Dr Liz Dickinson completed her Daphne Jackson Trust Fellowship in 2018 and is currently a research associate working on a three-year part-time Knowledge Transfer Partnership between the Department of Mathematics in York and Croda.
Liz first approached the trust in 2015. Previously she had completed a PhD and brief postdoctoral position at the University of Leeds before taking a career break to start a family. Liz had been out of research for 6 years by this point and with her youngest son starting preschool Liz felt this was the right time to return to her career.
Initially Liz approached her former Supervisor at Leeds University who recommended the Daphne Jackson Trust as a way to return to research.
“I went online that night and couldn’t believe my luck when I saw an advertisement for half sponsored Fellowships funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry.”
Liz’s previous research involved techniques such as NMR spectroscopy however, the retraining Fellowship was an opportunity to focus on ‘chemometrics’, the aspect of Liz’s previous research that she had found most interesting. Liz approached Dr Julie Wilson at the University of York.
“I immediately started to look for a group that researched chemometrics – statistics and pattern recognition applied to chemical numerical data. This was an aspect of my previous research that I had found interesting. I was extremely happy to find that Dr Julie Wilson, at the University of York, had such a group. I arranged to go and see her and was pleased to find that she had projects in mind on which I could collaborate with her.”
Liz started her Fellowship in 2016 which was co-sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry and BBSRC. Liz’s project used a model system to identify particular genes or chemicals within the pea plant metabolism that are responsible for resistance to fungal infection and drought.
During the first year of her fellowship Liz spent time retraining in research techniques and gaining experience in chemometrics using data from example studies such as Manuka honey. During the second year, Liz then applied the techniques to interrogate novel project data and develop new methodologies. Alongside her research Liz was retrained in Chemometrics, statistical modelling and attended the Daphne Jackson Training courses alongside other Fellows.
“The courses also provided an opportunity for Fellows to meet up, which I think were some of the most helpful times of my fellowship – networking with other researchers who have been in exactly the same position was fantastic for everyone’s confidence, but also an opportunity to discuss ideas for career progression and networking for future collaborations.”
Liz was able to disseminate her work at conferences, presenting posters at York University and RSC organised conferences, she also attended the biannual Daphne Jackson Trust conference where she presented her work as an oral presentation in 2017. Liz published three peer reviewed research papers from her Fellowship including two first author papers.
During the final months of her Fellowship Liz was able to take part in a pilot study enabling her to collaborate with other members of the University and generate results that were then used for further funding applications. Liz now works part-time as a Post-Doctoral Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate on a successful grant application by her Fellowship supervisor Dr Julie Wilson, and Croda.