Paddy Hadoke

Paddy completed his doctorate in biology/life sciences at Strathclyde University. From there he took on a series of contracts, and is now a senior academic fellow in pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh developing his own research team.

The following text is a transcription of a career story collected by interview.

"My name is Paddy Hadoke, I'm a senior academic fellow in pharmacology. It's a bit of a mouthful, and I work for the University of Edinburgh. It's a research job so it involves a combination of designing and implementing research projects and teaching graduate, undergraduate, and visiting students, and also supervising post doctoral research scientists.

"During my PhD I would think that the career path I wanted to follow became clearest after building on experiences I'd had up until that point. I've always followed my own interests really, I've been very much taken with the biological sciences and sciences generally. I did pretty well at O-level and got O-levels in all the sciences that I needed. I then went on and did A-levels which didn't go so well. I spent a bit too much time playing rugby I think, and enjoying myself, so I had to have a couple goes at my A-levels, which limited my choices a little bit.

"I went to do a degree in applied chemistry at what was then the Newcastle Polytechnic. Which I fell on my feet with really, ‘cause it was a fantastically hands-on course. We spent a lot of time in the lab, actually getting practical experience of doing lab work. The other thing was that part of that degree was a sandwich year in industry. That was a big factor in my deciding that what I wanted to do and what I needed to do was go on and do a research degree. And eventually I took a PhD in Glasgow, at Glasgow Strathclyde University, and that was studying the effects of a technique that's used to reopen occluded arteries in the heart.

"A lot of academic pathways in the university system are based around research primarily rather than around teaching. I had a fairly naïve idea that you became a postdoc after your PhD, did a couple of positions and then a lectureship would turn up from somewhere. And, that seemed to be as much career structure as there was. And actually, there isn't anything like that, you go into it, you try and keep yourself going by getting positions, getting grant funding, getting fellowships and the anticipation is always that something permanent will become available to challenge for.

"Around about 1997, 1998, I moved from working at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh to the Western General.

"That was a big decision, at the time because I was moving disciplines slightly, I was moving erm disease processes that I was investigating, and I decided to take on something that wasn't, didn't have secure funding so I actually spent a year on monthly contracts. And during that time, my PI and myself were applying for funding to get me enough money to do the projects that we wanted to do. And that came right down to the end of that year that actually we got our last option in, that we got a grant in. If we hadn't got it funded we'd probably have had to change direction then.

"Since I came to Edinburgh, I've been lucky there have been people like Professor Brian Walker and Professor Jonathan Seckle who I have worked with, before that Professor Peter Hayes, who have all been incredibly supportive. What I am looking at is developing my own research team which will allow me then to get my own central funding.

"Getting funding is the constant in all of our work I suppose, that you have to apply for funding to allow you to do particular projects that you are interested in doing. My intention when I was at school would have been to try to get into medicine, erm that was really sort of knocked on the head by my A-levels. And so there was a certain amount of when I went from A-levels to Newcastle, making the best of what I could. And surprising myself really by how much I enjoyed the applied chemistry course at Newcastle. But I don't think I would have ever seen myself going into a research position, because I knew very little about it to be honest. I really enjoy my job, its great fun. I think anybody you speak to in research will say to you, that it's not a job it's a vocation."