Category Archives: Careers

In which horizons expand

Every career probably has a tipping point. Twenty-seven years after embarking on my PhD, a period riddled with false starts, uncertainties, twists and turns, I sense the shifting of weight beneath me and momentum gathering as I start to swing … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Careers, Research, The profession of science | 2 Comments

In which we are unlucky: on lab superstitions

I was thinking the other day that if academia were a mental illness, it would be bipolar. One day it treats me well: a student shows me an experiment that shows great promise. I have a spirited chat with a … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Careers, Research, Scientific thinking, Silliness, Staring into the abyss, The profession of science | 5 Comments

In which I lose my tubes, and other manifestations of lab rustiness

When you’re a young scientist, it’s the done thing to poke gentle fun at the lab head for being out of touch. For example, when I was a graduate student, we’d all pretend to be horrified whenever our boss, wearing … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, Research, Scientific thinking, The profession of science | 4 Comments

In which I embrace the literature

I think I’ve earned a five-minute break. I’ve been working hard to ready myself ahead of a big interview for a significant funding scheme. I’m being subjected to a series of mock interviews, and I’ve been reading as much as … Continue reading

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In which I avoid the topic

I have been downtrodden this week, struggling to stay afloat in this erratic and stormy sea we call academic science. I suspect there is a post in there waiting to get out, but I am too blue (and overworked) to … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, Silliness, Staring into the abyss | 1 Comment

In which the small fish contemplates the bigger pond

The wandering path of my unconventional scientific life is about to shift yet again. It’s with mixed feelings that I report another lab move – same Division, another new campus. The retro digs in Bloomsbury, with its polished hardwood trimmings, … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, Staring into the abyss, The profession of science | 2 Comments

In which the forest emerges

The clocks have gone forward, the crocuses wither, the tulips unfurl. The students have dispersed for Easter, full of dread about the immunology exam that will pounce on their return. Budding life forms I put one grant application to bed … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, Gardening, Scientific thinking, Staring into the abyss, Students, Teaching, The profession of science | Comments Off on In which the forest emerges

In which the postdoc sell-by date continues to shrivel: The MRC comes to its senses

How do you judge the worth of a researcher? In particular, can you tell how excellent she is by how quickly she gets from point A to point B in her career? The funding bodies used to think speed was … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, science funding, Staring into the abyss, The profession of science, Women in science | 1 Comment

In which I grapple with my Inner Imposter

I’ve been thinking a lot about Imposter Syndrome this past week. It’s no surprise why: several funded positions have come up in the department recently, and the process of applying for science-related personal funding always brings out the worst feelings … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, Staring into the abyss, The profession of science, Women in science, Writing | 17 Comments

In which the season turns

London is in the throes of springtime, and everything is in bud. Last year this time, my belly was swelling ever bigger in pregnancy. Now, my son – nearing the seven month mark – grows so fast that he seems … Continue reading

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