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Women in Science: Charlotte Harrison

General United Kingdom

Charlotte Harrison works as Principal Engineer in FlexEnable. it was during an internship within a research department that she realized she wanted to pursue a career in science.

When did you realise that you wanted to pursue a career in a science and technology field? What were your motivations to make this decision?
I really enjoyed studying maths and sciences at school and so went on to study physics at Durham University, UK. During my undergraduate degree I complete several internships in various fields; it was my internship within a research department at Proctor & Gamble that I enjoyed the most and helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a career in scientific research within a commercial organisation.

Give an overview of your professional path.
After graduating with a Master’s degree in Physics I joined the graduate scheme at Sharp Laboratories of Europe. Once I had completed this scheme I became a research scientist in the Optical Imaging and Display Systems department, conducting research into consumer electronics products in this field. After three years at Sharp I joined Plastic Logic as an engineer mainly concentrating on their organic TFT electrophoretic displays.  In 2015 FlexEnable was created from Plastic Logic’s people and technology in Cambridge, the change meant I got to work on a wider range of technologies including sensors, OLEDs and LCDs. As I gained more experience at FlexEnable I went on to project manage many of FlexEnable’s customer and European project and take leadership in many internal research projects.

Provide a short overview of your job. What are your main responsibilities?
I split my time between technical project management and technical work. The project management involves a lot of managing and monitoring risks, costs, scope and progress as well as a lot of planning. My technical work is focused on display metrology and optics.  

What do you find the most rewarding in your job? What do you find the most challenging in your job?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is successfully solving a technical problem and seeing that contribute to the development of a particular technology. The most challenging aspects are understanding and accepting the business aspects of the development or progress of a particular technology or project.

What is your role within the PHENOmenon project? How do you expect your work in PHENOmenon project to contribute to your career development?
I am the lead for Phenomenon at FlexEnable. I hope this role will help me develop my experience in working on funded projects.

What would you advice to girl students that want to pursue a career in a science and technology field?
I would recommend students to remain broad at undergraduate level and to explore many different areas before committing to a particular field to ensure it’s a good long term career choice for them.