A Career Path from Academia, Research Institute, Industry and Beyond.

At this time of year, I think about those embarking on studies in life science subjects at university, those who have completed their first degrees, and those starting their PhD research.

My previous post was about A levels results day and getting into university.

I have also previously posted about my experience as a PhD student and one of my proudest achievements of achieving a first-author publication in Nature during my PhD years!

I would like students and early researchers to see some of the possibilities beyond PhD and this is why I have been sharing an outline of my own career path. It has been a rich source of stories and experience to discuss when career mentoring my undergraduate and PhD student mentees.

So, what happened after my PhD research at the renowned Paterson Institute?

From academia and research institute to industry; from industry to independent company founder and owner.

My postdoc research experience in industry came about through a chance meeting on a train in my twenties but it proved to be a good choice, and a springboard to many other opportunities…

A subsequent move to Big Pharma provided 20 interesting years; international impact, learning and development I had never imagined.

And then to a further 20 years of exhilarating independence beyond this!

Along this career path I had focus, persistence, and purpose. However, it didn’t always go to plan – and in hindsight that made for a more interesting adventure!

Moreover, my career path isn’t as linear as it looks – it has zigzags, circles, and pauses along the way. All this enabled me to hone and build on my science research skills, discover new specialist subjects, and expand my range of experience and skills.

Little did I know how many different opportunities would unfold over the years and this has given me many stories and some yet to tell.

As a graduate biochemist, or even after attaining my PhD I could not have predicted that writing, medical communications, and science communications would feature so strongly later in my career.

The richness and sometimes uniqueness of chances and experience put me in good stead for subsequent contributions as a consultant, a writer, and a communicator. I founded my own independent company, and I was able to contribute as a specialist in some areas or as a generalist across different disciplines.

I hope that by sharing the opportunities that unfolded for me I can be an inspiration to those considering a career in life sciences or related areas.

After 47 years as a scientist, I have done my bit and contributed to science and humanity. That is all I ever set out to achieve. Through A Tree of Life Sciences® I find I can ‘live the dream’.

The adventure in Life Sciences and beyond continues…

And still the joy of discovery in science research resonates!

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 24/08/23


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