Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.
12 Dec 2017
Science and technology evolve together, each pushing the boundaries to enable new discoveries and cutting-edge research. But despite the critical contributions of technology skills specialists, their roles and careers are often overlooked. Thankfully that’s changing – helped by the Technician Commitment and recent Research Councils UK statement – as Kelly Vere, Technical Skills Development Manager at the University of Nottingham and Higher Education Engagement Manager at the Science Council, explains.
Kelly Vere. Image credit: University of Nottingham
It’s often forgotten that science is a team sport. Everyone has a part to play, including a group of staff particularly key to the majority of research teams: the technologists.
So who are the technologists?
Technologists are a crucial part of scientific research teams. They make critical, intellectual contributions to research by providing core technical excellence and by maintaining and developing new technologies and methodologies. [...]
Continue reading: Times are changing for technologists
24 Oct 2016
SUSTAIN is a year-long programme of training, mentoring and peer networking for women in science. With the programme now open for new applicants, clinician and researcher Dr Alessia David gives us her experience of SUSTAIN.
I joined the SUSTAIN programme at a crucial moment in my career. It was during the final year of my MRC fellowship and I was due to make major decisions about my next steps. I was feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of delivering high-quality research, building a successful career in a competitive environment and raising two little children. [...]
Continue reading: SUSTAIN: a programme for women researchers
5 Oct 2016
We’ve been working with seven other medical funders to create a ‘funding view’ of the interactive career map. The ‘funding view’ will help you find which grant or fellowship is the right one for you. During his three-month MRC Policy Internship Andrew Eustace, PhD student at the University of Bristol, helped us test the map. Here he explains how it will help with career planning.
After months of thesis writing I begin to catch a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Like all students at this stage, I’m starting to think about what to do next. Do I pursue a career in academia, industry, or leave science altogether?
A career in scientific research can mean short-term contracts and long working hours. Despite this, you might, like me, still be inspired by scientific research and so assessing the postdoctoral job market.
Once you’ve made that choice, it is almost time to make another: what will you do after a postdoc? [...]
Continue reading: Taking the funding view to find the grant for me
16 Sep 2015
Dr Donald J. Davidson is an inflammation biologist and MRC Senior Non-Clinical Fellow at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research. Here he tells us about his working life, and why he considers communicating research just as important as doing it.
Career in brief
- Medical degree, followed by two years as a lab technician
- Self-funded part-time PhD in cystic fibrosis pathogenesis at the MRC Human Genetics Unit
- Four research fellowships, including four years in Canada
I never really mapped out my career. The main thing that brought me into science was a natural curiosity – I always want to know how things work. Planning is important, but it helps to be flexible and I’ve taken opportunities as they’ve arisen, even if they’ve seemed a little unconventional at the time. Everyone from my clinical professors to my bank manager thought I was making the wrong choice when I gave up my clinical career, but it was the correct decision.
Despite my clinical training I follow a non-clinical scientist route now. I’d really enjoyed science at school, but I felt that I should do medicine. There was lots of rote learning, I didn’t enjoy the way the course was taught, and ultimately I wasn’t convinced I wanted to be a doctor, so I left medicine when I graduated in 1992. I did return briefly to complete my clinical training in order to get a clinician scientist post – but by then I had discovered medical research science! [...]
Continue reading: Working life: Dr Donald J. Davidson
18 Mar 2015
At the moment, researchers have a certain number of years after their PhD to apply for MRC fellowships, after which point they’re ineligible. But is a ticking clock the best way for scientists to flourish? Here Simone Bryan, Programme Manager for Strategic Projects here at the MRC, explains why we’re removing time-bound criteria from our fellowship applications to help give people the time they need.
One of the best things about my job is getting the chance to meet so many brilliant and talented researchers who are doing jobs they love. But, for all its wonder, pursuing a research career is competitive and challenging.
In particular, moving from being a postdoc to an independent investigator in your own right is hugely challenging. It’s usually done by securing a personal fellowship which pays your salary and research costs. [...]
Continue reading: Science doesn’t only need sprinters
23 Apr 2014
Did you know that the MRC has an independent charity? While we are funded by taxpayers via Government, the Medical Research Foundation (MRF) is funded directly by charitable giving. Here Director Dr Angela Hind tells us about the MRF and its aims to fund early-career researchers at crucial points in their scientific lives.
The Medical Research Foundation is all about people: the people who choose to donate money, the people being helped by the medical research we fund, and the people whose careers we enhance by providing funds when they most need it.
A major part of our strategy is to fund the next generation of research leaders to tackle today’s research questions, improving human health and developing the careers of the most talented at the same time. [...]
Continue reading: What is the Medical Research Foundation?