It’s nearly 3 years since the start of my adventures in the world of medical communications and I can honestly say that switching my pipette for a laptop was one of the best and most rewarding decisions of my career so far! While I enjoyed working as a research scientist – from designing experiments, discovering novel interactions and imaging cells to sharing my data with fellow scientists at congresses – it became apparent that the path ahead was unclear. I started my search for alternative career opportunities during my time as a postdoc and I was keen to find a role that would put my PhD to good use and maintain my passion for science.
I wasn’t aware of medical communications until I attended an ‘Introduction to MedComms’ event organized by Peter Llewellyn and realized that I had been looking for exactly the types of roles discussed. After a couple of interviews, I secured a position as an Associate Medical Writer at Oxford PharmaGenesis. Leaving academia behind was daunting, but I was pleasantly surprised by the support and friendliness of my new colleagues at Oxford PharmaGenesis.
I was involved in live projects from my very first day and during my second week I helped to develop slides for an upcoming pitch to win new business. You’ve probably heard that no two days are the same in medical communications, and they really aren’t! There is such a variety of work to get stuck into, including not only manuscripts, posters, abstracts and slide decks but also advisory board reports, congress reports and even podcasts. I’ve also had exciting opportunities to be part of pitching teams and, more recently, to contribute to the development of a series of virtual webinars for healthcare professionals caring for patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As well as developing scientific communications, I have also contributed to Open Pharma. Open Pharma is a not-for-profit collaborative project facilitated by Oxford PharmaGenesis; it brings together pharma, publishers, academics, regulators, patients and societies to improve the pharma publications model and to increase transparency, accountability, accessibility and discoverability of research. Through my involvement with Open Pharma, I have become more confident talking to clients, have been able to conduct my own research and present it at a congress, and have co-authored a position statement advocating open access that was covered by The Telegraph.
Overall, working in medical communications means that my thirst for knowledge is continuously being quenched – not only in the scientific sense but now also from a business perspective. I thrive on the challenges that each day brings, and I particularly enjoy developing materials that convey the latest research because I know that they will one day benefit patients. Working at Oxford PharmaGenesis has been a fantastic experience – I have been provided with invaluable support and training, opportunities to develop in my role, and a wide variety of work.