Lewis Hancock – Certara Simcyp

Lewis Hancock is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield who undertook a 3-month PIPS within the Simcyp division of Certara. Certara develops biosimulation and technology-enabled services to transform drug discovery and development, working across all therapeutic areas, including immuno-oncology, rare disease, CNS, respiratory disease, gene therapy, and global health, providing translational solutions from discovery to patient access. To find out more about Lewis’ PIPS experience check out our latest PIPS case study.

Where did you go and what did you do? I undertook a placement at Certara Simcyp where I worked on building a data resource that could be used to estimate useful toxicokinetic parameters. This data resource was assembled using large pre-clinical databases and involved communication with a server API.  

What made you do that particular placement?  I had never considered a job in data science due to lacking a strong foundation in the field. However, because my PhD project involves a heavy computational element, I felt confident enough to try it out and was very pleased with how the placement went.  

How did you go about finding and planning your PIPS? I contacted a former lecturer at my University, who ran the data science modules in my 3rd undergraduate year, who introduced me to computing. He had left the university to pursue data science in industry so contacting him seemed a good fit. His email address was obtained through a current university lecturer.

What have you gained from doing your PIPS? I now know that I don’t always require a solid foundation in what career path I wish to start, but that the transferable skills developed throughout my PhD can benefit me greatly when starting something unfamiliar. This has helped to open my eyes to a greater variety of applicable career paths.  

How would you sum up your PIPS experience?  I enjoyed the experience greatly and it has provided a fantastic insight into the world of work beyond academia.  

What advice would you give to other PGRs about PIPS? When choosing your PIPS placement, don’t feel too constrained by what you currently know. Just because you are unfamiliar with a field, it does not mean that you are without useful skills that can be applied. PIPS can be a useful way to “try out” an unfamiliar, yet interesting, career choice.