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Why did you choose to become a scientist or persue a career in health data research?

Today, 11 February, is International Day of Women and Girls and Science and we’d like to hear from you, our health data research community, about your experiences of being a woman in science.

Throughout the day, we’ll be posting a series of questions and discussion points right here on our forum – please feel free to respond with your thoughts at any time, everyone welcome.

First up, whether you’re an academic, a data scientist, a health care worker or a data controller, we would love to know why you chose the career pathway you did.

  • What motivated you to follow a career in science?

  • Did you ever doubt your abilities?

  • What would you consider your biggest achievement and biggest failure?

Please share your answers below! (simply login or sign up and hit the blue reply button).

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I’ve worked in science my entire career (I’m new to the health data science though) and for me it’s curiosity and discovery. I like finding things out and attempting to understand them. It doesn’t matter that I don’t get everything – it’s the wanting to learn more that counts. Science, and data science, is so powerful and constantly evolving, it’s truly fascinating to me, especially considering the past, present and future impacts of scientific progress and discovery on society.

My biggest failure is also my biggest achievement. I quit a PhD 2.5 years in. I probably disappointed quite a few people, but I knew my skills we better elsewhere (although I loved learning how to be a practicing scientist, I was pretty rubbish at it). I failed to achieve the qualification but I am super proud of myself for making the (right) decision to stop.

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What a great conversation starter! I’ve always had a passion to work for a charity and contribute to something that makes a difference and following the pandemic, the motivation to follow a career in health data research is even more prominent! I’d love to know how many different and varied roles there are out there within the Women in Science community!

My background is slightly different as it is marketing and analytics (and not science) so although I work for Health Data Research UK, I do sometimes suffer from imposter syndrome and doubt my abilities! However, I have to remind myself that I bring a different skillset to the table - which is a good thing.


I’m in the same boat as @stephanie.parrott where I don’t come from a Science background at all (I come from an events management background), but I am so passionate about trying to make a difference to people’s lives, which, I feel, is what really matters. But it doesn’t stop me from feeling out of my depth most of the time, as health data science is so vast a subject, that it’s very difficult to grasp even the basics!

I have always had close family and friends around me (including myself) who suffer from various serious health conditions, and it’s exciting to be living in a world where there are always new breakthroughs due to readily available health data. So this is what keeps me going!