"Good career management is key to achieving your goals and the professional registration to IST is a fantastic and formalized process, designed to ensure your path is set up in the right way."
Daniela Farina RSci
During my career I have worked in multiple fields, both in and outside of academia.
Since my arrival in UK, I have returned to working in a laboratory as a Research Technician. However, I began to move away from pure research and directed myself toward a laboratory-based managerial role. Initially, I took on extra roles in my Research Technician capacity such as lab-related Health & Safety duties and dealing with equipment maintenance. This culminated in getting a promotion to a Laboratory Manager position that I currently fulfill.
Why I applied to be a Registered Scientist
Good career management is key to achieving your goals and the professional registration to IST is a fantastic and formalized process, designed to ensure your path is set up in the right way. At the same time it allows you take a deep introspective view of your goals, since the application requires you to take a good look at your successes and shortcomings.
I also thought that completing the qualification would boost my chances of getting promoted and I wanted it to serve as living proof of my achievements.
Benefits of Professional Registration
A successful application is a reassurance for the people I work with within this institution, and, maybe even more so, for the ones I don’t work with on a daily basis. Your colleagues will know your weaknesses and strengths from observation, but further collaborators may need extra certification for their peace of mind. A lot of lab work is based on trust in the quality of service and many projects suffer from the lack of that trust.
Experts review the application process, so the qualification gives its holder a guarantee of quality. Since it is uniform across the country, it is also useful if you are planning to change jobs or get your temporary contract prolonged, as the RSci certifies your skills.
As I mentioned before, the introspective view provided by a thorough application process is an essential benefit. The necessity of taking a critical look on the strengths and weaknesses was, in my case, a powerful stimulus to move my career into a slightly different area, as it highlighted that my greatest strengths lay in lab management. The process also provided an essential self-esteem booster and made me more confident to apply for my current role.
Conclusions and recommendations
The process is time consuming, but I would highly recommend it. Since there are similarities between the two, my advice would be to couple it with the University’s Performance Development Review (PDR). The application has to be done thoroughly; otherwise it loses most of its benefits.
My suggestion would be to start it before the review and use the PDR as a feedback to the application form. From my experience, third party suggestions are very useful (and actually recommended by the IST). This will make the whole process easier and also more likely to be successful.