Ashley Hayes – Random42

Ashley Hayes is a fourth-year PhD student at the University of Sheffield who spent 3 months working remotely for Random42 Scientific Communication, a company that specialises in 3D medical animations and scientific storytelling.

The featured image displays the logo for Random42 Scientific Communication

What did you do?

I did my PIPS remotely with Random42 Scientific Communication. This company create 3D medical animations, in addition to virtual reality, augmented reality, and interactive experiences for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.

During my PIPS, I was a member of the science team, whose role is to ensure that medical animations are detailed, scientifically accurate and tailored towards the target audience. I had a wide range of responsibilities during my placement. This included conducting background research for projects, writing and referencing scripts for the animations, and putting together storyboards for the in-house animation team to use. I also sat in virtual meetings with the production team and the clients, which I really enjoyed.

I was involved with several projects, which were mostly based on the molecular processes underlying disease, and the mechanism of action of drugs. Several projects were on the go at once, and were completely different to each other, which kept things interesting for sure. No two days were ever the same! I got to see projects from the initial concept meeting with the client, right through to the final animation that was produced, which was very rewarding.

What made you want to do that particular placement?

A talk run by the BBSRC initially interested me in this placement. The talk was based on PIPS at Random42 and was given by the medical director of the company, Elly. She discussed in detail what a placement with the company would involve and also gave insight into the different types of careers within medical communications. This really inspired me, as did a blog post written by Sarah Gratton, who previously did her PIPS with this company.

How did you go about finding and planning your PIPS?

I contacted Random42 via the email address that Elly gave during her BBSRC talk, letting her know that I was interested in doing my PIPS there. Elly replied to my email, setting up a meeting shortly after to discuss a potential placement. During the meeting, we discussed in more detail what the placement could involve and discussed potential start dates. It was all straightforward, Random42 were very flexible on when I could start and planned it around what was best for my PhD, which I really appreciated!

What have you gained from doing your PIPS?

From my PIPS, I’m now a lot more certain that I want a career in medical writing. I’m also more confident that I’ve developed the skills and experience required to start a career in this field. I also feel like I’ve gained skills which will help with the final year of my PhD, such as thesis writing and presenting my work – which is always a bonus!

How would you sum up your PIPS experience?

I really enjoyed my PIPS experience. I found my role within the company to be varied and interesting and I got to learn so much in such a short amount of time. I’m appreciative of the science team at Random42 for giving me this opportunity.

What advice would you give to other PGRs about PIPS?

Don’t put off your placement! There may never be a perfect time to go, and it is well worth taking this time away from your research to develop skills and experience that will benefit your career. I had a really good placement and I know the company are looking for more interns to start soon as their busy period is coming up. I couldn’t recommend it more, lovely host organisation!

Editor’s Note: You can find information on how to apply to do your PIPS with Random42 here.