Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Women in Science

Kylie is a Professor of inorganic chemistry. She came to the UK from Australia to do a post-doc and has been at Oxford for 16 years. Kylie has found that each stage of her career brought new challenges and has enjoyed rising to meet them.

Kylie Vincent

BACKGROUND

at the time of the interview - 2018

No details given.

EXTENDED BIOGRAPHY

at the time of the interview -  2018

Kylie’s first degree was a joint degree of Chemistry and English Literature. As she progressed she found she really loved chemistry and it became clear that she wanted to progress in science. Her doctorate was based at the same university in Australia, but also allowed her to do some research in England.

Kylie spent her first five years at Oxford as a post-doctoral researcher, before being awarded a five year Royal Society Fellowship. The Fellowship allowed her start an independent programme of research. Following that she was awarded funding from Research Councils UK that aligned with a University Lectureship. In 2017 she was appointed as a Professor. 

Kylie reflected that at every stage of her career she initially felt that she had been thrown in at the deep end, before she came to understand what was needed and felt a bit more comfortable, before then progressing to the next stage. 

It’s been pretty exciting to see the interest we’re getting from Industry and that’s quite a new experience I suppose to come from doing very fundamental research to suddenly actually having something that companies are getting excited about.

Kylie said that each move upwards was a reminder of how little she knew, but also a confidence boost that she did know something useful and could take on increasing responsibility.

One of the most important things in progressing during her career was having supervisors and mentors who encouraged Kylie to make the next step. Kylie has not had a female supervisor and has found her male line managers to be supportive. Often her biggest challenge was to remain confident in herself and she found that her colleagues and managers would be helpful with this.

What was also very helpful for Kylie when she first set up her independent research group was having longer term funding that allowed her to develop a new experimental approach. During this time she developed her team and had a number of side projects. One of those side projects has produced a couple of patents and turned into a possible spin-off company.

At first Kylie was a little sceptical about the academic value of the new, applied research topic in industrial biotechnology. However, she has found that she and her research group of around 20 researchers are able to explore both fundamental and applied aspects of the topic with mutual benefits. She has found this very exciting.

When taking the new approach forward Kylie has had to adapt the way she works to accommodate the needs of her industry partners, such as focusing on the most economically viable approach to a problem, rather than by focusing on it as a pure research interest. However, sometimes using the lateral thinking skills she has developed as a pure researcher have helped develop answers to applied problems that her industry colleagues had not uncovered.

For Kylie developing a potential spin-off business has been an exciting proposition. However it has brought extra work and needed her to develop new skills. Kylie recommends going out and talking with potential industry partners, as well as utilising the experience of the University’s Innovation team.