As Research Communications Officer for the charity Breast Cancer Now, Reading graduate Edd Jones is tasked with making the complicated world of medical research not only understandable but also something people want to support and raise funds for.
He credits both his undergraduate and master's at Reading in aiding him with the skills needed to understand research and to communicate this effectively to the public.
Working in the world of medcomms
Edd's role sees him collaborating with researchers and scientists to write and publicise research materials and statistics for external communications that support the charity's fundraising efforts. But he didn't always plan to go down this route.
“My original plan was to go into research full-time and perhaps complete a PhD but after my master's, I thought I would take a break and work for a bit.
”At first, I worked in medical marketing but wasn't too keen on this as a job as I didn't particularly enjoy the corporate feel of medical marketing. But this led to what I am doing now, it wasn't a conscious decision, but I'm very happy with the route I've taken. Sometimes it's just best to be open to opportunities!"
Edd chose his new job because he enjoys being hands-on and seeing his work have a positive effect on people.
“Working in a charity is such a privilege. Knowing I'm helping people and that my work has a direct impact on people's lives is a huge highlight for me!"
Molecular medicine as a foundation
Edd reflects on his time as a student at Reading and commends the MSc Molecular Medicine course for providing a research-led teaching experience and the opportunity to acquire highly sought-after skills.
These include scientific writing, analytical skills, and the ability to communicate findings and complex information verbally and in writing. This meant that, upon graduation, Edd was in a strong position to enter the dynamic field of medical communications.
“My master's covered so many different topics that were cutting edge. My keen understanding of how different techniques work and how the research landscape could change have helped me with my current role.
“Understanding what researchers do daily, both in and out of the lab, has also helped me develop great relationships with the researchers that we fund."
The flexible nature of the course meant that Edd had a practical and theoretical understanding of a variety of topics ranging from human diseases and regenerative medicine to synthetic biology and research techniques.
“The variety of subjects that the degree covered almost certainly helped me be more employable as I develop a wide range of versatile skills.
“Working so closely with researchers at Reading helped. I felt like a colleague rather than a student. Tasks such as the day-to-day running of a lab, working with PhD students and understanding how funding works have helped a huge amount."
Memorable moments at Reading
Edd took advantage of all the opportunities available to him during his time at Reading, including utilising the careers support.
“I received help with developing my CV, interview skills and also my course helped me to decide what I like and what I don't."
He also immersed himself into student life by doing extracurricular activities.
“I was vice-president and social secretary of the Biology Society and I loved my time in the position. But my master's was a great time too. It was tough work, but I made friends for life on that course."
Edd shares his words of wisdom for new students:
“Just work hard and have fun. University is an amazing time to learn what you're passionate about and make some incredible friends. Work your hardest, try your best and opportunity will do the rest."