About CSci

Back to the results
Paul Tempany
Featured Profile: 
At A Glance
Licensed Body: 
Industrial Chemist
Works For: 
Independent Consultant
RSC Graduate Training
Take away greed in the world. Lack of compliance is always based on profits and cost. Greed is responsible for so many problems
Big Picture
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
What I really wanted to be was a fighter pilot, but I had to have glasses when I was eleven. Looking back, I asked too many questions to fit with a military career. I always wanted to know why. They don’t take people who are constantly querying everything
What qualifications did you take at school? 
I left school at age 16. I came from a working class family and only had one cousin who went to university who everyone thought was super bright. I didn’t think I was that clever and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had 8 O’levels, all average. My mother kept putting adverts in front of me for local jobs. One looked interesting working for the Gas Board Laboratory, which was publicly owned in Poole. I wrote to them and got an interview. In those days, companies could get money from the government if they ran training schemes. I had a wage and the gas board sent me to the local technical college one day a week and two evenings. This was the equivalent of A’levels, and I got my Higher National Certificate in chemistry after four years
How do you describe your job when you meet people at a party? 
In Spain when I’m at a big family party and you say you’re a scientist, people think you’re very big-headed and they expect you to be working in a lab. Usually I say I’m an industrial chemist or an environmental scientist. Now I would say I’m a visiting lecturer on the best available techniques to use in industry (at Zaragoza University in northern Spain). This has resulted from a directive from the EU to reduce consumptions and emissions (raw materials, water, energy).
What is ‘cutting-edge’ about your work? 
What I like about working with the university is we’re trying to increase the energy efficiency of industry. This has been described as the low-hanging fruit in many EU documents, but it’s getting very little support. I’ve helped start a platform of interested parties and researchers. We’ve already signed up the president of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek who is a chemical engineer and was the prime minister of Poland. This has repercussions in trying to attract more funding and recognition for this area. A lot of research has already been done, but it’s about getting that recognized.
Describe briefly how your career has progressed to date. 
I am a chartered chemist and chartered scientist with 39 years experience in industry and in industrial pollution prevention and control. I have been a director of an IPPC installation, a pollution inspector, and a manager for R&D, policy and legislation development in waste and IPPC for the UK. I completed 6 years in the European IPPC Bureau. I’m now an independent consultant based in Spain
How is your job cross-disciplinary? 
I’ve done a little bit of everything. From leaving school at 16 to become a trainee chemist for a local Gas Board to directly advising Ministers on crises such as BSE and Foot and Mouth disease; from working abroad for 8 years including for the European Commission to starting in industry and now working with university academics
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 is £15-18K/year. Working as a senior policy official you can make £50-60,000 a year and much more if you work for the EU
How do you see your field developing over the next 5-10 years? 
Energy is the big topic at the moment. We’re worried that energy efficiency in industry is not being seen as very important and is low down on the agenda. Energy as an issue as been kicking around now for 20-30 years and because it’s not new people are ignoring it. We’d like to see that change. We think it’s a far higher payback than capital intensive measures such as carbon capture and storage
What’s the most unexpected thing about your job? 
The most unexpected thing about my career is where it has taken me. I’m rather stunned at how my career has turned out. I never expected to be a scientist or a lecturer. I certainly never expected to be giving guidance directly to ministers. I think science in general, and chemistry in particular, are pathways to a wide range of options not always visible
What’s the biggest achievement of your career so far? 
The biggest achievement so far has been getting the car industry to agree to emissions levels for solvents in painting cars that are far lower than the current legal binding level
Would you say you have a good standard of living/ work-life balance? 
I’ve probably been a workaholic. Having retired early I miss the buzz of the rapid policy decision-making processes that I was involved in before. I’m just starting to get use to retirement. If I don’t have something set to do I get bored
Why did you choose to apply for CSci and what do you value most about being a Chartered Scientist? 
I thought it was an excellent opportunity
What is the value of professional bodies? 
They are an excellent opportunity to benchmark people as well as provide a platform for information and knowledge exchange. I think the great value to the outside world is providing accredited people
How important is CPD? What do you think of the revalidation process in ensuring that CSci is a mark of current competence? 
CPD is essential. I’m just waiting to see if my revalidation has been accepted!
Advice & Reflection
What words of wisdom would you give someone interested in getting into your field? 
Don’t be frightened of changing or moving away from your family and friends. That may be what you have to do to get ahead in your field. The good jobs won’t come to you
How important is the mentoring process in your field and to you personally? 
I think mentoring is very important. It’s something I miss from a formal background now. Even at my age I take every opportunity I can to meet with ex-colleagues and do reflective assessment. It’s important to keep yourself up-to-date and exchange ideas. I still have an ex-mentor or boss I keep in touch with who I exchange ideas with
How would you define “professionalism”? 
To bring an accepted level of skill and knowledge to bear on the relevant topics to the best of your ability. That ability should be of a level that is accepted by your peers
What would you do differently if you were starting out in your career now? 
I’ve had periods where I wished I’d gone to university full-time to do a doctorate, but mostly, I wouldn’t change anything. Starting work so early has meant I could retire early. I have friends who didn’t start work till they were 30 who now wish they were in the same position
What would you like people to remember about your life as a scientist? 
This comes back to professionalism. I’d like people to say “he did his best and it was reasonable.” I’d like it said when I’m gone that I’ve moved the world just one step on
Back to the results