Graduate SCI Scholar Interview Paul Brack

For over thirty years, SCI has supported and recognised the excellence of early career people, by aiding their studies in the form of an SCI Scholarship.

Since 1985, over 68 scholarships have been awarded which have not only given the recipients financial assistance, but have enabled them to broaden their network as well as strengthen their skills and knowledge. SCI Scholars receive access to publishing and mentoring opportunities and are given a platform to present their work amongst esteemed scientists and industrialists, thus raising their profile within the scientific community. In the past eight years alone, SCI has generously bequeathed over £115,000 of its charitable funds to SCI Scholars and the scientists of the future.

Paul Brack received an SCI Scholarship in 2014. Below he tells us what being an SCI Scholar has enabled him to do.

What has the Scholarship from SCI enabled you to do that would not have been possible otherwise?
The Scholarship has provided me with funding for a range of activities which have enriched both my academic studies and my exploration of possible career paths such as science writing and patent law, and which I would not have been able to afford otherwise. For example, I was able to present my research to MPs at the 2015 SET for Britain event at Westminster and at the 4th Nano Today conference in Dubai in December 2015, and complete an online course on patent law with WIPO.

What has been the most valuable part of receiving the Scholarship?
Networking! Becoming a part of the College of Scholars and being able to interact with senior figures from various parts of the chemical and chemical-related industries at SCI events has been hugely beneficial to me. It has also been great to meet with the other SCI Scholars on a regular basis.

Which achievement are you most proud of in your academic career so far?
In June 2016, I was awarded the Loughborough University Graduate School Research Student Prize for outstanding academic achievement. I think the kudos attached to me having received an SCI Scholarship and the various activities in which it allowed me to participate greatly helped towards me being awarded this prize.

What impact do you think receiving the Scholarship will have on your future career?
Simply having been awarded the Scholarship is clearly a major boost to my CV. However, I feel that my involvement with SCI has made me more aware of career options, both in academia and in industry, and has given me connections in both areas, and I think this knowledge and these connections will be a major help going forwards in my career.

What next?
Later this year I will spend 3 months working at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. After that, several options present themselves to me. I may look to undertake a Post-Doc with a view to applying for Fellowships and starting an academic career, I may look to secure a job as a research scientist in industry, and I am also very interested in the roles of patent attorney and academic editor. We shall see...

Is there anything else that you would like to highlight or note about your SCI Scholarship?
I would simply like to thank SCI for their focus on giving great opportunities to early career scientists.

Paul Brack
SCI Scholar 2014-16

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