About CSci

  • Dr Markas Gilmartin
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Dr Markas Gilmartin
Featured Profile: 
At A Glance
Licensed Body: 
South West
First Degree: 
Zoology and Microbiology
Managing Financial Consultant
Works For: 
AWM - Advanced Wealth Management (AWD Chase de Vere)
To be able to fly
Big Picture
Who or what inspired you to become a scientist? 
I had one amazing biology teacher at secondary school that switched me to science. He was an intriguing, curious character. He had a certain gravitas that you couldn’t pin down. He had passion and enthusiasm which hopefully I’ve got. Having grown up on a council estate, I think he’d be amazed at how far I’ve come
What do you love about your job and being a “scientist”? 
What I love is giving a real-time to solution to complex problems, there and then. We sit down and give people a plan to a problem, whether it’s to do with their lifetime goals, their family or education. You always feel a bit better having a scientific background, which is not too easy to pick up
What would you change? 
The worst thing is the paperwork and the way it has gone ballistic in every field. For example, health and safety regulations. It seems to have gone too far now
Why did you choose your first degree subject? 
I did Zoology and Microbiology as joint honours at Aberystwyth University
Do you have a Masters or PhD? If not, was it difficult to demonstrate Masters-level equivalence in order to achieve CSci? 
I went into the biosensor design department at the University of the West of England (Bristol) for my PhD. I did a post-doctoral fellowship there for 18 months drilling down and fine tuning technology as well as publishing a lot in the public domain
How do you describe your job when you meet people at a party? 
It depends on who I’m talking to. If it’s a scientist, I’ll explain what I do is science applied to the financial world. I take complex finance plans and then a build a plan whether it’s legislation, taxation, or the financial market. I tell other people that I’m a managing partner of a financial advisory company. I set up a boutique consultancy looking at financial planning. We help people with their finances to help them meet objectives in their life and are involved in all sorts of areas, including the environment and science
What is ‘cutting-edge’ about your work? 
The knowledge and the strategic partners that we’ve got access to (science, financial markets, and legal) are all cutting-edge. We know all the top people and we’re called on to leverage all the top expertise.
Describe some of the highlights of your average day. 
I plan out the week in terms of meetings, teleconferences, and web conferences. I keep at the development work, always looking for more target markets (i.e. sustainability, green areas). I publish articles online. A highlight is having complex data sets and being able to manipulate and dissect them (economic, scientific, and legislative data). You chop it up, dissect it, and then reconstruct it to present to people in a simple way. If a company wants to make their company “green” you go away and build them a plan. I like that I offer clients a simple bespoke service
Describe briefly how your career has progressed to date. 
I did my post-doc with the aim to try and commercialise my science knowledge. After I did the academic thing I wanted to move into a more entrepreneurial business framework. People do great science and no one hears about it. I wanted people to hear about what I’m doing. I set up as a self-employed biotechnology consultant on Vancouver Island, Saanichton, in Canada. I learned how capital and intellectual property patents work, how to finance things and deliver a budget. I developed a business acumen sense, which is something that is lacking in academia. I finally made a jump into financial planning, which involved nonstop exams. But once you get to a certain level you can be quite unique
How is your job cross-disciplinary? 
The good thing about science is that you’ve got translatable skills. You can structure portfolios to represent that. I can maximize tax breaks by having insight and throwing lots of information into one pot (high end tax planning, accountancy, legal) and working with the best partners in each field and clever technologies
What’s the most unexpected thing about your job? 
The most unexpected thing is I’ve been asked to sit on various boards in non-executive positions for financial organizations in the US and UK. I’m also involved in a plan to create a biotechnology university that’s revered all across the world – a universal foundation for biotechnology based in the Midlands, with potentially an office in Canada. This has a high level of funding from the U.S. World Health Organization and the Mormon Church. We have forty inventions that we’re looking to bring into commercial practice. I’m helping them to see how they structure the company, what kind of investment returns they can expect, how they manage capital outflow, inflow, and other strategic and intellectual property issues. We’re also looking to develop social contracts and a charitable arm to the foundation.
What’s the biggest achievement of your career so far? 
The biggest achievement has been getting chartered status across the board over a period of 12 years
Would you say you have a good standard of living/ work-life balance? 
Yes, but it depends on what kind of fulcrum you’re looking at. We work really hard but then we’ll have 5-7 weeks off in the summer. Then we can have a really great summer. I’ve got a very good team (5 people) and you can delegate a lot of stuff. At my level you can do a lot of the work but not necessarily be involved at every step of the way
What do your friends and family think about your job? 
They think it’s pretty fab – those who understand it. I think they love it has come full circle. More and more we’re involved in helping people evolve green technologies. My work has come full circle back to the science
What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you do to relax? 
Spending time with my family. My wife is a molecular geneticist and I have two children (ages 6 and 10). I’m massively into ornithology (butterflies, moths).
Why did you choose to apply for CSci and what do you value most about being a Chartered Scientist? 
It’s a great way to show you can be truly successful in science without following the traditional career path. I’m the only CSci, chartered biologist, chartered chemist, and chartered financial planner. I’m also a certified financial planner. The prestige is something good to have. When you move into different areas it’s quite nice to demonstrate you still have a foot in science and that you keep current
What is the value of professional bodies? 
We work at the high end of science – commercializing technologies – it’s not every day science so it’s nice to be involved through professional bodies in the every day stuff as well. I like the broad level of communication and interaction they provide
How important is CPD? What do you think of the revalidation process in ensuring that CSci is a mark of current competence? 
The guidance you get is good. All the newsletters and magazines help. All my CPD is pretty focused on science, particularly biotechnology. Recording CPD is always a bit tricky. It would be nice to be able to do it with the internet or over email.
Advice & Reflection
What words of wisdom would you give someone interested in getting into your field? 
The one thing to do is to make sure they get their learning and exams incrementally as they go along. Don’t let exams bunch up. Have a very disciplined training education programme. There are various diplomas and various papers you need to get to the top
How important is the mentoring process in your field and to you personally? 
I didn’t have mentors. I mentor one guy at the moment and I’m mentoring him all the way through. He’s 30 and already a chartered financial planner and a certified financial planner. He was working in compliance (auditing etc.) so he’s very disciplined and technical but also very personable. I thought his skills could be better used elsewhere, and he’s flourished
How would you define “professionalism”? 
The key things are enthusiasm, passion, dedication, integrity, empathy, and being a bit of a stickler for detail
What would you do differently if you were starting out in your career now? 
It’s been a torturous, convoluted route but I wouldn’t want to change anything
What would you like people to remember about your life as a scientist? 
It’d be nice to be involved in something that’s truly innovative and groundbreaking that could benefit a whole lot of people. I’m involved with developing portable tests to pick up diseases that don’t require a laboratory – non-battery powered devises where non-skilled workers can put a card with a sample in it and pick up a host of various clinical diseases for early intervention
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