The annual ICR Student Conference provides an opportunity for our students to hear from external speakers and present their research. The gathering was held online and took place in February, providing our students with the chance to come together as a peer group – which was especially important this year due to pandemic restrictions limiting chances for this type of networking.
The event, which was organised by our PhD student committee, was themed on ‘Precision Medicine in Cancer’ and included talks from three eminent speakers who provided their perspectives on developing treatment solutions that are tailored to genetic changes within a person’s tumour.
Our students also enjoyed a careers session, providing an opportunity to network with speakers working in a variety of scientific or clinical careers across different sectors – including industry, academia, not-for-profits and the NHS.
Some of the speakers were alumni who shared details about their career experiences after completing their studies at the ICR:
- Isla Furlong, a patent attorney specialising in advising start-up companies and academic institutes on biopharmaceutical patent issues.
- James McLaughlan is currently an associate professor at the University of Leeds where he specialises in developing novel technologies for cancer imaging and therapy.
- Juanita Suzanne Lopez is a Consultant Medical Oncologist at the joint Drug Development Unit at the ICR and Royal Marsden, specialising in early-phase translational drug development and the treatment of patients with brain tumours.
- Emanuela Cuomo, Associate Director in the Early Oncology department in AstraZeneca.
Students had informal conversations with the four different speakers in small group sessions, allowing them to ask them about the pros/cons of their job and the challenges they faced on their chosen career path.
AnneMarie Knill is a second-year PhD student who is studying the application of whole-body MRI for patients with malignant melanoma. She explains why meeting our alumni was a beneficial experience:
“It was really good to see the variety of careers people had gone into from the ICR. Although I have a general idea of what I want to do, it was really nice to see the breadth of what people have gone on to do and also how enthusiastic they were about their chosen careers. I think that really came across in what they said to us and it was really inspiring to talk to them. I found it really useful!”
Our students gain valuable research skills during their studies at the ICR and have strong employment prospects. Some 91% of our non-clinical graduates move directly into active scientific research roles, with 3% going into science and research-related roles. Of those in active scientific research roles, 88% are in academia and 12% are in industry all over the world.
Many of our clinical alumni also manage to remain engaged in research. Our recent clinical alumni survey revealed that 98% continued to be research-active in their first role following speciality training. Their involvement covers a range of activities, most commonly with clinical trials and radiotherapy/imaging.
If you are an ICR alumnus and would like to get involved with student events and inspiring a new generation of students, please let us know at [email protected].