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Martin Rose
Featured Profile: 
At A Glance
Licensed Body: 
First Degree: 
BSc Chemical Sciences
Principal Scientist, Environmental contaminants
Works For: 
The Food and Environment Research Agency
BSc, MSc, PhD
Pet Hates: 
Un-necessary administration
To fly
Big Picture
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
I always wanted to avoid working in an office
Who or what inspired you to become a scientist? 
Teachers and Science fiction TV such as Star Trek, Dr Who and Blakes 7
What do you love about your job and being a “scientist”? 
Meeting interesting people and learning new and interesting things
What would you change? 
Administrative burden
What qualifications did you take at school? 
‘A’ levels maths, physics, chemistry and biology
Why did you choose your first degree subject? 
Chemical sciences. I was undecided between biology and chemistry and did this because there was an up-front option to spend a year in the USA
Do you have a Masters or PhD? If not, was it difficult to demonstrate Masters-level equivalence in order to achieve CSci? 
MSc and PhD – both done part time with work
How do you describe your job when you meet people at a party? 
It depends who I’m talking to – I can be anything from a chemist to environmental scientist, food scientist or research manager
What is ‘cutting-edge’ about your work? 
Putting together multi-disciplinary projects to tackle real-life problems
What are the biggest implications your work will/could have in the future? 
Improvements in consumer protection relating to food safety
Describe some of the highlights of your average day. 
Every day is varied and that’s what I love
Describe briefly how your career has progressed to date. 
During and after my first degree I spent time working for the University of Massachusetts and US extension services on pesticide efficacy studies and insect pheromone trap trials. I then spent time at Rhodes University in the Republic of South Africa looking at biological control of bracken using exotic insects. Both my MSc and PhD were taken part time with work. In 1985 I started work for the MAFF Food Science Laboratory in Norwich which was later to become part of Defra CSL and to relocate to York transforming into Fera in 2009. My time here was spent first of all looking at migration of chemicals from plastic packaging into food and then to establish the UK’s first laboratory for measuring dioxins in food and other biological/environmental samples. From 1990-1999 I worked on veterinary drug residues with particular interests in method development and the effects of cooking and storage (post-mortem metabolism). In 1999 with the move to York I moved back into the dioxins and wider environmental contaminants area, including emerging contaminants (organo fluorine compounds such as PFOS and brominated organic contaminants such as flame retardants). My role has been to develop work in the wider environment, food and health arena and the application of analytical chemistry to multi-disciplinary research projects looking at aspects such as environmental pathways, remediation, risk assessment methodologies, emergency response (CBRN), bioanalytical methods, ecotoxicology, reproductive toxicology etc.
How is your job cross-disciplinary? 
Various projects working with partners in fields including environmental sciences, toxicology, socio-economics, political science, biochemnistry, statistics, physical chemistry. Industrial and academic partners
How well is your job compensated? What is the starting salary for your field, and how much can this be expected to rise? 
It depends where you start. It is rare but possible to start as a school leaver washing glassware on a salary around £12-£14k, but graduates can expect to start on about £20k
How do you see your field developing over the next 5-10 years? 
More working in partnership both across disciplines and institutes
What’s the most unexpected thing about your job? 
You never know what the day will bring in terms of samples. Pig faeces, Thames mitten crabs, exhumed 6 week old chicken to name a few
What’s the biggest achievement of your career so far? 
The first thing that comes to mind is the current EU project that I’m working on where I have a role to bring together the social and natural scientists!
Would you say you have a good standard of living/ work-life balance? 
Yes – but you are never going to be super-wealthy as a scientist – maybe my expectations are not as high as others!
What do your friends and family think about your job? 
Well when my auntie was alive she always used to ask me when as a chemist I was going to get my own shop. But the response varies from that to some degree of amazement that you can hget paid for the sort of thing I do!
What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you do to relax? 
I enjoy the travelling opportunities I have, I like walking and exploring new places and enjoy skiing when I get the chance
Why did you choose to apply for CSci and what do you value most about being a Chartered Scientist? 
It is recognized more widely in terms of discipline than simply the RSC Chartered chemist
What is the value of professional bodies? 
They have a voice and usually use it well
How important is CPD? What do you think of the revalidation process in ensuring that CSci is a mark of current competence? 
CPD is always important but I am increasingly frustrated at the need to document it rather than to actually do it!
Advice & Reflection
What words of wisdom would you give someone interested in getting into your field? 
Only do it if you are genuinely interested the subject, look carefully at the job that you are applying for and remember there is more to life than money (as long as you have enough to live!)
How important is the mentoring process in your field and to you personally? 
It is always good to have someone to look up to and someone who you can ask for advice
How would you define “professionalism”? 
Respect for what you do – but this has to be earned and not simply obtained by position
What would you do differently if you were starting out in your career now? 
I didn’t do medicine because I didn’t want to be a doctor – I now know that this would have opened up many more career opportunities
What would you like people to remember about your life as a scientist? 
The job was fulfilling and I was content
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