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Geoff Sharpe
Featured Profile: 
At A Glance
Licensed Body: 
Scientist Type: 
North West
First Degree: 
Applied Chemistry1
MD and Senior Consultant
Works For: 
GSQ Consulting Ltd
Pet Hates: 
Poor Documentation Practice
Big Picture
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
A Chemist – at age 10 my first laboratory was my Dad's garden shed!
Who or what inspired you to become a scientist? 
I wasn't aware of any individual that inspired me but I was always keen to try to understand what would happen if....?
What do you love about your job and being a “scientist”? 
Using my experiences to help others develop new medicines
What would you change? 
I stayed with one company for many years and although my job changed significantly over the years perhaps I should have moved around more.
What qualifications did you take at school? 
A-Level chemistry, physics and maths
Why did you choose your first degree subject? 
Applied Chemistry – it had plenty of practical work and included an elective option for biochemistry
Do you have a Masters or PhD? If not, was it difficult to demonstrate Masters-level equivalence in order to achieve CSci? 
I have a PhD in Molecular Biology
How do you describe your job when you meet people at a party? 
“I am a Biopharmaceutical Consultant, working with small Biotech companies and releasing new drugs for first time in man”. (this usually stops any further questions and lets me enjoy the party!!)
What is ‘cutting-edge’ about your work? 
Releasing new drugs for first time in man
What are the biggest implications your work will/could have in the future? 
Being part of potential cures for life threatening diseases
Describe some of the highlights of your average day. 
Approving documents to release a new batch of material, risk assessing an Out of Spec result, auditing a contract manufacturer, mentoring a new QA officer, fine tuning a new master batch record
Describe briefly how your career has progressed to date. 
I spent my first 3years as a technician doing organic syntheses making compounds for screening for biological activity. I then did a Sandwich course degree in Applied Chemistry sponsored by ICI. After graduation I was employed by ICI and soon recruited into their Corporate Bioscience Group using new Recombinant DNA techniques in pharmaceutical R&D. I was seconded to Leicester University Dept of Biochemistry to help set up the ICI/University Joint Laboratory, and while there I was sponsored for my PhD. My return to the industrial environment saw me enter into a more analytical QC role followed by a move out of research to become Team Leader of Biotechnology in the Analytical Development Group at ICI Pharmaceuticals (now Astra Zeneca). I then moved to a small private Biotech company as QC Manager which was eventually floated as Cobra Manufacturing plc. I retired from Cobra as Director of Quality and Regulatory Affairs having helped them obtain their MIA(IMP) licence to manufacture for clinical trials and where I was their Qualified Person. I am currently MD and Senior Consultant of my own company: GSQ Consulting Ltd
How is your job cross-disciplinary? 
Being a consultant QP working with several different companies requires broad knowledge and understanding of many different aspects of science from synthetic, physical and analytical chemistry to microbiology, molecular biology and even to human biology
How well is your job compensated? What is the starting salary for your field, and how much can this be expected to rise? 
Starts are around £20k with progression possible to £60-80k
How do you see your field developing over the next 5-10 years? 
I would love to think that a significant new biotech anti-cancer therapy would be available and that this would stimulate increased research effort generally
What’s the most unexpected thing about your job? 
You never know what the next day is going to bring!
What’s the biggest achievement of your career so far? 
Successfully running my own company and contributing to actively bringing novel therapeutics to the clinic
Would you say you have a good standard of living/ work-life balance? 
Yes, very good now!
What do your friends and family think about your job? 
Those that understand it are impressed by the complexities and responsibility
What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you do to relax? 
I have a passion for cooking – and for eating out – so I am always looking for new ideas to use or develop. I am a churchwarden of a twelfth century grade I listed church and I am chair of three charitable trusts. When the weather is good I also enjoy pottering in the garden
Why did you choose to apply for CSci and what do you value most about being a Chartered Scientist? 
It seemed to recognise that I was no longer just a chemist, the title of “Scientist” is important to me
What is the value of professional bodies? 
The recognition from belonging, plus if you need to find out something there is likely to be someone contactable in the network who will know
How important is CPD? What do you think of the revalidation process in ensuring that CSci is a mark of current competence? 
I have already had to do this after my first 5 years and the exercise was quite revealing in just how much I had covered. It is also very important to my role as a QP for IMPs. The RSC might want to encourage, and sponsor, more meeting organisers to provide certification of CPD to help create the documented evidence of activity to assist in assessment
Advice & Reflection
What words of wisdom would you give someone interested in getting into your field? 
Never be afraid to take a decision, but always be conscious of why you did and be confident that you could defend it
How important is the mentoring process in your field and to you personally? 
It is incredibly important as it allows experiences to be shared, both good and bad, and therby contributes to accelerated learning. I will always be indebted to my first supervisor who took a raw schooleaver and turned him rapidly into a competent synthetic organic chemist
How would you define “professionalism”? 
A multi-skill that combines educated experience with pragmatism, commonsense, ethics and courtesy
What would you like people to remember about your life as a scientist? 
That I was someone who believed passionately in using science to the benefit of all
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