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Jennifer did her PhD at Nottingham, and then worked as a postdoctoral scientist for eight years, first at the Medical Research Council at Harwell and then at the University of Oxford, on a series of short term contracts. She didn’t think that her publication record was strong enough to apply for a fellowship, so looked for work outside academia.

Portrait of Jennifer AndersonBackground

at the time of the interview – December 2014

Jennifer is an Athena SWAN advisor and facilitator. At the time of the interview she worked for the Medical Sciences Division. She is single. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

Extended biography

at the time of the interview - December 2014

Jennifer enjoyed science at school. She went to the University of Aberdeen to study biomedical sciences. In 2001 she moved to the Scottish Agricultural College, where she worked as laboratory assistant. She decided that this type of work would have limited career progression so in 2002 she moved to the University of Nottingham to do a PhD, looking at cancer cell adhesion.

After her PhD, Jennifer became a Postdoctoral Research Scientist, employed by a Primary Investigator who was based at the MRC Radiation Genome Stability Unit at Harwell and then in the Department of Oncology at the University of Oxford. The work was funded by US Department of Energy Low Dose Radiation Research Program. It was investigating radiation induced DNA damage and repair. Over a period of eight years Jennifer was employed on a series of short term contracts.

... I was very nervous about leaving the lab, but ... I’m still using a lot of the skills that I learnt in terms of ... data analysis, communications, ... writing documents

When the Primary Investigator retired Jennifer had to look for another job. She didn’t think that her publication record was strong enough to apply for a fellowship, and although she looked for other postdoctoral positions she also looked for work outside academia. She really wanted a job with a bit more stability and long term employment.

At the time of this interview, Jennifer is working as an Athena SWAN advisor and facilitator in the Medical Sciences Division. This work has many aspects, but primarily involves guiding departments on the Athena SWAN process and sharing good practice. For example, Jennifer runs divisional workshops to facilitate the sharing of good practice, and she also runs a mentoring scheme for researchers across the Medical Sciences Division. She enjoys the work but she is on another short term contract while another woman is taking maternity leave, so she is looking for other work, and hopes to continue working on Athena SWAN matters.