Tiffany Wood: Distinguished Service Award 2024

20 June 2024

Launched in 2001, the Distinguished Service Award recognises the enthusiasm, hard work and goodwill of longer-serving members from all parts of the Society. This year's winner is Tiffany Wood, who will receive her award at SCI's AGM on 3 July 2024

1. When and why did you become a member of SCI?

I joined SCI in 2011 because I was interested to learn more about how our research in the physics of complex fluids could be applied to industrial problems. SCI seemed like the ideal society to join since it has strong industry membership with around 50% of its members representing industry. I was keen to be working on research projects that could have a beneficial impact on the outside world. The strapline ‘Where Science Meets Business’ met with my goals.

2. Why did you decide to get involved in committee work?

First, I joined the Scotland committee because it gave me the opportunity to broaden my network across Scotland where I am based and I enjoyed being involved with activities such as careers events which provided insights into career pathways. I joined the Membership Committee so that I could develop connections throughout the UK. It was during this time that I realised that there was not a group that focussed on formulation science, although most companies have a formulation department. As a cross-cutting area, important to a range of industries, it felt like there wasn’t sufficient space to discuss formulation challenges. SCI supported me to survey members across technical interest groups and we established the Formulation Forum, of which Malcolm Faers became Chair.

3. What has driven your continued involvement with SCI?

I feel the SCI has a vital role, bringing together people from across industry, academia, government and support organisations to share knowledge and trigger new business collaborations and innovative development projects. It also has potential to grow further as an enabler of innovation and scientific discussion between industry, academia and other groups including government.

4. How has being involved in SCI activities had an impact on your professional career?

Through attending careers events in my early days, I was able to understand how scientists moved from one role to another to grow their experiences and leadership qualities. At networking events I was able to establish collaborations with industry that brought in grant funding while I was at university. Through hearing from companies across sectors, I was able to understand fundamental challenges common to all sectors that warranted investigation to help develop solutions. As a result of this, at the University of Edinburgh, we developed and patent-protected a new technology, DAINtech, for providing excellent stability to formulations using biocompatible materials and avoiding synthetic polymers.

5. How do your SCI activities reflect your personal/professional interests?

As my career has progressed from being a postdoctoral researcher in physics, to an academic focused on knowledge exchange with the formulation industries and then to co-founder and CEO of a biotech and animal-health focussed start-up company, I have moved between groups and have found an Interest Group (or set one up) within SCI that brings together like-minded people with shared challenges in science and business. This is enormously useful for gaining advice and ideas and extending my network so that I am able to solve challenges in my work. I enjoy participating in SCI since I find the group very diverse in its thinking and welcoming to all.

6. What motivates you to participate in SCI activities?

I like to participate in SCI activities because it is an excellent way to keep up to date with latest advances across sectors. Now that I am Chief Executive of a start-up company, Dyneval Ltd, with an innovative technology for characterising colloids and microorganisms, I enjoy connecting with potential collaborators, customers and large cooperates. For any scientist, whether they are an academic research or in industry, I believe it is important to continue to remain curious and learn and there is always something to learn at a SCI event.

7. How do you think that your contribution has helped shape SCI?

The SCI relies on volunteers to work together to shape SCI so it always a collective effort. Contributions can come in the form of group leadership or simply in the form of contributing ideas and supporting group activities, all of which is essential to success. Success can be measured by the number of attendees, positive experiences and increased membership. I am proud to have contributed to the growth of groups, e.g. The Scotland Group and the Formulation Forum and am delighted to see them grow from strength to strength with leadership and contributing members. For the future, I look forward to contributing to the Science and Enterprise Group supporting a new programme for SMEs within SCI.

8. What are your thoughts about receiving a Distinguished Service Award?

I am honoured and proud to receive the Distinguished Service Award. There are so many volunteers who contribute to SCI over many years and I am hugely appreciative to all those who give up their time and have supported the activities I have been involved with over the years.

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