Where are they now? James Bowers

Where are they now? James Bowers

A few years ago, the MyScienceWork team met James Bowers who was a PhD candidate studying in France working on metabolism and aging.

In our PhD Student Summer Saga, we asked our ex-PhD Student "what are you doing now?". From molecular biology PhD to a science communications officer, James still uses the skills he developed during graduate school today!

(Find the newsletter this is written for here.)

Who are you, James?

I'm a British-born expat in France, passionate about science with a taste for media. 

Since your PhD graduation and your "Knock Knock Doc" interview (just below), what has changed?

Knock Knock Doc was the halfway point of my PhD. It really inspired me to get involved in science communication projects. Some, like my YouTube attempt, were embarrassingly unsuccessful, but becoming a good science communicator is a lot of trial and error. No one gets good at it overnight. Later though, I presented at a science museum, bagged a TV gig, wrote for websites like MyScienceWork and even won a couple of short film prizes. I plucked up the courage to study (again!) for a degree in Science Media Production and worked as researcher for several science shows. Four years on I'm a science communication officer at Agent Majeur in Paris and keeping up with my media-side.

What's the relationship between your PhD and your current position ?

Right now, I think I'm using my PhD skills more than ever since I closed the door on my lab-life. At Agent Majeur (www.agentmajeur.comour clients are public and private research organizations like EDFYves Rocher, and Ariane Group. We work on a vast range of projects: illustrations, training courses, articles, videos, events and campaigns. They are generally in R&D or innovation so I definitely use my knowledge of the research world on a daily basis. Science-wise it varies from my home-turf of biotech, pharma, and chemistry to subjects like aerospace, engineering, and computer software. Whilst I’m not always working in the same field as my PhD subject, the ability to read and talk “science” is necessary.

Is there a difference between your state of mind during your PhD graduation and now ?

How do I feel now compared to my PhD? In a word: calmer. When you do a PhD you can’t help but get whisked away with it. It's difficult to think about anything else for three years and then it's over! In all honesty, I also struggled with the psychological pressure. Lots of people do, but no one really talks about that. I think I’ll forever feel like a scientist, even if I don’t work in a lab every day. Having a PhD is vital for the work I do now and it’s the perfect mix of pure science and creativity. It sounds corny to say it all started with Knock Knock Doc, but it kind of did!

Feel free to connect with James and discover his Vimeo!

Want to watch the Knock Knock Doc Episode with James Bowers ? It's just below (activate subtitles!). Find here his first interview article



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