Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself
A: I graduated from my MSc in 2016 and joined the Fast Stream in 2017. Whilst at university, I took advantage of many opportunities including: interning at BP, hosting a weekly radio show for Quest Radio, working as a student ambassador, working as a data assistant at Wolfson Institute and interning at Pfizer.
Prior to this I spent four years at Queen Mary University of London. I studied BSc Biochemistry and undertook my final year project at a biotechnology company, BioMoti, focused on engineering cancer therapeutics. This fuelled my interest in the field of cancer research, which led me to study MSc Cancer & Molecular Pathology and Genomics at Barts Cancer Institute.
Q: What are you like outside of work?
A: I enjoy performing arts and love going to the theatre. I used to sing at university events and am keen to start classes. As a Muslim, my faith is important to me and I enjoy learning more about the religion.
Q: Describe the Fast Stream in one sentence?
A: A valuable experience which sets strong foundations for a life-long career.
Q: What are the three best things about the Fast Stream?
A: You’re provided with opportunities to step out of your comfort zone, you’re challenged and empowered.
Q: What interested you to apply for the Civil Service Fast Stream programme?
A: After my postgraduate MSc, I was looking to pursue a career outside of academia. I wanted to pursue a career where I could lead high-profile projects and apply my science skills in a collaborative environment to benefit the public, therefore Science and Engineering Fast Stream provided me with the opportunity to do just that.
It allowed me to use my science skills away from the lab setting and be involved in making changes that impact the nation.
Q: What attracted you to the programme and the particular stream that you applied for?
A: I had applied for other graduate programmes, but the Fast Stream was the most appealing as it allowed more junior members of staff, early in their career to lead projects and contribute to making a real difference to public services. I knew that I could carve out a great career path and make a real impact by being on the scheme.
The Fast Stream was my first job out of university and it was great to be part of a cohort starting the programme at the same time, which didn’t feel too unfamiliar from university.
Q: Please share your experience with the Fast Stream so far?
A: I spent my first year at UK Research and Innovation, firstly as the Executive Committee Secretariat and secondly as a strategy advisor. This role allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the research funding landscape and science priorities in the UK.
I spent 6 months as a marine evidence programme manager in the Marine and Fisheries directorate at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). I had the amazing opportunity to represent Defra at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
I also led the design and delivery of a high-profile workshop on marine plastic pollution research which explored how government can use this research to inform policy decision-making. Through this, I attended an All-Party Parliamentary Group on marine plastics, where David Attenborough was the keynote speaker.
I’m now on secondment as a policy and public affairs officer at the Campaign for Science and Engineering where I’m aiming to understand how research and development investment can help to facilitate local economic growth.
The secondment has been a great opportunity to step outside of the Civil Service and view government policy from a different lens.
Q: What is your ultimate aim or career ambition after you complete the programme?
A: My academic background is in medical sciences and so I’m interested in a career in health policy. I’m also interested in health emergencies and keen to pursue a career in the Department for International Development.
Q: How does the Fast Stream make you feel?
A: Empowered and ready to take on new challenges and experiences.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering applying to the Fast Stream?
A: The Fast Stream application process may seem daunting, but don’t let this deter you from applying as the assessors are not trying to catch you out!
The process is designed to assess your potential. You may not have all the experience at the moment, but if you can demonstrate your passion in serving the public and potential to become a future leader, that will serve you well.