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Spotlight: Dr Polly Douglas, Grant & Communications Manager


Tell us a fun fact about yourself


I am a wild swimmer, and enjoy getting into the local lochs for a quick dip!


Tell us about your career journey so far


My career has changed a number of times. Biological sciences has been the basis to all of my different jobs, but I have worked with insects and crop protection in Australia, identifying marine life in Wales, medical devices in Glasgow, studied fish farming in Stirling and trained as a nutritional therapist. I currently work from home in a biotech related job. I love learning about different elements of biology, but the skills I use each day are more to do with organising and planning. Transferable skills are really important, don’t underestimate how useful basic computing, and even video editing can be.


What was your favourite subject in school and why?


My favourite subject was Biology, particularly the environmental elements, I wasn’t so interested in humans. I always enjoyed the applied elements of science, how can that be useful? How can that help? When I was at school I was worried about the environment and wanted to protect it. I felt the best way to do that was to learn more about how ecosystems and nature worked.


What subjects/qualifications are useful in your role?


I studied environmental biology and then did a PhD in fish parasites (aquaculture). I later studied human nutrition, and now I work in a company feeding fish. I have changed careers lots of times, but somehow I have found a job which combines all of my interests. Even though these jobs seem unrelated, I learned a lot about communication, organisation, planning, relationship building during all of them, and these underlying skills mean that I can be flexible in the jobs I do. I enjoy learning about new topics and enjoy the challenge of moving on to new things.


What is your favourite thing about your job?


My job is different every day, and I enjoy that. Although I work from home, I ‘meet up’ with colleagues on-line regularly and speak to partners all over the world. I like meeting new people and companies and thinking about ways in which we can collaborate in the future.


What is a normal day in your role like?


I usually start at 8am, with a cup of coffee and I check emails and my diary for the day. I will attend meetings (on-line) and reply to emails. A big part of my job involves communicating between different research partners and funding bodies. I will be writing reports, ensuring we are doing the work we are expected to be doing, planning for future events and meetings, writing and giving presentations about what the company does.

Due to COVID it has been difficult to travel, but my colleagues are based in Nottingham and in the Netherlands. I get to meet them once a month, and it’s good to get away from home and see people in real life.



And what does your job title mean?


My job title is Grant & Communications Manager.

The company I work for has been awarded research grants in order to develop the technology they are commercialising (making the science into a business). This means that we asked the government for money to do a number of research tasks. In order to be given that money, we need to prove that we have completed the tasks. My colleagues are doing the research, and my job is to report back to the government and let them know what we have done.




Suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?


To learn more about the work that Deep Branch does, please watch this video:

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/deepbranchbio_innovation-collaboration-circulareconomy-activity-6831469613574950912-U_ic


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