Dr John Tregoning
Senior Lecturer, Imperial College London
How many years have you been working in this sector?
What do you like the most about your job?
Independence, flexibility, seeing an idea from inception to completion, colleagues
What led you into your current role or career?
I took a very standard route – science degree, PhD, Post Doc, Lecturer
What are the career progression options in this role?
Academic Promotions to Reader and then Professor (hopefully)
What are the most important skills and experiences that have got where you are today?
Clear written and oral communication: to write grants and papers, to give conference speeches.
People management skills: as a PI you are leading a group, more than doing lab work, you need to get the best out of your team, which often means delegating work and trusting others.
The ability to absorb and process information quickly: there is a deluge of data, papers, grants, meetings minutes, CVs, exam marking all of which needs to be done, if you can read quickly, you can get more done.
Inquisitive outlook: when you cut away all the other bits, the job is about the science, you have to be fascinated by it to put up with all the other bits.
Any tips or advice you would give to someone thinking of going into this type of career?
Academia is extremely rewarding, but it also challenging. There are lots of hurdles, disappointments, setbacks, rejections, crises and disasters. Brilliance, a perfect postdoctoral publication record and green fingers in the lab will only get you so far; you need persistence, resilience and stubborn determination in the face of these challenges. My other tip would be to take time to step back and enjoy what you are doing: if it isn’t fun, there are plenty of other ways to work hard for a living, many of which pay more for fewer hours!