00:16 The work that I do as a policy researcher is specifically looking at science and research policy.
00:22 So, anything that the government does, or any other organisations do that might affect how
00:27 people can do science and research that I have to have an opinion on.
00:34 Cancer Research UK is an enormous organisation,
00:38 that carry out world-leading research.
00:42 We’re the largest independent funder of cancer research in the world,
00:46 and we contribute hugely to the medical research base in the UK.
00:52 The work that I do is more based on looking after the science and research base in terms of how the government is supporting it,
00:59 and how we are supporting it to make sure that our researchers have the best opportunity to do their work.
01:07 I was a scientist originally, I did an undergraduate degree in chemistry,
01:13 and then not satisfied with that I then stayed on to do a PhD in chemistry as well.
01:20 During my PhD I worked quite closely with a charity called Sense About Science,
01:26 who look at public engagement and public understanding of science,
01:30 and with them I did a couple of projects to try and encourage young researchers
01:35 to basically talk about their science more.
01:37 And when I was writing up my thesis I did an internship with them,
01:41 and so sort of gradually moved across from the science itself into
01:45 more communication and science policy.
01:48 and I then did a graduate placement with the Royal Society of Chemistry,
01:54 and I worked on a project for them that was more about health policy, so looking at
02:00 sort of drawing attention to the fact that chemistry contributes a great deal to healthcare,
02:04 because that’s not something that’s necessarily obvious to the general public or to other scientists.
02:09 So we were trying to encourage scientists to work together closely,
02:13 across discipline, to contribute to healthcare,
02:17 which then sort of drew me across to health policy.
02:22 As a policy researcher, part of the job are research skills, actually trying to
02:27 get to grips with whatever the topic is or whatever the argument is.
02:31 Talking to people, communicating with people, also talking to our researchers and to our scientists,
02:37 which, having done research myself, is very useful and it’s definitely a highlight of my job,
02:44 to talk to the scientists about their work, and then working closely with my colleagues.
02:52 I think there are a number of skills that are very important for my job.
02:56 Obviously the analytical side of things because of the research element,
02:59 so you are having to collect information on a particular topic and area,
03:05 and that does hark back to researching in a lab, it’s the same, a similar sort of idea.
03:11 But communication is a massive, massive part of the job,
03:16 either communicating with my colleagues or communicating with scientists about their work
03:21 and their research which can be quite technical
03:24 but also on the other side of things, talking to MPs
03:29 or to members of the public or to people that have no idea about science and so it’s quite a mixture of messages.
03:37 The key thing about being interested in science,
03:41 and sort of being interested in, I mean my background is obviously in chemistry,
03:45 is appreciating that there’s an awful lot of transferable skills that you’re building through
03:50 either just studying the subject in terms of problem-solving or if you go into research yourself
03:56 and appreciating that if you don’t want to stay in research there’s an awful lot
04:01 from that which can be very useful,
04:03 and although I don’t think I need a PhD to be doing my current role,
04:08 there are an awful lot of skills that I picked up during my research that I
04:13 think are invaluable for the work that I’m doing now.
04:18 I really enjoy the work that I’m, sort of, dealing with,
04:23 knowing that if we encourage the government to be more supportive of science and research,
04:29 that then has an opportunity to encourage cancer research, medical research in the UK.
04:35 That’s obviously a very important goal,
04:39 and also the variety, there’s always things to be pushing for and working for, a
04:45 huge range of people to be dealing with, so it’s a good variety.