Current Position: Research Funding Manager at Cancer Research UK

After a first degree in Human Biology, I spent three years at the RVC working on my PhD in dairy cattle genetics supervised by Professor Claire Wathes and Dr Geoff Pollott. I then undertook a short research internship with Merial Animal Health where I carried out economic and epidemiological analyses of the UK dairy and beef industries. The internship at Merial came about through the Bioscience Responds with Internship Opportunities (BRIO) scheme which was led by Dr Jim Gazzard. As Merial were my PhD CASE sponsors, it seemed an ideal opportunity to work with them more closely and gain some experience outside of academia. The internship followed straight after my PhD and was an ideal opportunity to do something slightly different before I returned to the RVC for 6 months of post-doctoral research.

Following this, my career path came to a T-junction – I had the options of pursuing a career in dairy cattle research or accepting a new job in a completely different environment. After much deliberation, I finally chose the latter and accepted the position as Research Manager for the national charity Tourettes Action (www.tourettes-action.org.uk). My job was to manage a portfolio of research projects, checking project budgets, examining literature for scientific accuracy, arranging meetings and conferences and visiting research institutions to foster collaborations. It was a huge change in many ways, but one that I really enjoyed. The job at Tourettes Action was advertised on the jobs section of NewScientist (online) and also the Tourettes Action website which is where I began researching the charity and the type of work being undertaken. 

The main reason I applied for this role was because of a previous interest in neuroscience from my undergraduate degree. The job was a great opportunity to use some of the skills and knowledge from previous years and allowed me to gain experience in the human science research environment. The job was also permanent which was something of a novelty after short-term contracts!

Andrew Clempson in front of poster with text saying: a courageous spirit drives us all forward 
Andrew Clempson at Cancer Research UK

It is now almost 18 months since I left the RVC and I have just started a new job with Cancer Research UK as a Research Funding Manager. I’m really looking forward to taking on the new challenges and greater responsibility associated with the role. Over the past year, my career choices may appear to have been sporadic in some ways, but in others were sensible and enabled me to adapt to a challenging job market. It’s really important to understand there are a wide variety of career opportunities available after your PhD. Although it’s good to have a career plan, it needs to be flexible and you have to take opportunities as they arise – sometimes unexpected things happen and it’s hard to predict where they will take you!

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