02: Career Pathways: Combining a clinical and research career

Uploaded by ManchesterMHS on 01.06.2012

My name’s Francis. I did a PhD in colo-rectal cancer in Liverpool, so there was a lot of
molecular and genetics, that kind of thing. And right now I’m working as a clinical
scientist in the Royal Liverpool Hospital. The reason I did a PhD in the first place
was that I did my degree in biochemistry and I really liked the subject matter, so I did
a PhD to learn more, gain some more skills. And career aspirations, it was more like climbing
the ladder really. And the PhD is good in the sense that you really have to think about
what you want. Because if you don’t want it, don’t do it. In my mind there’s definitely
three things I would bring with me to any job I move on to. To be able to communicate
what you think is definitely underrated. The other thing is thinking on your feet because
when you do research things don’t always go how you want them to, when a bad result
happens, and you just have to make adjustments on the fly and that definitely applies to
every single job you have to do these days. And if you asked me one more I would definitely
have to say people skills. I knew that I didn’t want to kind of progress up the academic ladder
and pursued other things. And what I’m doing now as a clinical scientist in the NHS is
great because it’s half research, half clinical. Very often in research you work on one thing
for many years, and that’s all you kind of do. Whereas what I’m doing now in the
NHS, its half research where you can improve and develop methods - that has a direct impact
on the patient, on the population. But also its clinical, it’s always relevant. For
me that’s the most enjoyable thing is to having a direct impact, a more immediate impact
with my work, rather than a pure clinical academic setting. I’d say in the current
climate its very difficult to distinguish yourself from everybody else really. So if
you’re the next generation PhD student or applying for a PhD or applying for a Post
Doc, just be proactive. People always don’t think what would that guy say or what would
that guy think. Knock people’s doors down, you know, make yourself known.