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This year we launched our industrial placement scheme here at COMPASS Pathways: a way in which we can help students prepare themselves for the workplace by developing business skills as well as academic ones. Meet Lawrence and Archie, the first students to take part in our scheme, as they talk about what they hope to achieve over the next year …

Lawrence in Kathmandu, Nepal

What attracted you to COMPASS as a place to do your industrial placement?

COMPASS attracted me because I believe the research going on here has the potential to revolutionise the thinking, treatment and theories surrounding mental health. I wanted to be a part of that wave.

What does your role involve for the next year?

My role is very varied, from researching the interactions of psilocybin with receptors to understanding the range of complex studies that need to be conducted prior to commencement of our anticipated phase III programme.

What are your top pieces of advice for someone looking for their industrial placement?

Start looking early and do not be afraid to apply to small start-ups/companies as they can often be the most exciting to join.

What skills do you hope to gain from your time here?

A better knowledge of the industry, and better communication and presentation skills.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

What attracted you to COMPASS as a place to do your industrial placement?

My desire to join COMPASS was driven by my motivation to gain an understanding of this important area of research while contributing to it. This is an opportunity for me to be part of a team taking an innovative approach to tackle the global crisis of depression. Being a part of COMPASS Pathways allows me to fulfil my goal of working in an environment built on rigorous research as well as compassion.

What will your role involve for the next year?

My project revolves around the development of psychedelic molecules that have mental health therapeutic potential. My research will explore candidate drug molecules, using the established and growing understanding of psilocybin and other psychedelics.

What are your top pieces of advice for someone looking for their industrial placement?

Your industrial placement should reflect not only what you hope to contribute to academic progression, but the values and interests you hope to immerse yourself in. I think it is important to develop your knowledge base in a context that is represented by scientific rigour as well as supported by compassion and inclusivity.

What skills do you hope to gain during your time here?

As well as performing the research itself, there is opportunity to improve my ability to communicate findings to members of the scientific community and develop my collaborative skillset. I am also excited by the prospect of gaining insight into the drug discovery process, which will build my analytical and interpretative skills. I look forward to using my academic knowledge in a more dynamic and flexible setting than university offers.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?

Do not be dismayed when encountering failure, it is a time at which the greatest learning can be found.

Archie interrailing in Slovenia before starting university

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