July 2002
Vanessa Woodhead
I never really had any firm ideas as to what my career path would be – after a BSC in Microbiology I went on to do a PhD in Immunology – thinking that I might follow a career in lab based research. This was a great experience teaching me lots of valuable skills, but I quickly became disillusioned with lab work – with the experiments that didn't work for no apparent reason, the potential to lose a whole month's work by dropping it on the floor, and the lack of permanent funding meaning that scientists are continually applying for the next grant. However, I was relatively lucky in that my research started producing results in year 2 and I was able to take advantage of conferences in Japan and America to do some travelling.
Once I finished my PhD I started applying for any biological science based job that wasn't actual lab research, resulting in a job in the NHS as a Research and Development Co-ordinator at Wrightington Hospital in Wigan. This was a completely new position that the Hospital had set up in order to help both the hospital as a whole and individual consultants obtain research funding, and was somewhat of a challenge as I was making the job up as I went along. One of my first tasks was to write my own job description! I had to learn all about the intricacies of NHS R & D funding (how to obtain and spend it!), assist the consultants in their own research, and try and attract pharmaceutical companies to the trust to perform their clinical trials – a lucrative business.
After nearly a year and a half I got engaged and needed to move further South, thus I found myself with a job in clinical data management with Amgen, where I have been for the last 2 years. I soon joined the PRSC, as I knew from first hand experience about the lack of information about careers in CDM and I wanted to help do something about it. I took on the Chair role about a year ago, our meetings are lots of fun and it is great to get a chance to meet other ACDM members at other companies. Last year was a very big year for me – I got married and bought a house – all in the space of six months. My spare time is spent in the garden, playing tennis and bridge, and drinking the odd glass of wine.
Vanessa Woodhead
Chairperson, ACDM Public Relations Sub-Committee