Usually these ‘About’ pages take a formal, 3rd person approach; something along the lines of ‘Heidi is a PhD researcher…’ – we all know I’m writing this so I’ll skip over the formalities and give you a more relaxed introduction to what I do.

Hello, I’m Heidi. In the past I’ve blogged for various different websites, and I thought it was about time I made my own little corner of the internet.

I started my PhD in July 2015 after graduating from the University of Aberdeen with a first class MSci in Pharmacology (with industrial placement) degree in June of the same year. As the rather long degree title suggests, I took a year out from academic studies to gain experience in industry. During that year I worked in the recruitment industry, providing staffing solutions to clinical research organisations and biotechnology companies across the UK and mainland Europe. I really enjoyed the process of getting to grips with the challenges of running clinical trials from a staffing and teamwork perspective; one thing that stood out though, was that my efforts to staff trials could be fruitless if the trials that those members of staff were working on were running low on participants. That’s what led me to Health Services Research. I was sure that I was missing something – surely there must be something my staff could do to boost the number of participants in their trials? It turns out that recruitment of participants is something people are struggling with globally. My PhD focuses solely on participant recruitment. I aim to improve the efficiency of the process; whether that’s making it quicker, cheaper, less burdensome (for participant and/or trialist), or improving quality in some way.

While working in recruitment for a year, I missed the regular writing I had become used to throughout the earlier year of my undergraduate degree and so started to seek out opportunities to get back to writing. That was 3 years ago, and I’ve continued to build experience with online copywriting since then. I write regular blog content covering recruitment (staffing), PR and marketing, biotechnology and laboratory-based science, and evidence-based healthcare topics for a variety of companies and clients across the UK and North America.

Working across both academic and commercial spheres is something that I think benefits both my PhD work and the freelance content I produce. I aim to move forward with both, producing high quality research that can shed light on the process of participant recruitment to clinical trials through the lessons I learn whilst producing online content for businesses.

Want to know more? Get in touch with me via the contact form here, or on Twitter @heidirgardner.

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