During the Summer of 2021, whilst finishing my master’s degree – I participated in a six-week internship programme hosted by Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) and NIHR BioResource (partnered with Gut Reaction IBD Hub).

The structure of the programme consisted of a collaboration between the two organisations. BioResource provided a hands-on professional working experience. Coupled with this, HDR UK provided an insightful and educational experience into the world of health data science. This was achieved through a range of opportunities with guest speakers and alliance members.

The project I was working on with BioResource involved building a participant portal for NHS patients who voluntarily provide their data for research. This portal allows participants of BioResource and Gut Reaction to see where their samples and data have been used, whilst also providing the ability for individuals to participate in newly available research opportunities.

I was introduced to new skills such as database knowledge and programming. However, being a student who had not yet graduated, the most valuable skills I gained were key work-related interpersonal skills that cannot be attained without working in a professional environment.

Whilst juggling my time during the week, HDR UK would provide many opportunities to meet new people and also the opportunity to network. There were a range of guest speakers who came in to speak about their experiences, whilst also providing career tips based on their own personal journeys. One of my favourite guest speakers was Dr Laura Gilbert (Chief Analyst at 10DS), she provided us a detailed insight on her work during the pandemic, with Sir Patrick Vallance.

HDR UK’s alliance members also came in to talk to us about their involvement within the health data science field, whilst also introducing us to various career opportunities they had to offer. During these sessions, I thoroughly enjoyed taking a deep dive into a multitude of health and science related topics I had not come across before.

Upon finishing my internship experience, I decided to apply for one of the roles HDR UK had advertised – which ultimately ended in a job offer. During my first month here, I have enjoyed being immersed in the HDR UK culture – I have been able to speak and work with a range of different people who are passionate about the work the organisation carries out. This has given me a real sense of teamwork in the goal of uniting, improving and using health data. Overall, it has been a joy working for such a diverse, and friendly workforce and I am looking forward to further advancing my career at HDR UK.