A career in medical communications – visit to Nucleus Global

Nucleus Global is a group of medical communications agencies that provides full in-house consulting and communications services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and to healthcare professionals. They have offices across the globe.

As well as a number of full-service medical communications agencies, Nucleus Global also has its own continuing and independent medical education companies. You can find out more about them here. To find about more about medical communications careers click here.

As an employer, they focus on recruiting people with science PhDs for both their client services and editorial roles because of the depth of knowledge and advanced scientific and research skills.  Nucleus Global continuously recruits throughout the year.

They initially require a CV which is followed by a brief phone call. The CV is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate good communication skills. It should be attractive, well laid out with perfect grammar and spelling. You should also demonstrate how your skills match the needs of medical communications.

If you are successful in the initial screening there is a writing test and usually an interview process, which is competency based.  Candidates are given one week to complete the writing test to a brief which is provided. Demonstration of effective plain English written communication is essential to success in the recruitment process.

The company places good value on activities additional to your research. This may be volunteering, taking on extra responsibilities, playing sport or other activities that demonstrate your interests and strengths. You should also consider how your values align with those of the company, which is very team oriented and wants to work with people who thrive in this sort of environment. This can be quite a contrast to the more solitary life of an academic researcher.

As a business, the company has a much faster pace than academic research but maintains the same scientific rigour and high ethical standards. Finally, as a global business, with a diverse range of clients, your people skills are highly valued and vital to succeeding.

Many thanks to all at Nucleus Global for hosting the visit and being so generous with their time and insights.

Finding a job in life sciences

The prospect of securing a job in industry can seem daunting. The process can be nuanced and non-linear, full of barriers and setbacks. Before embarking upon the journey, be prepared for some rejection and try to accept that it might take some time!

Over the last eight years, I have watched a considerable number of researchers secure roles in industry. Here are some tips, based on my observations.

 Explore all industry sectors and roles

Look at the range of functions and roles within pharmaceuticals, biotechnology companies and contract research organisations. See below for a list of organisations:

Research and development is the typical area that attracts PhDs and postdocs; within this falls drug discovery, preclinical, clinical research and process development. Drug discovery and preclinical research jobs are typical jobs for PhDs and postdocs; job titles within this area usually contain the word ‘scientist.’

Other roles include business development managers, regulatory affairs specialists, medical scientific liaison (MSL) specialists, medical writers and life science consultants/analysts. Search for roles using a variety of terms and then read the job descriptions to see if you fulfil the criteria.

 Let everyone know that you are looking for work

It is easy to keep talking to other PhD students, postdocs and academics about job opportunities but this is not going to work if you want to find a job in industry! It is vital, and common practice, to let people outside your network know you are looking for a job.

Sign up to two or three specialist recruitment companies and go in with your eyes open! Many life science companies use recruiters, especially if they want to advertise roles without people knowing they are recruiting/relocating staff. Use the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) members list to find reputable companies. The University of Kent also has a list of science recruitment agencies on their website.

Set up a LinkedIn account and write your profile in a way that will attract industry professionals and recruiters. Emphasise your area of expertise, your research techniques and soft skills such as time management and leadership skills. Illustrate your skills with evidence such as supervising undergraduates or PhD students if you are demonstrating leadership.

Know what is happening in the pharmaceutical and biotech sector

It is easier to have conversations with people if you know what’s happening in their sector. It provides you with topics of conversation and demonstrates that you are serious about making a transition into industry. Start developing what employers refer to as commercial awareness. Look at industry blogs such as The Guardian’s Pharmaceuticals Industry or the the BBSRC’s Business Magazine to stay informed about ‘all things industry.’  You can also follow relevant Twitter feeds such as @BiotechNews and @Biotechnology. Deloitte also recently published a comprehensive article on the life science industry called 2016 Global Life Sciences Outlook. Worth a read before talking to industry people.

 Meet people from industry

It is crucial to get out and meet people from the sectors in which you would like to work. This can be an overwhelming thought for ‘more introverted’ scientists. Try to develop a curious outlook, asking intelligent questions and finding out about people’s work. Approach networking in the way you approach science, making your research topic people and their careers! Be curious, listen and think about how your work and experience might fit with the work that people are doing. When you first start networking, try not to feel the pressure of trying to impress – listening and being curious can go a long way.

One way to begin networking is to set up some information interviews. This is a one-to-one meeting with someone who has a role or career in which you are interested. It’s a chance for you to ask questions, gather information, learn about job options and career paths, and ask people for help to identify opportunities in their fields. Start off by approaching ‘warm’ contacts i.e. people that you know first or second hand or people you have something in common with such as PhD/postdoc alumni from Kings. Look at the LinkedIn pages of postdocs in your group to see if they know people that have moved into industry or ask your supervisor for their contacts, if appropriate. Then approach contacts on LinkedIn or by email and ask for 15 minutes of their time to have a chat about their role and company. Book an appointment with the PhD/postdoc Careers Consultant if you need some support with this as it can be tricky if you have not used this approach before.

Look out for events that may bring you into contact with potential employers e.g. One Nucleus and OBN host various seminars, events and training for people working in the life science sector. FirstMedCommsJob.com also run networking events for people wanting to work in medical communications. YES (Young Entrepreneurs Scheme) competitions, in a range of disciplines, can give you the opportunity to gain business mentoring, meet industry experts and develop commercial awareness.

Dr. Tracy Bussoli, Freelance Careers Consultant

Doctorate Extension Scheme

WORKING AFTER YOUR STUDIES – FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

PhD students who are nearing the end of their studies can apply to stay in the UK for a further year under the Doctorate Extension Scheme, which comes under the Tier 4 route. The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) is designed to give PhD graduates from outside the EU the opportunity to work in the UK for a year once they have completed the PhD. Students who hold this visa can undertake most forms of work on a full or part-time basis, including self-employment, but cannot work as a doctor or dentist in training or a professional sportsperson or coach.

Students interested in applying for the DES are advised to start thinking about their application a couple of months before they need to apply. A new CAS from King’s is required for the DES application, and it is recommended that students request this CAS at the same time as their viva, or just afterwards. Together with completing the online CAS request form, students must also complete a declaration form, agreeing to respond to King’s monitoring emails during your time on the Tier 4 (DES) visa.

Please note: you cannot apply for the Tier 4 (Doctorate Extension Scheme) from outside the UK.

To find out if you are eligible, and for further advice, please visit the Student Advice Service’s intranet page

Research Consultancy Projects for PhD students

As part of the King’s Research Consultancy, King’s Together is seeking a post-upgrade PhD student at King’s College London to work on a sub-project as part of an exciting new project to research patient flow in a hospital environment.

The projects will commence in February 2017 and will run for around 3 months, for one day per week. The consultants will be paid £125 per day.

The closing deadline for applications is 11:59pm on Sunday 19 February 2017.

For full details, visit: http://recruit.thecareersgroup.co.uk/KingsCollege/Vacancies/VacancyDetails.asp?VacancyID=5542

Contact careers-consultancy@kcl.ac.uk or call 020 7848 1376 if you have any questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Informational Interview | 01-Mar-2017 | 17:30 – 19:00 | FWB 1.16, Waterloo

Professional Futures events are based around particular themes that we know you, as a KCL researcher, will be thinking about. They are short, informal events where the emphasis is on you thinking outside your research field and seeing how your skills and interests can be transferred into all sorts of different settings. Invest some time to think closely about yourself, your future potential; meet some fellow researchers and work with our speakers to help you develop one area of your skill set.

Book here:

https://kcl.targetconnect.net/leap/event.html?id=3559&service=Careers+Service

interview-1077974_960_720

01-Mar-2017 | 17:30 – 19:00 | FWB 1.16, Waterloo

New on-line careers resources for PhD students and research staff

scrapbook-154813_640We’ve just added some new careers resources for PhD students and research staff to our on-line library.  These are the first three collections in a series which will eventually cover all faculties.

Please click the links below for your resources:

 

Arts & Humanities + Social Sciencehttp://libguides.kcl.ac.uk/phd-resources-social-science/

Natural and Mathematical Scienceshttp://libguides.kcl.ac.uk/phd-resources-nms

Life Scienceshttp://libguides.kcl.ac.uk/phd-resources-life-science

Job opportunity – Arts & Sciences Focus Group Facilitators 

Would you like to to gain paid experience in facilitating focus groups?

The Arts & Sciences Diversity & Inclusion team are seeking PhD students who are knowledgeable of qualitative research methods and who want to put their theory into practice. We need help in running focus groups across Arts & Sciences to enhance our work on diversity & inclusion.

PhD students who pass minimum standards and complete practical training will have their details entered into the Focus Group Facilitators Register for departments to contact and commission for focus group work.

Applications close 14 February
Training confirmed for 20 February

To apply, and for further information, please Click here for the Job Spec and visit: https://kcl.targetconnect.net/leap/jobSearch.html?id=1931&service=Careers+Service

For more information on Focus Group Facilitator roles, please contact Helena Mattingley (helena.mattingley@kcl.ac.uk).