Siobhan Creaner, CStat CSci
Director of a Clinical Trials Unit and Associate Professor in Clinical Trials and Medical Statistics

Scientist types: Business, Developer, Investigator, Service provider, Teacher

Why I chose to apply for CSci and what I value most about being a Chartered Scientist

When I finished my four-year undergraduate honours degree in statistics at the University of Glasgow, I was eligible to apply to be a Graduate Statistician through the Royal Statistical Society (RSS). After a number of years working as a research statistician at the University of Glasgow School of Dentistry, I successfully applied to be a Chartered Statistician, which I have held now continuously for over 10 years. When the RSS announced that Chartered Statisticians could also apply to be Chartered Scientists, it seemed an obvious choice, as I firmly believe that statisticians have an ever increasing role to play in the scientific – as well as healthcare – communities.

Chartered status is a great way of ensuring that you continue to develop in the profession you are working in. It also provides a direct route into the broader scientific community, as opposed to only engaging with your own professional society. I also think that it's a way to demonstrate that you have expertise at the same level of others in a different specialist area; with more and more multi-disciplinary work, it is important that colleagues appreciate that you have the required knowledge and experience, which isn’t simply about academic qualifications.

Continuing Professional Development is crucial to me

In the ever evolving fields of clinical trials and medical statistics, CPD is crucial. Most of my CPD is not from formal courses, etc, but from ongoing research of new areas and developments, talking to current and future collaborators, peer-reviewing for funding applications, listening and learning at oversight committees for clinical trials and so on. I’ve also had to learn about managing change and managing people from backgrounds other than statistics as well as business and commercial activities, which are all instrumental in my current roles.

All scientists need to continually update themselves with the constant changes, and by documenting the development you are already doing, it’s an opportunity to reflect on your own current practices and how to improve.

Chartered status has development and career benefits

think that sometimes within academic institutions we forget just how much CPD we actually undertake – and by keeping ongoing records, and writing up the annual summary, it’s a great reminder of all the development we do, and subsequent reflection and learning. I also think that it’s an opportunity to realise how my own work has been influenced as a result of CPD activities.

I was chosen to be audited in the last CPD cycle and the RSS then nominated me for the Science Council’s CPD Award – I achieved commendation within the CSci category!

Chartered status shows you have achieved a recognised professional level, which you can use when thinking about career progression; it also helps with bench-marking across different types of scientific disciplines. As chartered status becomes more recognised, hopefully all employers will recognise its importance in supporting current, and attracting new, staff.