Profile: Claire Lucas – scientific information professional
Little did I know, when I joined Cambridge AWiSE in January 2012, that one year later I would be working as the group’s Coordinator! It was a talk on confidence by Kate Atkin which had caught my eye, and encouraged me to become a member. The evening was a fantastic introduction to the group, both in terms of the quality of the meetings and calibre of the speakers, and the friendliness of the members.
I first moved to Cambridge in 1983, via an Environmental Science degree from UEA and an MSc in Environmental Technology at Imperial College. I spent eleven years at the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), running a scientific literature alerting service for a number of clients in the chemical and allied industries. I left the RSC in 1999 and set myself up as a freelance scientific information specialist. One of my early clients was Cambridge Display Technology (CDT), where I worked two days per week on contract, becoming a part-time employee in 2008. At CDT, my work expanded to include patent searching, and my searches covered anything from light-emitting polymers to ink-jet printing or device structures.
In 2014 I decided I needed a new challenge, and I was delighted to be appointed as one of two new Research Information Officers at Alzheimer’s Research UK. My colleague and I operate a helpline set up to provide information to the public about dementia and the diseases which cause it. We also help people to get involved in dementia research, in an initiative set up by the charity in partnership with the NHS and the Alzheimer’s Society. My role also includes responsibility for producing and updating the charity’s dementia information leaflets.
Sadly moving to my new full-time role meant giving up my Coordinator duties in May 2014, which was hard. But I have no doubt that the skills and experience I accumulated as Coordinator helped me to make the move into a more challenging and satisfying role. Once again Cambridge AWiSE has been a victim of its own success! I’m still taking an active role in the organisation, as a steering group member.