PhD Physics (1986), BSc Physics (1983)
Try and pick a career that will mean that you enjoy going to work.
I remained at the University in the Physics Department as a Research Associate in the Medical Physics research group for 61/2 years, obtaining my PhD during the first 3 years of that time. I then joined the patent profession, initially at the MOD, then DEFRA at the RSRE Site in Malvern, then at Massey Ferguson tractors near Coventry. I moved into private practice at Forresters in 1994, and have been a partner in the firm since 1998. I am a qualified UK Patent Attorney, European Patent Attorney and UK Trade Mark Attorney, although these days I specialise in trade marks and designs and no longer undertake patent work.
What is the best thing about what you are doing now?
The variety of subject matter and the challenges it offers. This is a very satisfying career, (and well paid).
How has your PhD helped you in your Career?
It is necessary to have a technical background to enter the patent profession, in order to be able to deal with the technical aspects of the work. As a lot of time can be spent dealing with the inventors it can be very helpful to have an understanding of the research and development process. Being that bit more mature than new graduates can also be a real advantage at interview.
What advice would you give to current PhD students?
Try and pick a career that will mean that you enjoy going to work. You spend far too long there for that not to be the case. If your first choice does not work out the way you hoped do not be afraid to change – do not cut stuck in a job you hate. Money really is a secondary consideration to happiness and satisfaction.