Amanda Zeffman

Amanda gained a strong understanding of the academic community and the key issues for the research and academic world through her doctorate, which was also invaluable to non-academic roles. Now she works as Senior Consultancy Associate for Cambridge Enterprise.

"I completed my doctorate at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, in 2000. My research focused on the structure of part of the HIV-1 genome. Having decided that I wanted to move out of the laboratory and develop other skills, but still remain in a scientific environment, I moved into scientific policy, working for the Food Standards Agency.

"I then had an opportunity to work in the HIV therapy area for a global healthcare market research company. I managed a team running large studies on HIV treatment patterns and worked closely with the pharmaceutical industry. In this role I further developed my presentation and networking skills and learned new skills in sales, marketing and management. Time management and analytical skills used throughout my doctorate were critical.

"I then relocated to the US for family reasons, where I continued to work for the same company on a freelance basis. On my return to the UK, I took up a role at Nottingham University School of Pharmacy, training doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers on the pharmaceutical industry and the job opportunities available. I also ran a doctoral training centre in therapeutic targets. I was therefore using my contacts and experience of working with the pharmaceutical industry in both roles.

"We relocated again, this time back to Cambridge. I now work for Cambridge Enterprise, effectively the technology transfer arm of the university, facilitating the commercialisation of technologies arising from the university community.

"My doctorate taught me to take every opportunity to learn from other people and to be self aware about what I enjoy and what my key strengths are. Carrying out research in an academic environment, I gained a strong understanding of the academic community and the key issues for the research and academic world. This understanding has been invaluable to my roles over the past nine years. Lastly: don't be afraid to take what you have learnt from one job and move it in a different direction gaining further skills."