Life Sciences Marcomms Manager

Andrea Herb

Job title:
Life Sciences Marcomms Manager

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Can you tell us a bit about how you came to be in the job you are currently in?

After finishing school I completed an undergraduate degree in Biology in Germany (MSci) and a PhD in Biomedical Research in Scotland. Since starting my PhD I thought about alternative ways to use my scientific knowledge and curiosity rather than pursuing a post-doc laboratory based career. I undertook some long-distance journalism training and also published some articles. After completing my PhD I was able to move into the role of market communications for Life Sciences Businesses in the Highlands and Islands.

What attracted you to this area of work?

Rather than doing the lab work myself I enjoy communicating scientific achievements and discoveries made by other people.

In what ways were you encouraged or discouraged to pursue your chosen career? Please explain further.

My biology teacher was very enthusiastic about the subject and that encouraged me to study it. At the end of my time in school I was sure I would enjoy biology, but there seemed to be only little knowledge among teachers and guidance staff about what you could actually work as afterwards.

Did you encounter any barriers trying to pursue your chosen career along the way?

It was expensive to study.

What subjects did you study at school/college/university?

In my last two years in school (in Germany) I focused on Biology, French, Maths and History. Other subjects I enjoyed and found really useful were Chemistry and Spanish.

What attracted you to taking those subjects?

I was always very interested in Biology, especially in Genetics and molecular topics. Chemistry is closely linked to this of course. It was (and is) exciting to learn about the amazing things that are going on all around us and also inside of our bodies.

What advice would you give to other girls and young women who are thinking of pursuing the same career as you?

It would be useful to research the different jobs that you could do later on after finishing your studies. Many people use their qualifications in unexpected ways and branch out into different fields (e.g. communication) that you might not think of immediately.

Finally, in general why do you think less girls and young women study science, engineering and technology subjects?

I think some are being put of by the perception that these subjects are difficult. (Subconscious) prejudices amongst teachers and parents might also discourage some. Especially with engineering the day to day job is seen as dirty and not that appealing.

Life Sciences Marcomms Manager