A day in the life of a marine scientist

Paul Taylor, principal consultant at Intertek Energy and Water Consultancy Services, tells us about his role

Paul Taylor, principal consultant at Intertek Energy and Water Consultancy Services, tells us about his role

 Paul Taylor, principal consultant at Intertek Energy and Water Consultancy Services

How would you sum up what you do on a typical day?

As an Intertek Energy and Water consultant, I manage a number of environmental consultancy projects. This involves providing technical guidance and support to my Intertek team; checking quality of outputs; ensuring that progress and spend to date are on track; and liaising with clients to ensure that their needs are being met.

What would you say is the best bit about your day?

The best part of my job is the problem solving. Every project is different, and there are always problems and difficulties to be resolved – some of these are expected but many are unforeseen and require lateral thinking.  These are usually technical challenges, but can also include logistical issues, changing project requirements, budget and programme constraints and resource limitations.

And what is the biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge is managing my time. While there is always a temptation is to rush through things to get them done, this can lead to mistakes, so it’s important to decide which tasks are important and which ones are urgent.

What made you decide to become a marine scientist?

I had a fascination with the sea as a child and loved science and maths at school. After my first degree, I decided to do a Masters in Physical Oceanography, which rekindled my interest in marine and coastal science, and I was then fortunate enough to get a job in the industry.

What is it that you love about the industry?

Marine science is a very broad subject, and this means that there is a huge range of projects that I get involved with, with very different requirements. Most of my projects at Intertek, however, are for the waste water industry, and I believe that modern civilisations cannot prosper without adequate sewerage systems.

What makes a good marine scientist?

You have to be numerate with a passion for science and learning new things. I studied physical oceanography, but the projects I work on are very broad and invariably require at least some understanding of other topics such as marine chemistry and biology.

What advice do you have for people about to embark on a career in marine science?

Choose a university course that interests you and study hard, but be open-minded about the jobs you apply for. I had no intention of working in the waste water industry when I began my masters, but having fallen into this industry, I find the work with Intertek Energy and Water very challenging and rewarding.

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