Research Careers
Options Beyond Academia
Neil Harrison

Scientific Projects Leader

PhD Biochemistry, University of Sheffield

Job highlights: Getting to combine my passion for science and teamwork, in an environment that promotes both

Postgraduate takeaway: There are careers in science beyond the lab! If you enjoy learning and communicating about science then Medical Writing is certainly an option to consider.  

 

What is your background and why did you move away from academia?

Before joining Adelphi I spent six years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sheffield. Although the work was stimulating it was frequently frustrating, and a career spent in the lab was not an enticing prospect. However, I was keen to find a job in which I could utilise my scientific background, which led me to the healthcare industry. Within this sector the Adelphi Group are amongst the key players, with an excellent reputation. I was keen to grasp the opportunity when offered the chance to join Adelphi Communications as an Associate Medical Writer, and have since progressed to Scientific Projects Leader.

 

What is the work like?

The mainstay of work for Adelphi Communications is communicating highly complex scientific and medical concepts. We have clients in the pharmaceutical, diagnostic and medical devices industries, across a huge range of therapy areas. This involves supporting a wide range of activities from publications through to innovative digital medical education activities, and as such describing a typical day is actually quite challenging! Irrespective of what the day contains, the involvement required in managing my various projects and their mutable deadlines keeps me on my toes.

During the time I have spent at Adelphi, I have worked on a range of pharmaceutical products, and have consequently developed a broader scientific knowledge. The need to develop expertise across a number of disease areas remains one of the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of my role. My work across a variety of projects has involved liaising with different clients and key experts to understand their needs and how we can address them, which is a tremendously stimulating aspect of the job. In some cases, these interactions have required me to travel worldwide for face-to-face meetings. Another interesting part of my role is in business development, which requires additional insight into both the therapy area and client needs. Through these activities, and the training provided within Adelphi, I have learnt more about the healthcare industry in general.

 

What is the company culture?

An aspect of Adelphi life that I particularly enjoy is the emphasis placed on teamwork. Each project has a dedicated team, with all members working together to ensure delivery targets are met. As part of the standard working practice at Adelphi, all work is reviewed by another team member. This provides an opportunity for constructive feedback for continuous improvement and the development of relationships within the team.

Outside the office I like to stay active, which is easy to achieve at Adelphi with a gym on site and regular lunchtime classes. I have recently taken up triathlon, completing my first Olympic distance race last year, and so am trying to fit in swimming, cycling and running wherever possible. My main form of exercise, however, is keeping up with my nine-year-old daughter! My time at Adelphi has thus kept me active in body and mind, and I would suggest that for individuals with an enjoyment of science, and an aptitude for writing, medical communications is an avenue worth considering.

 

Published: October 2017