An Interview with Clayton Graham

Clinical Researcher, FDB

Why did you want to join FDB?


Working for FDB felt like the change/challenge I needed. I had recently moved back to Devon from my previous role. The job presented itself as something very different from my previous roles after graduating, yet the core qualities required seemed to fit my profile. After interviewing for the role, I knew that this was a job I wanted and was over to moon to be offered the position.


What drew you to the role of Clinical Researcher?


Clinical Research felt like a smooth transition to me, I understand the nature of research-based work and have an interest in patient well-being. With previous roles, I haven't had the opportunity to work with large amounts of data, outside of Quality Control and reporting results, so the opportunity to develop/learn more about the field stood out to me.


How has your background in food microbiology helped - are there any similarities or differences?


Lab-based Microbiology and Clinical Research has some obvious differences, I spent 99% of my time within a Laboratory, most of the work comes from physically carrying out a process. The nature of the work also leads to some strict deadlines to complete certain tasks, so like a vast majority of lab work, standard working hours didn't exist, it was more a matter of “the work is done when its done” mindset. This is amplified due to the nature of the work, bacteria and the health of samples deteriorate/alter over time, so leaving work for the following day/week wasn’t an option.

Despite a different working environment, in my experience Microbiology and Clinical Research also have a lot in common. Carrying out a lab-based protocol means following a standard operating procedure; carrying out 100 identical samples should have the same technique 100% of the time, to avoid inconsistencies. This is reflected in how you should always use credible sources for research, so in both lab and desk-based research, the goal is to limit inconsistencies and aim towards accurate, consistent, reliable practice. This is also demonstrated in the form of Quality Control. A lab would physically carry out the process of producing QC samples, be it sterilities, positive/negative spiked controls or specificity samples, whereas carrying out QC on data is a different process, but the principle and outcomes are the same; ensuring that the data/samples/results you report are accurate, reliable and true.


What have you enjoyed most since joining here?


I'm writing this during my first month at FDB. The office environment is great, and every member of the team has been welcoming and helpful. My favorite aspect of the job so far has been the trust given to me as a researcher, I work hard because of the great working environment, the team I have been placed into, the management and the self-motivation reflected in how much there is to learn and develop into and not because I feel forced or pressured to do so.