Environmental fate and regulatory affairs consultant

Agrochemicals / Biocides

What is it that you do?

I work in a consultancy as an environmental fate specialist to assist companies with the registration of their products in the agrochemical and biocidal industry within the EU.

What does your day-to-day job involve?

It is an office based role, and it can vary depending on what compound you are working on and how much involvement the client has. My main role would be to perform the environmental risk assessment of the agrochemical or biocide, which involves working with a number of computer models, while being up to date with the latest regulations set down by the individual Member States and the EU. I can also be involved in monitoring of studies in laboratories which I would do on behalf of the client, and preparing the necessary documents for registration and liaising with regulators on behalf of the client.

How long have you been working in the industry?

I’ve been in this role two years, previously I was in a laboratory based role for four years, within the environmental fate industry.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a BSc in chemistry and an MSc in environmental science.

How did you get into this role?

After four years in the lab, I was ready for a change and for medical reasons, an office based role. I knew I eventually wanted to move to a consultancy role, so when I saw the job advertised, I applied. I was a little hesitant, as generally people in consultancy would have a few more years in lab based role than I had, but the interview went really well and I got the position and it’s worked out well.

What are you most proud of in your career?

The confidence I’ve gained in what I do.

What do you like most about your job?

That I’m still learning new things all the time, and I enjoy what I do.

Anything you particularly dislike?

It took a while to adjust to not being in the lab anymore, and I found it difficult to sit at a desk all day. But other than that, not really, I’ve found the odd project can be frustrating, and you feel like you can be going round in circles at times. But overall, I enjoy what I do. 

What qualities do you believe you need to succeed in this job?

I would say good attention to detail and a willingness to learn. Good communication skills too, don’t be afraid to ask questions, we do work on our own projects and it can be easy to end up spending time trying to fix a problem, when someone else within the team has come across it before and knows the answer. For my specific role, I would also say a good understanding of maths is useful.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into your industry?

Generally, I would say go work in a laboratory first – having that first-hand experience of how the studies are run and the on the job trouble shooting has been a huge help. I would also not be put off by your level of education – while most people will have a degree and some with PhDs, some do come straight from school and do their degree through the company. But I would also say be prepared to be flexible – there will be some after hours and weekend work required.

Finally, what is the strangest thing you have ever had to do in your working life?

I spent three months combusting soot in my final year of university. You would think that surely soot can’t be combusted. You would be wrong.  

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