Earlier this year, Scimcon announced the launch of a new Graduate Recruitment Programme, aiming to attract new talent to our team. We’ve partnered with Sanctuary Graduates, a recruitment agency specialising in sourcing talented graduates for suitable roles within a variety of industries.
Joscelin Smith is one of our newest recruits, and Scimcon’s first graduate consultant to join us through the programme. We sat down with Joscelin to discuss her background, what led her to Scimcon, and what her experience has been like as a graduate joining the Scimcon team.
Science has always been a passion of mine, so after studying Biochemistry at Bristol University, I went on to work as a Research Assistant at Cambridge University, where I focused on Immunology. I then travelled to Auckland, to complete my PhD on the cardiac nervous system.
It was during this time that I started experimenting with software and coding, which really piqued my interest. This shifted my career trajectory towards a role that incorporated both science and technology, which is of course something I’ve been able to explore working at Scimcon.
I had a good idea of the type of role I was after, so after talking to and sending my CV to Sanctuary Graduates, the team put me in touch with Scimcon, who really matched what I was looking for. The interview was quickly set up, and the whole process was very smooth and painless, with a frequent channel of dialogue and updates from the Sanctuary end.
As a Graduate Information Systems Consultant, a large part of my role is helping clients implement various systems and software, such as SDMS and LIMS. I also help clients to problem-solve and alleviate any issues they are having with this process. I have been working in this role for around 6 months, which has mostly been a training period so far, shadowing multiple people across various roles. This has included working with Geoff, Scimcon’s Co-Founder and Principle Consultant, on a digital transformation strategy day, during the early stages of our work with a new client. I found this fascinating as it showed me how Scimcon can add real strategic value to clients. I have also worked with our Informatics Project Manager Lynda Weller, as well as Jon Fielding – one of the Project leads here at Scimcon. Being able to work with different colleagues has been very interesting and provided extremely useful insights into the role, as well as Scimcon in general.
The prospect of problem-solving first attracted me to this role, and being involved in the resolution of a particular issue for a client has been really rewarding so far. I didn’t know exactly what to expect but the project management has also emerged as a really enjoyable aspect of the job. Having worked in the lab myself, I really see the value in Scimcon’s mission to help make laboratory workflows more efficient.
As I’m familiar with a lot of the systems we work on, I can translate my experience in the lab to my role at Scimcon, working on design and implementation.
I am finding it incredibly fulfilling working for a company which is trying to bridge that gap and give more time back to scientists. I believe this process is invaluable and is something I am proud to be working on.
My previous lab experience was helpful to evaluate different career paths, and ultimately I am pleased that it has led me to my role as a Graduate Information Systems Consultant for Scimcon. I am really looking forward to advancing my career within the company and in the short term I am hoping to gain more exposure to different projects and the different systems we work with.
To read more about how Sanctuary Graduates are helping to provide Scimcon with talented candidates to add to our expertise in data informatics, read our previous blog.Trends in the lab informatics landscape in 2023?
With our sponsorship of SmartLab Exchange Europe and US earlier in 2023, and our sponsorship of FutureLabs this week, we’ve developed a view of key insights on what is happening across the lab informatics industry, and where priorities lie for lab-centred organisations globally. We have also provided insight into the areas budget-holders are looking to invest in new technologies.
Attending conferences globally means that our team can provide key insight to share with fellow informatics peers. Face-to-face interactions provide an opportunity to receive instant feedback and insight into lab informatics trends, which we can extract valuable data from.
Having spoken to delegates in North America and Europe this year already, we have identified some of the high priority investment areas for lab informatics in 2023 by comparing what is important to event attendees, who include representatives from leading pharma, biotech, material science, crop science, FMCG, and food companies. Of the global companies who attended, more than 120 people were polled:
Figure 1 represents the data from both SmartLab Exchange Europe and US, to give an overall view of lab informatics priorities across the entirety of 2023 thus far:
The graph also demonstrates other key lab informatics investment priorities (from the EU and US summits), and these include:
We can see a real trend towards intelligent systems this year, as data consolidation and reusability take centre stage and budget-holders looks towards automation, both physical and within software systems, to reduce the risks of human and manual errors. This isn’t a trend that’s isolated to a particular lab sector either – we’re seeing similar trends across all sectors.
Extracting feedback from delegates at conferences in all geographies means we can identify patterns in the data in order of priority. While Figure 1 highlights high priority investment areas, Figure 2 shows exactly what delegates at SmartLab Exchange Europe and US are planning to assign budget to in the next 12 months:
From Figure 2, we can see that immediate investment priorities for SmartLab Exchange Europe and US attendees are as follows:
From both events in both geographies, we can see that automation and digitalisation rank highly in terms of investment priorities for 2023. Laboratories are technologically innovating to suit growing capacity and speed to market. Automation also substantially reduces the risk of human error, as repetitive and manual tasks can be carried out with ease using automated solutions.
We also learn that lab users are prioritising areas such as lab scheduling, method development, data governance, connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). As throughput expectations increase for labs around the world, the need to digitalise and streamline operations is more prevalent than ever. The aim of many laboratories is to increase efficiency within the lab, and digitalisation acts as a catalyst in this process.
You can find our team between Wednesday 31st May – Friday 2nd June at FutureLabs Live, where we’ll be developing more lab informatics insights from fellow sponsors and guests. Stay up to date with our LinkedIn, to be notified of other tradeshows Scimcon is attending this year.
Visit Scimcon at the event and contact us directly to book a conversation, to learn more about how we can support your lab informatics projects.Meet Scimcon: Lynda Weller?
My journey with Scimcon began in 2021, as an Informatics Project Manager. I was approached by Scimcon’s recruitment consultant regarding a must-see role for the business. This arrived at what felt like an inopportune time for me, as I was relocating to Cornwall with my family.
After completing several interviews and meetings, I secured the project management position. My first project at Scimcon was managing a laboratory information management systems (LIMS) deployment to the UK government Lighthouse Covid-testing laboratories for a major life science instrumentation vendor.
The Lighthouse LIMS project lasted for around a year. The Scimcon Co-Founder, Geoff Parker, then presented another project opportunity to me, which began around a month later, in May 2022. My role involved providing Information Systems project management, business analysis, as well as client engagement and consultancy to a major biotech based in the Netherlands.
I enjoy the continuity that Scimcon offers. I like to work on longer assignments and, although I work remotely, being part of a team of like-minded people is a refreshing bonus. In my previous roles, I have worked independently at different locations with no company support. At Scimcon I’ve been able to form lasting work relationships.
The current project I’m working on is scheduled to be completed next year (2024), we have carried out the work in phases to ensure that each aspect of the client brief is being met. Working from my home office with visits to the client’s site as required means that I can work flexibly, and I am supported by the Scimcon team of experts who can be contacted when I need some extra help.
My background is in software and programming, working with life science organisations to roll out informatics projects and IT services. Prior to working with Scimcon, I had been an independent contractor since 2009, helping an array of companies to meet their software goals. My first contract was with Johnson & Johnson, which took around twelve months to complete. It was very structured; the client already knew what documentation and training consultancy they required. I then moved on to Takeda, which progressed from a three-month initial contract to a longer contract, and eventually for a couple of years as a permanent employee. My time with the company came to an end as they closed the offices I was employed in.
Remote working is something that has benefitted my new lifestyle in Cornwall. Home-office working has become much more acceptable – especially now we have the appropriate technology at our fingertips to ensure that work is carried out efficiently without sacrificing the personal touch. I visit the client’s site at regular intervals, as needs arise, and it makes a refreshing change to meet the remote team face-to-face.
We moved to Cornwall to be closer to our family and we spend a lot more time with them enjoying the fantastic area we now call home.
Our house was a couple of miners’ cottages and dates back to the 19th century. It has been renovated previously but we have continued with them and now turn our attention to the garden.
My husband and I love motorcycle touring. You could say we took our gap year later in life, touring Europe, the United States and many other destinations. We also take part in long distance rallies which has enabled us to travel to some of the most scenic places of the world, capturing authentic photography along the way. I ride pillion and to help us remember our adventures we document them on our website.
I love to read on my kindle, my favourite genre is fantasy and I enjoy reading personal stories such as biographies (motorcyclists, pop stars, even the rogue Ronnie Biggs). I went to see Miriam Margolyes in her Dickens women’s production, and she set me the challenge of reading the entire Dickens collection. It took me a year but I succeeded, though it’s something I wouldn’t want to do again!
My favourite travel destination is New Zealand. During our ‘gap year’ we went with one of our friends, hired motorbikes and just rode round, booking accommodation as we went. We had fantastic weather (which I understand might be unusual!) and really enjoyed riding in the beautiful scenery.
Ironically, I wouldn’t describe myself as a particularly tech-oriented person. I am one of those people that needs to do something three or four times, then it sticks. I can pick things up when it comes to software, as I started my career as a programmer. I use my PC and headset for daily work duties. My phone also stays with me for mundane activities.
I have a lot of technology throughout my home, including a large television with surround-sound speakers, an Xbox, Firestick, a Shield, and numerous Sonos speakers around the house. The best part is that we have a universal remote control for all our TV devices. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop me from clicking the wrong button now and then, especially where it’s a touch screen.
Nonetheless, I do love tech. I use a kindle to read, which goes everywhere with me. As soon as the pre-Kindle e-readers came out we started using them on our bike tours – imagine trying to fit 30-40 books in the panniers! I love that I can read in bed without a light and have the text as big or small as I like.
Working alongside Scimcon has enabled me to implement my skills and industry experience, to provide the highest quality information systems (IS) consultancy for our clients and customers. My longstanding relationship with Scimcon is one that I am proud of, pioneering the way to make science more connected.
For more company news and updates, follow Scimcon on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/scimcon/Scimcon launches Graduate Recruitment Programme, partnering with Sanctuary Graduates to meet business needs?
Those of you who have been following Scimcon will know that in 2022, we launched our first ever Graduate Consultant Scheme, to bring fresh new talent into the lab informatics consultancy industry, and to help us expand our business by training the next generation of consultants. As we move through 2023, we are proud to announce that we have partnered with Sanctuary Graduates to launch our official Graduate Recruitment Programme, sourcing new talent to join our specialist team of lab informatics consultants, to globally support informatics programmes and projects.
Lab informatics plays an increasingly important role in delivering novel solutions to the challenges faced by modern laboratories. Scientific labs continue to become increasingly technologically driven. In the lab informatics arena existing technologies such as LIMS, ELNs, SDMS and complex instrumentation are now joined by digital transformation programmes not to mention the push to benefit from AI and ML advances.
Scimcon passionately believe that it is the responsibility of organisations like ours to facilitate the development of the next generation of specialist consultants and project resources.
Scimcon aims to contribute to this development goal by working with Sanctuary Graduates to bring new graduates into the lab informatics domain, to train from the get-go in the skills, knowledge, and project experience needed to build roles in the informatics business.
Successful applicants to the new Programme will receive in house training, and will build their experience by shadowing our ‘fully-baked’ consultants within life sciences, FMCG, and material sciences projects globally.
This opportunity allows new graduates to get their foot in the door of the world of lab informatics consultancy. Learning how to succeed in a wide range of projects from single systems implementations, such as LIMS/ELN, to rolling out central data management strategies across organisations, through to full-scale digital transformation projects. This unique opportunity results in successful candidates learning the role by actively being engaged in projects.
The team at Sanctuary Graduates is partnering with the Scimcon team to deliver the perfect candidates for the programme. With close relationships to universities across the UK, the Sanctuary team helps to bridge the gap by working closely with Scimcon, to learn more about the calibre of candidates the Scimcon team are looking for in new graduates – covering everything from academic background, to personality, and geographic location.
The Sanctuary team doesn’t just stop there. They reach potential candidates through a variety of digital and social platforms to provide an initial talent pool as wide as possible. This includes speaking with society leads at universities who pass job ads to members, advertising on platforms like Milkround and Indeed, and using LinkedIn to access a wide range of candidates entering the job market online.
In the same way that data is at the heart of what Scimcon does, data is also at the heart of Sanctuary’s business – candidate data is stored centrally together with very specific attributes. By working closely with Scimcon, Sanctuary can filter applicants by these attributes, with the goal of shortlisting the perfect candidates for interviews.
“There are a few key traits and qualifications we’re looking for when it comes to taking on new graduates within our programme” explains David Sanders, Head of Operations at Scimcon. “Of course, a background in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is the baseline requirement for us, and a good technical understanding in computer sciences or similar being highly desirable. We appreciate that graduates straight out of university will not have extensive industry experience, but academic background together with a willingness to learn and contribute to the success of Scimcon is what we’re looking for in a candidate.”
He continues: “There are other skills that differentiate one candidate from another. Proficiency in communication is key. We look for people that are confident, presentable, and able to demonstrate that they would be comfortable in a customer setting. The successful candidates will be exposed to client projects very early in their training, so it is important that they are inquisitive, are not afraid to ask questions, and can propose creative solutions to help resolve our clients often complex problems.”
Alex Antoniades, Graduate Campaign Manager at Sanctuary Graduates, shares more insight on what Sanctuary is looking for when recruiting candidates for Scimcon: “Working so closely with David has been really helpful, as he’s provided clear communication throughout the process, and we are fully aligned on what candidates need to be able to offer. Another key factor for candidates to consider is location – while many roles have moved to full-time remote, it’s clear from our conversations with Scimcon that on-site presence is necessary for a Graduate position, due to the technical nature of the work and the training required. This is something that we have made clear to candidates throughout our recruitment process – this isn’t a role that can be done from home from the outset, and candidates need to be willing to travel into the companies offices and globally to clients sites. It’s completely understandable for this role, and the great thing about Graduates is that many of these candidates are often fresh out of university, ready for a new start, and aren’t tied down to a particular location. It’s an exciting opportunity for Graduates ready to kick off a new career in an exciting and important sector.”
For more information about Scimcon’s Graduate Recruitment Programme, potential candidates are advised to reach out to the Sanctuary Graduates team via the website, or by contacting Alex Antoniades at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also recommend following us on LinkedIn to stay up to date with what Scimcon is working on.Learn more about Scimcon and the extensive lab informatics services and consultancy we provide.?
By working with lab-based companies and organisations, we aim to make science more connected, which we achieve through over 20 years’ experience in the laboratory informatics. Our consultants come from scientific backgrounds, which means we understand the lab environment and day-to-day concerns. This also means we can help to deliver complex projects more smoothly, and ensure project success.
To better explain the role we play in lab informatics projects, we’ve created a short video to offer insight into the services we provide, and explain how we can support lab centred organisations with digital transformation, IS strategy, informatics projects, maintain compliance, and more.
Watch the full video here and share with your colleagues to help solve their lab informatics challenges:
Our team at Scimcon is made up of a talented group of interesting individuals – and our newest recruit Ben Poynter certainly does not disappoint!
Ben joined our Scimcon team in July 2022 as an associate consultant, and has been working with the lab informatics specialists to get up to speed on all things Scimcon. We spoke to Ben about his experience so far, his interests, background, and what he hopes to achieve during his career as an informatics consultant.
So, I studied Biomedical Science at Sheffield Hallam University, which was a four-year course and allowed me to specialise in neuroscience. During my time at university, I created abstracts that were presented in neuroscience conferences in America, which was a great opportunity for me to present what I was working on. My final year dissertation was on bioinformatics in neuroscience, as I was always interested in the informatics side of biomedical science as well.
Once COVID hit, I moved into code work, and worked in specimen processing, and then as a supervisor for PerkinElmer who were undertaking some of the virus research. When things started to die down, I began working for a group called Test and Travel (not the infamous Track and Trace initiative, but a similar idea!). I started there as a lab manager, training new staff on lab protocols for COVID-19, and then a month into that I started working more on the LIMS side – which is where I ended up staying. I wrote the UAT scripts for 3 different companies, I performed validation on the systems, I would process change controls. I then moved to Acacium as LIMS lead there, so over the course of my career I’ve worked with a number of LIMS and bioinformatics systems, including LabWare 7, LIMS X, Labcentre, WinPath Enterprise, and Nautilus (ThermoFisher Scientific).
In the early stages, I would have to say it was when Jon and Dave led my first interview, and Jon asked me a question I hadn’t been asked in an interview setting before. He asked me ‘who is Ben Poynter?’. The first time I answered, I discussed my degree, my professional experience with LIMS and other informatics systems, and how that would apply within Scimcon’s specialism in lab informatics consultancy. Then he asked me again and I realised he was really asking what my hobbies were, and how I enjoyed spending my free time. Since starting at Scimcon, I’ve been introduced to the full team and everyone is happy to sit and talk about your life both inside and outside of work, which makes for a really pleasant environment to work in. Also, it seems as though everyone has been here for decades – some of the team have even been here since Scimcon’s inception back in 2000, which shows that people enjoy their time enough to stay here.
I’ve been given a really warm welcome by everyone on the team, and it’s really nice to see that everyone not only enjoys their time here, but actively engages with every project that’s brought in. It’s all hands on deck!
So, my main hobbies and interests outside of work are game design, as well as gaming in general. I run a YouTube account with friends, and we enjoy gaming together after work and then recording the gameplay and uploading to YouTube. We are also working on a tower defence game at the moment, with the aim to move into more open world games using some of the new engines that are available for game development.
In addition to gaming and development, I also enjoy 3D printing. I have a 3D printer which allows me to design my own pieces and print them. It’s a bit noisy, so I can’t always have it running depending on what meetings I have booked in!
Technology is a real interest of mine, and I’m really fortunate to have a role where my personal interests cross-over into my career. The language I use for game design is similar to what I work with at Scimcon, and the language skills I’ve developed give me a fresh perspective on some of the coding we use.
At the moment, I’m working on configuration for some of the LIMS systems I’ll be working with at customer sites, which I really enjoy as it gives me the chance to work with the code and see what I can bring to the table with it. Other projects include forms for Sample Manager (ThermoFisher Scientific), making it look more interesting, moving between systems, and improving overall user experience. It’s really interesting being able to get to grips with the systems and make suggestions as to where improvements can be made.
My first week mainly consisted of shadowing other Scimcon lab informatics consultants to get me up to speed on things. I have been working with the team on the UK-EACL project, which has been going really well, and it’s been great to get that 1-2-1 experience with different members of the team, and I feel like we have a real rapport with each other. I’ve been motoring through my training plan quite quickly, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the different roles and projects I’ll be working on.
I’d really like to get to grips with the project management side of things, and also love to get to grips with the configuration side as well. It’s important to me that I can be an all-round consultant, who’s capable at both managing projects and configuration. No two projects are the same at Scimcon, so having the capability to support clients with all their needs, to be placed with a client and save them time and money, is something I’m keen to work towards.
For more information about Scimcon and how our dedicated teams can support on your lab informatics or other IS projects, contact us today.