|Strategic Evidence Officer|
|Cancer Research UK|
|Charity and voluntary sector|
|Large business (250+ employees)|
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A day in the life of a Strategic Evidence Officer in the United Kingdom
Cancer research has always been an interest of mine, and as I progressed through university I warmed towards health policy, rather than biomedical research in the labs.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
Cancer Research UK is a leading charity funding cancer research,dedicated to working collectively to save more lives, create more tomorrows and dispel the fear of cancer.
What do you do?
I work in the Policy, Information and Communications directorate at Cancer Research UK, in the Strategic Evidence team. I monitor and collate the emerging evidence to inform and drive forwards with our Early Diagnosis initiatives, with aim to improve policy and practice to achieve earlier diagnosis.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
Studying Biomedical Sciences gave me plenty of time and breadth of knowledge in the area of health research. Cancer research has always been an interest of mine, and as I progressed through university I warmed towards health policy, rather than biomedical research in the labs. I chose elective modules in my final year with the Public Health department at York, and found some public health work experience opportunities which confirmed my interest to pursue a career where I can contribute towards positive changes in policy, to drive health gains.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
No, I always had an interest to work in the third sector.
Describe your most memorable day at work
My most memorable day is probably a negative one, the rest are all good! It was when the pandemic started and we had an all-staff talk, and were given transparency about the impact of the pandemic on the charity in terms of finances and what this meant for the research we fund. I always knew we were a leading funder of cancer research, but I think it was this day when I realised just how much CRUK funds, and the incredible gains the charity has made for patients over the past 20 years. I also realised how much of a negative impact the pandemic would have diagnosing cancers, and the experience of cancer patients across the UK...so although negative context, it was a very motivating day.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I took on several work experience opportunities - lab work, 2 public health officer placements, and an NHS communications role. I learnt a lot about the career direction I wanted to go in and some transferable knowledge, such as about the NHS and public health structure in England. I also was able to develop my relationship and team-working skills by being in multidisciplinary teams, with professionals who I would not otherwise encounter at university. I also developed new communication skills, reaching different audiences such as public and patients. I found my time participating in York Students In Schools also helped with communication skills and my adaptability, working effectively in unfamiliar environments.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
If you like the sound of a job, go for it, and be confident in your experience and abilities. Don't underestimate how much you have to show off about! I'd advise to stick with something you feel passionate about and not to settle for 'anything you can get', because I feel strongly that it is important to enjoy what you do, though there is no harm in testing yourself in unexpected areas either, as you might surprise yourself.
If you like the look of Hope’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Hope a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Hope to be your mentor.