Aug 9, 2020 | E014 Vicky Sherwood on Leaving a Tenure Track: How To Start as a Freelancing Medical Writing PhD?

Dr. Vicky Sherwood has a very unique personal story as she decided to leave academia as an established Principal Investigator. She holds a PhD in Biosciences from the University of Nottingham, UK. During her studies she worked on understanding the interplay between DNA tumor viruses and the host innate immune response. She then went on to do a couple of Postdoc projects, including one at Lund University in Sweden. During this time, she developed an interest in understanding the molecular basis for the development of metastatic skin tumors. This interest led her to start her own research lab in 2011 in the UK, where she ended up as a Principle investigator at the University of Dundee. Her research group worked on the development of novel therapeutic treatments for the deadliest forms of skin cancer.

Despite her academic career track, Vicky had always harbored an interest in taking the plunge to experience life beyond academia and discover what else was out there. In 2017 she went for it, and made a career transition into the medical communications field. Here, she works on developing a variety of promotional and non-promotional materials for the cancer immunotherapy market. Her experience from this transition has sparked a personal interest in career opportunities for STEM researchers. Since January 2018, Vicky has published her own blog (, revealing insights into the career transitions from research scientist to industry professional. The aim of the blog is to help researchers answer some of the challenging questions they face when considering an industry career. Questions such as; “What skills do I have that are useful in industry?”, “How does the work culture differ compared to academia?”, “Will I enjoy working in a company compared to academia?” and “What kind of opportunities are available to me?” to name a few. In this endeavor, she hopes this resource can provide much needed support for career planning by STEM researchers. In this webinar, Vicky shared her impressions from leaving academia as a PI, her first steps in the field of Medical Communications, and talked about plans for her blog. She also gave us a lot of general career advice for easy career researchers. 

Vicky’s blog Biomed Badass:
Vicky’s blog Biomed Badass’ Twitter account:

Vicky’s LinkedIn profile:

Please contact Vicky if you need some advice with respect to: (1) Working in Medical Communications, (2) General career advice for researchers working in STEM who are looking for options outside academia. 

The episode was recorded on 9th August, 2020. This material represents the speaker’s personal views and not the views of their employer(s).


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