, one page CV and then extra, say a one page cover letter.

Eleanor Ralphs  58:09
Yeah, just just adds that. Because, like with IQVIA and probably with other companies, the email you send goes to someone in HR, who then forwards just the documents that you've attached to the actual person who will be interviewing you say that I'd recommend putting something in a document rather than email could get lost somewhere.

Lee Pike  58:31
Great. Thanks. Question for Kade. Do you know if you can still apply for the clinical scientist training programme if your degree is not IBM approved? Or you have already completed master's degree in the relevant area?

Kade Flowers  58:47
Um yes, is the short answer so you absolutely can apply. You did you do not need to have an IBMs accredited, accredited degree. I that helped me personally, I think in the interview, just because in the process of getting the IBMs accreditation, I was able to get a lot of relevant experience that helped me in the application. That was a bonus. It's not a requirement whatsoever. So most of the people in my cohort of STP trainees do not have IBMs accreditated degrees, most of them didn't even do biomed. I think most of them did just biochemistry, or something like that. So yeah, do not think you have to have an IBMs accredited degree to do the STP because you absolutely don't. And having so already have completed a Master's, if you've already completed a master's degree in the relevant area. That's I think that's one extra point in the application. The important point point of doing that, it's definitely a bonus. I guess we've done the master's degree in that's relevant because it just will give you more to talk about an application, but that's it. That's where the benefit finishes really. So but yes, please do not think you have to have an IBMs accredited degree because you don't.

Lee Pike  1:00:00
Okay, maybe you can answer this one. And then maybe, Tom, when applying for lab roles, is it a deal breaker if you haven't had any lab experience outside of your degree? 

Kade Flowers  1:00:11
No. It's not a deal breaker. Because for very clever, I've read actually a couple of good applications recently that had no lab experience. But I kind of thought they did. At the end of it, it was really strange. Like it kind of like, manipulated my mind how they have written it. It's more, they're having relevant experience, I think it's always a good thing, just because it kind of ticks that box. But if you have no experience, but you can say how the experience you do have in terms of communication, and in NHS lab, I'm sure Tom will agree with this. Like prior, the ability to prioritise is just like one of the best things you can have ever. So if you have done something, or in your current experience, where you can say, Oh, look, I've done this, which shows that I can prioritise really well, they'll, they'll swallow that up they'll absolutely love that, because that's what it's more about, I think, how but having the relevant experience? Yes, it helps. But it's not an essential, it really isn't. Most of the people on my year, have never worked in NHS lab before.

Lee Pike  1:01:19
Thanks, Kade. Tom.

Tom Dowe  1:01:22
Yeah, I mean, to echo what Kade said, it isn't a deal breaker at all. And it kind of circles back to some of the points that we've just made about how you are writing your application and your CV. First of all, if you do have experience through the course of your degree, again, don't just say you've got experience, be specific about it be specific about the techniques you use, the equipment you use. Because that's all of interest to us, if you have no experience whatsoever. The reality is your entry level roles in labs, you don't actually you don't require a huge amount of specific skills. A lot of the day to day processing on in our lab, for instance, it says the physical processing is putting a blood sample in a centrifuge, maybe you're doing a FIFO preparation or lympho prep, and then you're extracting mononuclear, cells and plasma and it sounds amazing, but you're literally just using a pipette to do that. And actually, as Kade said, your your attention to detail, your ability to not just, it sounds boring, but record keeping, not just keeping the records but actually understanding why it's important. So for example, Kade, for example, is making sure that the right result is given for the right patient. In my biobank, for instance, because everything is anonymized, it's making sure that the right sample is labelled appropriately. And so when a researcher comes to me and asks for 100 plasma samples from patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, that I'm actually giving them 100 samples of plasma patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. So it's very much about highlighting what your skills are. And how, again, as I said earlier, in how you actually fit what we're asking for. So no, it's not a deal breaker, just highlight the skills that you do have. 

Lee Pike  1:03:26
Thanks. Got a question here. Again, I think we kind of covered this in a way and maybe it's not just internships, but it says that would you say that an internship in a relevant area is necessary to reach where you are now? I guess that could apply to this relevant experience as well. And I think we've already answered it in many ways that no, this not so relevant experience. Anyone want to add anything to that? 

Tom Dowe  1:03:53
I mean, if I'm my so I'm at what I would consider quite a senior level in a biobank. So you wouldn't be able to walk out of a degree or a PhD straight into managing a lab or managing the biobank, for instance, but certainly having, having experience having something that if you can demonstrate that you've used your skills, and you've been able to have an impact using your skills, then yeah, it will, it will help but I'm not sure if I've answered the question. Sorry.

Eleanor Ralphs  1:04:40
And also, there's this myth we think there's a how, you know, this thing where it's, oh, you need x many years to get this job. For when you come out of academia, you didn't have those years in industry. Like, me personally, I could only have got my job through internship because I didn't have I was coming straight out of my Masters, I didn't have experience in industry. And the only other way I could have got my job now is if I had had two or three years experience somewhere else. But I wouldn't be able to get that because I didn't have two or three weeks experience anywhere else. So you could get in that loop, and that's why internships are really good, like that bridging. Also, actually, another point is, when my internship ended, and it turned into a permanent role, it was a really weird feeling, because that's the first time in my life that there wasn't this end date. But with your degree, you know, when it's gonna end, the internship, you know, when it's gonna end, and we're, I think, yeah, whenever you start a job that was quite a weird, adult moment.

Lee Pike  1:06:03
Thanks, Eleanor. Interesting question here. Before the event started the panellists and I had a brief discussion. And we talked about the elephant in the room. So here's a question about the elephant in the room. Last in current summer, there is an extreme lack in summer internships. And even if it was supposed to be part of the degree, we are prevented from having hands on experiments in the lab, due to COVID restrictions. Are the employers taking that into consideration? It is a major concern among new grads that we are even less employable right now, so do you have any tipcs on how to get about it?

Jessica Santivanez  1:06:42
I think obviously, everyone is aware of the current situation and aware of, you know, there not being sufficient opportunities. Nowadays, I think even not just in terms of internships, but applying for jobs, I've heard a lot of people that are struggling a lot, so but I wouldn't worry, because you know, the industry is aware of it. And I think if you can make up through other means, like Kade was mentioning, in the way that you write your CV or your cover letter, you can convince someone if you have that influencing, you know, some of these influences still somewhere inside, you just leverage them. But I mean, yeah, in terms of lab, this is, you know, I guess that the negative aspects that I see, so my colleagues in the, you know, when I was a senior scientist, working in the labs, they were only allowed to go into site if it's a high priority programme. So not everyone got got to get back on the site. But if you're working on data science, for the roles or data related roles at all, that was much easier to handle, because you know, I can do 100% of my job from home, I don't need to be in the lab at all. So that's, in a way, the beauty of data roles, that's a it's a lot more flexible. You don't need to be present all the time. And I think even when we go back to the new normal, you know, I wouldn't be working on site every single day, I think I would, you know, spend half and half time, because you can be convenient.

Lee Pike  1:08:07
Thanks. Anyone else want to add something?

Eleanor Ralphs  1:08:15
Let's see what the limitation of COVID there's also is a opened up an opportunity in that data science world, because there are things you can do, like open source data is available, and you can get involved with certain COVID related research and say that might be something worth spending time by volunteering with that and then you've just said something you can talk about.

Lee Pike  1:08:49
And what about the addressing the fact that new grads feel they're less employable? Is there something they could potentially be doing? Have you mentioned open source Eleanor, you mentioned open source and using using that for experience?

Eleanor Ralphs  1:09:09
Yeah, so, yes, the COVID efforts that you can do from home. Or you can work from data science, COVID efforts that you can do from home in which you could if you can't get a paid or paid work experiences and think this out, that's what I would spend my time doing. Yeah, make sure you're like exercising the skills that like a dream job that you want and but using what you can.

Kade Flowers  1:09:46
Yeah, just, I think echo that point. Employers very much are aware, I think of everything that that has been going on and the lack of direct opportunities. So I think maybe whereas before some companies might be expecting you've done an internship. They might not be expecting that now. But simply by being able to put something potentially on your CV or your application that you've looked into this, or you've thought about this, or you've done this specifically, even if it's something quite small, it just shows I think the intent, I think the intent is probably more important over this COVID period, than actually, like having loads and loads of experience, so that it's just not because I think, as well, you kind of have to, as horrible as the whole situation is, I think everyone's kind of in the same boat. So it's almost kind of brought the calibre of all the applications down. But but in most areas, not all areas, but in most areas, kind of everyone's feeling the same pinch. So it's, it's not ideal, we're still terrible situation. But that shouldn't mean that setback, a large number of people have massive experience advantages over others, because nobody's kind of been able to go through the same processes at the moment. So yeah, I would say do what you can. Outside of that, wherever it's just researching. So you've got something to talk about and show the intent. If you can't show the actual physical evidence of doing it.

Jessica Santivanez  1:11:16
I also thought of two more points. So the first one is that there, this is maybe just relevant to data science, but I'm pretty sure it's similar in other areas, there are courses out there that are free for you to upskill. And that you can just add on to your CV, so that's one. So just be proactive about it. And secondly, I think if you can just demonstrate how you were able to adapt to the situation, because adaptability, agility is a huge thing that they will measure, even if you don't mention in your CV, they will got you know whether you would be able to work in a fast paced environment and learn something quite fast and move on. So I think if you can just demonstrate how you were perhaps doing one activity, and then you had to adapt into this working from home or virtual remote environment to continue to fulfil that activity that's already giving you a winning point, I think.

Lee Pike  1:12:10
Thanks, Jade, did you want to add anything?

Jade Nguyen  1:12:14
And maybe that if you guys have an interview, then you can just talk about like projects that you do as part of your course. Because even doing like unit projects against certain sub skills, and then if you don't have any internship experience, you can just talk about those. And as long as you have a good salary, that's the baby in the background. As long as that there is a you have an example through which you can demonstrate your skills. I think that that's what they do value that so I wouldn't worry too much about how much experience and how employable you are, but more like focus on the soft skills you have now done.

Lee Pike  1:12:56
Right, thanks. And here's a question directed to Kade. What is your typical day like in the lab? Do you find it repetitive? Does it involve problem solving to work out what is wrong with a patient?

Kade Flowers  1:13:12
Yes to both of those main points. So the, I guess a typical day, in the morning, I spend the morning getting through the routine stuff, which is repetitive, and boring. Some for like, I'm not gonna lie, it's the nature I think of a routine service, whether that's the laboratory, wherever it is, any routine service is going to have quite repetitive, quite mundane tasks. So I mean, for example, one of my morning tasks would be to come in every single GP results that my lab sends out, I have to look through even all of the normal ones, people are perfectly healthy. And I still have to look through them to make sure it's, it is a little bit mind numbing it. And that's just being quite honest. But it I think, even though it is a little bit repetitive, that initial part, you kind of still know how important it really is. So you are still paying attention. And even though it is repetitive, it doesn't feel like it because you are still trying to look for those, you know, for those odd little cases that do kind of slip by and as well as even though there is that portion of every day that is repetitive. A huge chunk of the day completely isn't because you'll be dealing with really quite strange clinical results that you have to follow up on whether you have to contact clinicians or the patients or whatever it is or and as you search, bring up that question again talking about the end of it the the troubleshooting to find out what's wrong with the patient. Absolutely. Yeah. Because I think as a clinical sciences, as a clinical scientist, you happen to think on two fronts, actually, which is quite, I think, quite unique to this job, which I really enjoy. First thing you're asking yourself part of the troubleshooting process. Is what you're seeing real? And this is where I think your scientific training will come into it because you'll see a set of results, see the patient's clinical details. And you'll be asking yourself, does this seem like it's plausible, if you've got results that a patient should be keeled over on the floor dead, and you know, they're fine, they've just gone to their GP for like a routine test, for example, it's likely something's gone wrong in the process. And it's your job as a clinical scientist to find that out and say, Actually, I don't believe these results, I think they're wrong, and to not report them. On the flip side of that, sometimes you do get very real and very abnormal results that do require some that it's not not often it happens. But sometimes the hair stands up a little bit on the back of your neck, and you're a bit like, Oh, no, like, this is really bad. Like, I have to do something about this now. And that it can, it can get a bit almost stressful, sometimes doing it. And then once you've done your initial protocol that you have to do is then taking a step back and using your scientific knowledge and clinical knowledge to troubleshoot that process and think, okay, let's figure out what what's wrong with the patient here. But that usually is a different, not quite so urgent in that particular moment. So, yes, there are mundane and repetitive parts of the job. Absolutely. But it's not even the mundane parts are actually kind of enjoyable. And yeah.

Lee Pike  1:16:30
Thanks. I have a question here. I'm not really sure whether it's able to answer this. But someone's asked if they're looking for a research related career, which would be the most financially rewarding? 

Kade Flowers  1:16:52

Jessica Santivanez  1:16:55
I can comment on that, because I've been on both sides. And I can tell you that these days, at least in the pharmaceutical industry, and having a data science related jobs, so not necessarily a data science background, but a role in data and tech, is being rewarded more highly these days. And I think it's just down to the nature of these people that can do these data science and tech related tasks could go to Google or Facebook, you know, some other tech company that will pay them a lot. So we have to remain competitive. And that is why so I definitely went on a jump when I changed from senior scientists and transition to data science. So that is, yeah, one to note. But I wouldn't say research is always the career that you're in because of the money. Otherwise, I would just suggest that you go into, you know, finance or consulting.

Eleanor Ralphs  1:17:53
Yeah. Like if you're in a private company, you're going to be paid more than if you're working for publically funded.

Lee Pike  1:18:06
Okay. Here's the question. Obviously, other than being on a panel at 6:30, to six o'clock to 7:30 in an evening, and this is a question to all of you, do your positions allow you to have a reasonable work life balance?

Jade Nguyen  1:18:25
Yeah, I can start with that maybe. So as a CRA, you definitely have sort of work life balance, the job itself requires a bit of travel. But at the same time, say a power of seven, I'm not sure how it works in other companies, but at Parexel, they do. So it's like if you work overtime, then you can take days off depending on how much you work extra. And also that the fact that CRA was they allow you to work from home fully. So you don't have to travel to the office and go home. So like you don't lose time travelling. So definitely that helps to have a work life balance. Yeah.

Lee Pike  1:19:06
Thanks. Who wants to go next?

Jessica Santivanez  1:19:11
I can say yes, absolutely. And I think this is one of the key differences that I noticed transitioning from academia to industry. In industry, I finished at five/5:30. Well, depending on when I start, right, I work a lot with US colleagues, sometimes most of my afternoon will be calls with a US and therefore I stay a bit later, but that means that I can start later because you know, in the mornings is just for me to get on with my own tasks. But yes, I definitely have, you know, no one expects you to reply to an email at weird hours and I think specially during COVID everyone has been super understanding. So, you know, a lot of managers to have young kids, you know, go through the homeschooling and taking care of the kids at home. They just arrange their schedules such that they could you know, flex and share those responsibilities with their partners. And there was no expectation for them to work, you know, beyond that. So, so long as you do your job and you're delivering, I think it can be very flexible. So I, I always in the normal world, I always had time for my other hobbies.

Lee Pike  1:20:21
Thanks, Jess. And Tom, you raised your hand.

Tom Dowe  1:20:26
Hi, yeah, um, I think, work. I mean, personally, where I am at the moment, I have a pretty good work life balance. I am responsible for 15, freezers full of 100,000 plus samples. So I have also had to go to work at 9pm on Christmas Eve, because a freezer failed, which isn't brilliant for your work life balance, but I think, actually work life balance can also come down to you yourself. And you know, when you started, you're setting out boundaries about what you are willing to do. And with that, you're only really able to set those boundaries, as long as you're working hard, meeting your targets as long as the work is done. But I, for instance, I don't have my emails on my phone, because I've had it before, and you inevitably end up looking at them last thing before you go to bed at night. And you open them as soon as you wake up in the morning. And the reality is the person that sent them to you, they're not looking at them. And there are very few problems that you can actually solve at 1am in the morning with an email. So I think it's, it's, I mean, I'm possibly the oldest person on this panel. So perhaps some of that has to come with age and experience. And perhaps to your graduates it is quite intimidating to to start off a job with with that kind of attitude. But it is worth trying to think about developing it. And like to say setting out setting out boundary. Work is done. You know, you don't want to be one of those people that's coming in late, leaving early and not getting work done, then people will notice. But if you are on top of your business getting your job done, then it should be fine for you to sort of within reason set your own work life balance it's give and take at the end of the day, I think.

Lee Pike  1:22:38
Thanks Tom. 

Jade Nguyen  1:22:40
Oh, Can I just add, I forgot to mention it that I think when you sometimes there are times when when you are really busy with different projects. And it's really important when you have a manager to just have clear communication. If you have like, really, you have so much work to do. And then and then you don't have enough time, it just needs to be honest, and discuss it with your manager, and I'm sure that they will be able to help you. So yeah, it's really important to speak up. And because work life balance it is important.

Kade Flowers  1:23:12
And I think in terms of clinical science, the NHS is a quite an unhealthy obsession, I think sometimes with overworking, it is becoming better. But it is a bit tough during during the STP is really difficult, I think you've got so much work to do in the three year period that over the course of the STP anyway, a lot, you still will be able to like take time off, but you will have a lot to do outside of those hours. However, when you are qualified and you're the duty biochemist and you're on call, it's absolutely every Friday at half past five, something happens. An urgent sample comes in a patient's really sick needs this analysis. And I mean, I mean, legally, you can go home and it's fine. But you're not going to you know, it's kind of your job to go with it. So it's there has been quite a few times I've been there very late and doing doing things but it's, you know, it's not typical for the most part. Yes, the work life balance is is okay. But it varies a lot. And it fluctuates as well depending on what's happening and staffing levels and yeah, it's just yeah, the NHS can be a bit tough for work life balance sometimes.

Eleanor Ralphs  1:24:34
I think as well you can get people that like a project manager can say, oh, don't work late and this, but can you do this, this and this for like two contradicting things you just say? But I think what I've learned and I'm still trying to learn this the skill of predicting timelines, knowing how long something is going to take me because I used to say, oh, yeah, okay, I can do this in the week and then it's really the thing that would really take a month, then I kind of have put that pressure on myself. Say, yeah, time awareness is really important.

Lee Pike  1:25:16
It's a nice way to wrap up, I think is the work life balance. I'd like to thank you all for taking part in this panel event. I hope you as attendees have taken a lot from it. If we answered your question, that's great. Hopefully, the answers given, answered those questions that may not have been as specifically answered. So all it takes is for me to say thank you very much. Once again. We can see some thank yous coming through the chat from from the attendees, which is really nice. And thank you for taking the time out in your evening to be part of this panel event, it's much appreciated.

Jo Budd  1:25:53
Thank you all so much for listening to this episode. We hope you enjoyed hearing from today's speakers and have taken something useful away from the experience. One thing I enjoyed hearing about was the range of entry level roles available to graduates from relevant disciplines. As I found students often worry that they need direct work experience to break into the sector. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time on The UCL Careers podcast.