Meet Rachel Lawless – Grants Officer

Rachel talks about how she got into science and her aspiration to make a difference

Medicines Discovery Catapult

Which team do you work in and what does that team do?

I work in the Grants team – our role is to provide funding help and guidance to our business partners. This includes scoping out grant opportunities, helping with grant writing, and connecting partners who can compliment each other to ensure projects are run to their full potential.

What’s your role within your team?

My role is to support with grant writing and scoping out funding opportunities for external partners and internal projects.

What attracted you to the drug discovery industry and Medicines Discovery Catapult?

I became interested in science because I wanted to make a difference to the sector; the drug discovery industry is at the forefront of this.

Working at MDC – we focus on the things that matter to the community – helping start-ups and SMEs who have put their time, energy and took a financial risk to support drug discovery. Both factors allow me to reach my aspirations of making a difference!

What do you aspire to achieve in this industry?

I’m keen on building strong relationships with SMEs – I want to help them gain the funding they need for their ideas and innovations, to help their sacrifices pay off and to be able to make a real difference to the drug discovery landscape to improve the health of people.

On a personal note, coming from an academic background, I am looking forward to learning the ins and outs of the business world!

Tell us about any work you’ve done that you’re most proud of.

During my PhD I was tasked to replicate a technique from America to form skeletal muscle constructs. Although this took me many attempts, months and tears, I managed to master this and become the only researcher in Europe to be doing this technique. This is by far one of my proudest moments in my career to date.

What’s the most extraordinary or interesting job / project you’ve had in your career?

I come from a background of skeletal muscle ageing and was lucky enough to go to one of our collaborators in Michigan to be involved with sheep surgery. However, this current period of COVID-19, and how at MDC, we are the forefront of it, it is like nothing I have ever seen or will probably ever see again!

If you could swap your job with anyone in the world, who would you swap with?

I always aspired to be a pop star when I was younger but more realistically (my voice is not made for singing!), I would love to work in crime scene investigations, but it must be the exciting stuff they show on CSI: Las Vegas.

Tell us something you like doing outside of work.

Reading, gym and spending time with my friends and family.