University of Manchester Biology
Professor of Evolutionary Genomics
What industry are you in? What is your role? How long have you been in that role?
Higher Education, University of Manchester, Research and Teaching contract, Professor of Evolutionary Genomics since 2015, in the University sector since 1997.
Can you tell us about your journey to your role? Did your education set you in this direction or did you have a less conventional path to where you are now?
University degree, PhD, NERC Advanced Fellowship, Lecturer position and built up the career from there (fairly conventional path).
If you could redesign your learning and career journey to this point, would you? And if so, what changes would you make?
Perhaps I would have pursued a Medical degree rather than Biology/Biochemistry; the path to an academic career is extremely difficult and success is not just down to hard-working. Right environment, networking, timing and a degree of luck are all needed and pretty much concomitantly.
What advice would you give to women looking to move toward a role in your field, particularly those whose education and career thus far has been in a very different field?
If an academic career is what is desired than a higher degree is necessary (PhD), and then a research portfolio alongside with distinguished outputs (i.e. manuscripts) and ability to attract funding needs to be built over the years (key indicator of success).
In your experience, is there anything that you think businesses could do to be more supportive of women in the workplace? Or is there anything that you think is really positive in your workplace?
Some charities and RCUK have schemes that support specifically women in science returning back to research after a career break.
Can you tell us about any strong female role models that have inspired you in your career? These might be friends, family members, or women who have blazed the trail before you.
My mother, a tough woman, hard-working, straightforward and with great practical attitudes.
What do you do outside of work?
Walking, jogging, cooking, travelling, watching TV, networking.
Why do you think there are fewer women in your industry than men? What steps do you think will help to shift this balance?
Perhaps perception that in industry you may not have much flexibility and the right work/life balance. Better communication about industrial roles.