- Student type: Domestic
- Degree type: PhD
- Degree(s): Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
Dr Dana Briggs completed her PhD in 2012 with the School of Biomedical Sciences and is now the founder of Dana Briggs Consulting, where she works as a Consultant.
How has your Monash degree helped you succeed in your career? How have you been able to apply your skills in your current position?
I left the bench after completing my PhD, so the real value of my Monash degree was the relationships I made during my studies. A mentor knew of a job opening elsewhere in the University and made an introduction; this led directly to a career in regulatory compliance, a pathway I’d never before considered. It turned out to be a perfect fit for me. A research background is arguably necessary to be effective in my role. I rely on my scientific training and network to ensure that I advocate for research - and researchers - while ensuring the organisation is fulfilling its compliance obligations and effectively managing risk.
What do you most enjoy about your current job?
Working with organisations to improve their research programs enables me to contribute to high-quality, ethical research more broadly than I could achieve at the bench. I love wrangling with legislation and institutional governance to deliver creative solutions to problems that many folks don’t truly understand. And, as a consultant, I appreciate working with diverse clients and stakeholders and having ownership of how I spend my time and energy.
What has been your biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was moving to the United States early in my career and not having a network. After nearly a year of applying for hundreds of jobs, I finally got in-touch with a researcher whose work I knew and offered to volunteer for him, simply as a means of getting out of the house and meeting people. He generously introduced me to several colleagues, who in turn made introductions, and within a few days I was offered my dream job.
What advice would you give current PhD graduates?
I think it’s important to know that you’re on a path, even if you don’t know where the path leads. I struggled for years to figure out what I really wanted to do. I transitioned between disciplines, and in and out of academia, and finally ended up in a role that not only benefited from, but required, that breadth of experience. I learned that when it comes to a career, you don’t have to have it all figured out. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you have the opportunity to do your best work, you find meaning and purpose in that work, and are surrounded and supported by incredible people. If you have those elements, then you can’t help but succeed.