Research and Development in STEM
A career in research is not just within academia. Scientific research and development (R&D) takes place in many contexts, from large companies to charities, government departments to hospitals. You could be applying your research expertise for doing fundamental research, developing future technologies, making scientific ideas a commercially viable reality, developing and refining manufacturing processes, or innovating medical solutions. There are many ways to be at the forefront of research and development!

This session will feature speakers who have PhDs from disciplines across the physical and life sciences and from different industry contexts who have continued their research beyond academia.

Dr. András Sándor, Principal Scientist, MoA Technology: I am a Principal Scientist at MoA Technology, where we are looking to develop brand new herbicides to combat the ever-growing threat of herbicide resistance (similar to the spread of antibiotic resistant germs). My job primarily revolves around investigating the mode of action of herbicide candidates, by using established methods (e.g., proteomics or transcriptomics), as well as developing completely novel assays. Previously, I did my MSci in Genetics at UCL, and a DPhil in Synthetic Biology at the University of Oxford. During the latter, my research focused on building compartments inside plant cells and functionalizing these as a tool for plant synthetic biology.

Dr Bill Wright, Energy Modelling Analyst, Aurora Energy Research: Working in the Modelling team at Aurora’s Oxford office, my job is to develop and maintain the code we use to model electricity markets across the world and investigate potential decarbonisation pathways towards Net Zero. I love that I still get to use the same skills from my time in academia modelling cosmological structure formation under modified gravity scenarios, but now applied to one of the most urgent issues facing society. After an MPhys at Durham University, I did a PhD in Cosmology at the University of Portsmouth and then a 3-year postdoc at Queen Mary University of London.

Dr Neville Yee, Research Software Engineer, Rosalind Franklin Institute: As a Research Software Engineer at the Rosalind Franklin Institute, my role is to develop and maintain computational tools for processing cryo-electron tomography data. I did a BSc in Applied Physics at the Hong Kong Baptist University, and completed my MSc and PhD in Physics at the University of York (UK). My PhD research focused on the physical aspects of DNA-drug interactions. During my time at York, I had taught in various undergraduate theoretical physics courses. In particular, I had been a lab demonstrator for the Computational Physics Lab for 5 years. Throughout the years I had also been a co-investigator for 13 undergraduate (BSc/MPhys) projects alongside my PhD supervisor. I had also been actively involved in outreach as one of our Department’s postgraduate ambassadors.

Dr Vihanga Munasinghe, Scientist, Unilever: As a scientist at Unilever, I apply my expertise to solve challenges in homecare product development and drive innovation in next-generation ingredients. Originally from Sri Lanka, I did my DPhil in Inorganic Chemistry at Beer group, University of Oxford. There, I developed interlocked molecules for anion recognition. I then joined the University of Cambridge as a postdoc, designing systems for high-fidelity molecular replication. During my time in Oxford, I participated in many career development programmes including the Oxford strategy challenge and young entrepreneurship scheme (YES20) and I covered several leading roles in University Societies, including Vice President/ Oxford University Sri Lanka society, peer supporter and a race and ethnic minority representative / Linacre College and kids’ officer, branch up active / Oxford Hub.
Date: 18 March 2024, 11:30 (Monday, 10th week, Hilary 2024)
Venue: Online
Speaker: Various Speakers
Organising department: Careers Service
Organiser contact email address:
Part of: Careers Beyond Academia: Options and Pathways for Researchers
Booking required?: Required
Booking url:
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Fiona Sinclair