Retraining took her to Oxford University for a PhD in public health and epidemiology. “That was my entrée to a different way of working in medical research,” she says. That was almost 20 years ago. Since then, Canfell’s career has trodden a successful, yet fairly traditional pathway for medical researchers: the PhD led to a post doctorate, which led to a research role at the NSW Cancer Council and to work on the new cervical cancer vaccine. “I was interested in helping policymakers [understand how to] implement vaccinations and combine it with cervical screening,” she says. NHMRC grant funding followed. “That was the beginning of building a team and a research program,” she says. In today’s competitive environment for research funding, careers in medical research require far more than solid scientific knowledge. “Being an independent researcher that runs their own research program and teams requires you to be business minded and quite entrepreneurial in some ways. It’s about being really well-rounded: you need to think about team management, budgeting, and to think strategically about the long-term viability of your program of work, including how to keep your team stable,” Canfell says. Roles for medical researchers exist in industry, government (including… Read full this story
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