Winner of Gold Medal in the Engineering session at SET for Britain - Patricia Pérez-Esteban Interview

8 Apr 2016

Patricia Pérez-Esteban is an SCI Member and previous Rideal travel bursary winner. She is a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Bath and a member of SCI’s Biotechnology as well as Colloid and Surface Chemistry Groups.

Photo: Gold Award in Engineering Winner Patricia Pérez-Esteban. Courtesy of John Deehan Photography

You were awarded an SCI Rideal travel bursary in 2013 - how have things changed for you since then and what is now happening in your career?

I was awarded the SCI Rideal travel bursary in 2013, and this was in a way a boost of confidence in order to apply for various other things, including the SET for Britain poster competition. I can humbly say that my career is at its peak so far; I finished my PhD about a year ago and started working as a postdoctoral research assistant straightaway, in a project that I actually love. Sadly, it finishes in a couple of months, and I am currently looking for jobs in academia.

Can you tell us more about your current project?

I am currently working as a PDRA at the University of Bath in an industry-academia joint project funded by the NC3Rs, Innovate UK and EPSRC, developing a new model that better predicts how much of a compound crosses the skin and enters the blood stream due to the use of hollow fibre membranes that mimic capillary blood vessels.

Why did you decide to present a poster at SET for Britain?

I applied for SET for Britain because I consider that the research we are conducting in this project has a potential impact on people’s every-day life. It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the findings in my research group, and also a fantastic event to promote the quality of the research in the Department of Chemical Engineering in Bath.

Can you describe your experience of being at the event? How do you feel about winning a Gold medal in the Engineering exhibition?

Winning the Gold medal in Engineering is an honour that I cannot even begin to describe. It does not only recognise the value of the research itself, but also my ability to communicate science to a non-specialist audience, which, in my opinion, is key for an academic career. It was the best recognition an early-career researcher could have. The fact that I was shortlisted to show my work in Parliament was an honour on its own, but most of all receiving such positive feedback from the judges, MPs and my fellow researchers was the strongest reinforcement to continue my dream of pursuing a career in academia. I had the opportunity to meet excellent scientists, and learn about the fascinating research that is conducted in the UK. I strongly encourage all researchers to apply and participate in this wonderful event in the future. I can only be grateful for the opportunity and for the support that my colleagues, family and friends have shown in the process.

What are your onward plans in your research and career?

My aim as an academic is to become an independent researcher with my own research group, combining some of the things that I did during my PhD and my current work. I am currently looking for jobs, either postdocs or fellowships, in order to gain some more experience and pursue my career goals.

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