So what do you do?

One thing I took away from the ECR Awayday on the 2nd of July 2019 in Manchester was how to answer the question. The day was all about learning new skills to pursue a career in academia or industry.

Dr Simon Brown led the session on building and perfecting a verbal business card. As researchers, we tend to get into the technical know-how of our research so it becomes difficult communicating our research to anyone not familiar with the subject or outside our research field. If working on a project that can be commercialised, it is very important to provide just enough information to generate interest without giving out your intellectual property. So the format for a good verbal business pitch is:

‘<My product> helps <who> solve <what problem> and offers <what benefits>.’

Before the day, I had mentioned to a few people that I was always reluctant to talk about my research because of how boring it might make a conversation but at the end of the Awayday, I was definitely not reluctant. Obviously practice is essential to perfecting it. This reminded me of the ‘Communicating for Impact’ workshop I attended last year where building a profile as a researcher is highly dependent on exposure of your work – basically communicating your work to people in ways they understand. Again, I have recently developed an interest in technical writing so this is an opportunity for me practice all of these.

Another session we had was the ‘How we got to where we are now’. We heard from four people who had built CCS related careers in academia and industry. It was enlightening and an opportunity to see where our research could take us. Take home points from this session include:

  • Know what inspires you and follow it.
  • Be active in your career. Seek opportunities and embrace them.
  • Change does not equal failure and it is nothing to be afraid of.
  • Imposter syndrome is common, always remember the first point (what inspires you).

The final session was on making UKCCSRC applications (more opportunities available to us and how to make the best out of it.

In general, the entire day was highly motivating and renewed my drive. So now I am actively seeking more opportunities than before.