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New career case studies published

Research Councils UK (RCUK) are always eager to motivate coming generations to choose a career in research and, with that in mind, have today published a further set of career case studies designed to inspire those who are considering research as an occupation.

The case studies give personal accounts of how each individual got involved in research, what influenced them to do so and some in-depth information into the research itself.

The case studies highlight the opportunities research skills can give, not only in academia but also in the wider world of business, industry and commerce. The skills gained from a research career are highly sought after by increasing numbers of national and international companies working with UK researchers.

Dr Scott J Dalgarno, Institute of Chemical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, really knew that academia was for him after the publication of his first paper.

He said: “When I was at school, and particularly during my A-levels, I found that I had a good understanding of chemistry. I was lucky in that I had two very enthusiastic chemistry teachers, which undoubtedly helped me develop a passion for the subject. I also enjoyed my undergraduate degree in Leeds and decided that a PhD was the logical step; this was strongly encouraged by my supervisor who remains an incredibly enthusiastic chemist. My time at Leeds as a postgraduate research student was thoroughly enjoyable and after publishing my first paper from my work I got a real taste for the life in academia.”

Dr Jasjit Singh, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science University of Leeds, has seen his research make him a regular on the BBC discussing religious issues.

He said: "Through my research, I have a strong and ongoing relationship with the BBC Religion and Ethics department, and have become a key contact for programmes about Sikh issues in the UK. I have been invited to speak about my research on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Beyond Belief’, have contributed a number of times to ‘Pause for Thought’ on Radio 2, and the Sunday Programme on BBC Radio Leeds. I have also appeared on the Sikh Channel and Panjab Radio."

For Dr Suzie Sheehy, ASTeC Intense Beams Group, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, it is the thirst for knowledge, the ability to experience new things and educating others that does it for her.

She said: “The thing I value most about my job is that it isn't ordinary. When I make progress, I know I'm contributing to human knowledge for the good of everyone. I love being able to travel and learn about other cultures - I go overseas between two to four times a year, including exciting trips to China and Japan (I love trying new food!). It’s also satisfying talking to the public and to school students, and getting their feedback on what I'm trying to achieve.”

New case studies will continue to be added to the site to promote the wide variety of careers available in research as well as demonstrating the multitude of routes to those careers that young people can pursue. We would like to encourage anyone with an interesting research career story to get in touch with us to be considered as a case study. Please email

RCUK believes that inspiring the next generation to consider the value of a career in research is vital to ensure that the UK maintains its world-leading position, providing critical contributions to the economy and the pressing challenges facing society.

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Further information

Nicholas Turner
Press and Communications Manager
Tel: 01793 444592 or email: Nicholas Turner

Notes to editors

Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils who annually invest around £3 billion in research. We support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK. To maintain the UK’s global research position we offer a diverse range of funding opportunities, foster international collaborations and provide access to the best facilities and infrastructure around the world. We also support the training and career development of researchers and work with them to inspire young people and engage the wider public with research. To maximise the impact of research on economic growth and societal wellbeing we work in partnership with other research funders including the Technology Strategy Board, the UK Higher Education funding bodies, business, government, and charitable organisations.

The seven UK Research Councils are:

  • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC);
  • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
  • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC);
  • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
  • Medical Research Council (MRC);
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);
  • Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

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