About CSci

  • Dr Colin Cooper
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Dr Colin Cooper
Featured Profile: 
At A Glance
Licensed Body: 
Scientist Type: 
South West
First Degree: 
Works For: 
InnovationXchange UK
Burning Ambition: 
To make a difference to people’s lives
Being able to fly
Big Picture
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
A doctor, scientist or an England International at either rugby or cricket
Who or what inspired you to become a scientist? 
Charles Darwin & Michael Faraday. Understanding the world around me
What do you love about your job and being a “scientist”? 
The variety of challenges I get every week and being exposed to emerging technologies
What would you change? 
The amount of travelling I have to do
What qualifications did you take at school? 
O-levels, followed by A-levels (Chemistry, Biology & Geography)
Why did you choose your first degree subject? 
Geochemistry – it was applied chemistry and combined my love of geology with chemistry
Do you have a Masters or PhD? If not, was it difficult to demonstrate Masters-level equivalence in order to achieve CSci? 
PhD in Chemistry
How do you describe your job when you meet people at a party? 
With difficulty! I work as a confidential go-between for client organisations both within their own and cross sector to help them meet with other parties who can solve their technology needs. This is all part of Open Innovation strategy within companies.
What is ‘cutting-edge’ about your work? 
Exposure to confidential strategic needs and exposure to emerging novel technology or solutions to particular problems
What are the biggest implications your work will/could have in the future? 
Aid climate change and obesity
Describe some of the highlights of your average day. 
Meeting new people and experts, learning and seeing new, emerging science and technology
Describe briefly how your career has progressed to date. 
5 short term postdoc positions followed by plunging into environmental consultancy where I set up and ran a regional office. This was followed by moving to a different consultancy as a technical expert and became involved in Technology Assessment and then moved to my current position at the InnovationXchange network (IXC UK)
How is your job cross-disciplinary? 
I work with all industrial sectors from engineering, nanotechnology to food science to name a few
How well is your job compensated? What is the starting salary for your field, and how much can this be expected to rise? 
The starting salary varied depending on experience and age the range quoted is from £40k - £50k. How much it will rise is not a question I can answer
How do you see your field developing over the next 5-10 years? 
Technology, science and innovation will always progress and move forward and my filed will have to move with it.
What’s the most unexpected thing about your job? 
When the person or technology you see do not meet the preconceived expectation
What’s the biggest achievement of your career so far? 
Achieving my PhD and getting my first papers published when I was just starting out on my career as a scientist
Would you say you have a good standard of living/ work-life balance? 
Reasonable, I get chance to work at home when I can and although my client are between 1.5 and 2.5 hours from where I live at least I get to go home at night and spend it with my wife and young daughter and can also do the “nursery run” with my daughter
What do your friends and family think about your job? 
They are intrigued by it as I cannot talk about a lot of what I do because of confidentiality but they are happy that I enjoy it so much!
What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you do to relax? 
Spending time with my wife and daughter and I am trying to train for my black belt in judo. I also do circuit training and I am an avid cricket and rugby fan
Why did you choose to apply for CSci and what do you value most about being a Chartered Scientist? 
Having the CSci shows that I am not solely a Chemist but a scientist in my mind. I love being a Chemist but often you get pigeonholed by your chosen filed so I think the CSci shows professionally there is more to you.
What is the value of professional bodies? 
I feel all disciplines need to professional body in order to maintain the professional standards of those working in those particular fields. Showing your professional competence through being a chartered member of a professional body for me is very important
How important is CPD? What do you think of the revalidation process in ensuring that CSci is a mark of current competence? 
CPD is very important just because you hold a Master’s or a PhD does not mean you know everything! We have to learn new things throughout our lives in all other aspects of our lives (like being a parent) so our professional lives should be the same and we should be encouraged to keep learning as much as we can
Advice & Reflection
What words of wisdom would you give someone interested in getting into your field? 
Make sure you are happy to relinquish ownership of your ideas and potential Intellectual Property rights to the clients you work for as this commercial neutrality is key to what I do
How important is the mentoring process in your field and to you personally? 
Mentoring is important as the job I do can be lonely at times as we are field based and only meet up with our colleagues once a week so knowing someone is there at the end of a phone or at the end of week to help you with any issues and to encourage you is very important
How would you define “professionalism”? 
A high standard of professional ethics, behaviour and work activities while carrying out one's profession as an employee, self-employed person, career, enterprise, business, company, or artnership/associate/colleague. The professional owes a higher duty to a client, often a privilege of confidentiality, as well as a duty not to abandon the client. Often the professional is required to put the interest of the client ahead of his own interests
What would you do differently if you were starting out in your career now? 
Have a plan of what I wanted to do after finishing my studies!
What would you like people to remember about your life as a scientist? 
My sense of both fun and professionalism
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