Employee story

Real World Data Scientist at Roche - Meet Richard

#DataScience #GlobalAnalytics 
Published: 2023.05.12.
Hi, my name is…
…Richard. I’ve been working in the Real World Data Science department here in Basel for almost 4 years. During this time, I’ve been able to work in various roles in the department, and in multiple disease areas, so I’ve learnt a lot since joining! Prior to that, I worked for Roche in the UK, where I was a statistical analyst of clinical trial data. My background is in mathematics (Sheffield Hallam University, UK), applied statistics (Birkbeck, University of London, UK) and pharmacoepidemiology (Maastricht UMC+, The Netherlands). Outside of work, my main passions are golf, playing guitar and piano, and I’m currently training for my third marathon. 

My typical day at work is…
…a mix of meetings and research, I guess around 50-50 overall. Generally, we try to keep meetings to a minimum, but meeting your colleagues and stakeholders regularly is the best way to make sure that everyone stays aligned on the objectives. IT systems, access to data, and analytic environments are all set up very nicely to ensure that the time we get to devote to deriving insights from data can be most productive. The role of data and analytics in personalised healthcare is constantly expanding and being redefined, with many new and exciting projects falling to people in our department.

The location I am working at is…
…off-site at Hochstrasse, near the main station of Basel. The building has recently been renovated, like many other main Roche buildings around the city. Soon our team will be moving to the Roche tower (currently Switzerland’s tallest building), which has fantastic views from the top floor bar/restaurant area, and then there are the other great facilities in other buildings, including an on-site gym and swimming pool. My commute to either of these buildings is around 10 minutes by bike, from my apartment to the city centre. We sometimes have to commute between buildings as well, which normally involves a short bike or tram ride over the beautiful Rhine river.

My work helps Roche to…
…understand everything related to epidemiology - from natural history of disease, to predictors of safety/efficacy of treatments in the real world, through supporting our clinical trials with comparable control arms, to generating evidence to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of our treatments. Broadly speaking, the scientists in our group own the real-world data strategy, including the setting and prioritising of research questions in alignment with stakeholder needs. The analysts in our group are expert at dealing with our large and ’messy’ databases which contain the keys to unlocking these questions. There is room for considerable overlap and collaboration between these roles. We work together almost every day.

Roche as an employer is…
…very good to its employees! In my experience Roche offers its employees ample time and space for personal development. Opportunities to learn about roles in other functions are widely advertised internally. These opportunities can come either via mentoring, fixed-term rotations or even formally changing job within the company. I guess the point is that Roche believes people will do their best work when they remain engaged and inquisitive about understanding the ‘big picture’ of which they are part.
In our department, managers make time for their employees, both by having regular informal meetings aas well as so-called ‘Check-Ins’ to discuss their career, contribution, connections and capabilities. Another perk of the job is the general flexibility around working time and occasional working from home options. In my experience, so long as your work gets done, managers and colleagues are flexible and accommodating.

Why would you recommend to early-in-career graduates to consider the StarTrack programme at Roche?
In my experience, Roche is a company that really provides the support its workforce needs to learn and grow professionally. I started with Roche on an internship course 6 years ago and since then I’ve had the chance to work in 3 different roles and even move countries (from the UK to Switzerland). Since working for Roche, I have been supported in terms of pursuing my Master’s degree and PhD alongside work. This is evidence of a company that will support you to keep developing yourself on the job. Generally, the teams I’ve worked in have been very multinational, and you will find there are plenty of networking opportunities for you to meet other early career starters in and outside of work. A specific advantage of the StarTrack program in the personalised healthcare (PHC) department, is that it's tailored perfectly for early career starters, and should equip participants with knowledge and skills required for full employment, upon completion of the program.

What advice would you give a new colleague joining your department?
Apart from using your technical knowledge in your daily job, also think about how you can use your specific experience, knowledge and interests to be creative and help the whole department move into new areas. Help us with our motto of ‘be the change’.

How would you describe working at Roche in three words?
Engaging, meaningful, rewarding.

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