From academia to asset management: three scientists explain how their research set them up for a career with Amey

Jesse Garrick, External Affairs Manager
16 March 2017
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In 2016, leading public services provider Amey announced the launch of its strategic consulting and technology team – the largest of its kind in the UK.

Its mission is to advise Amey's clients – including some of the country's largest infrastructure operators and development projects, such as Thames Tideway Tunnel, Heathrow Airport, Network Rail and National Grid – on how best to manage their assets using the power of data, analytics and technology.

The team comprises 100 consultants from a huge range of academic backgrounds including chemistry, computing, theoretical physics, mathematics, statistics, aeronautics and ancient history.

Owen Vaughan, one of Amey's strategic consultants, completed a PhD in theoretical physics and postdoctoral training in analysis and differential geometry. He sees the ability to process complex and often abstract information as the cornerstone of the team's offering.

"Academic research" he says, "taught me how break down complex and abstract problems into individual, concrete components. This is an essential skill here at Amey, where we're in the business of delivering high-quality, long-term projects but also demonstrating incremental progress."

His advice to scientists considering a career in engineering asset management is to follow your instinct. "Follow your scientific passions" he says, "because almost all aspects of science can be relevant to the engineering industry. As you learn, try to think about how you could apply this knowledge to real-world problems."

Nicole Miranda, also a strategic consultant, completed a PhD in chemical engineering. “My doctoral studies" she says, "allowed me to develop data-analysis skills to better understand the way engineering processes work and how they affect the environment. This, combined with critical thinking and research ability, has brought me to Amey."

Her advice to school-age scientists on getting into engineering consultancy? "It is a challenging, yet rewarding world to get into" she says. "Engineering can give you a set of skills that are beyond the technical tools, but which also cover teamwork. Consultancy is a great place where all these skills can come together.

A third member of the team, Asal Diani, is a former neuroscientist with a doctorate in neuroimaging. Her three-year longitudinal study of brain development in autism bridged several scientific disciplines including quantum mechanics, neurobiology and social behaviour.

"My research" she says, "has equipped me with an ability to ask the right questions, come up with ways of answering those questions by formulating hypotheses and testing them, and present data in a way that Amey's clients understand and find useful.

"At school, I had no idea that many years later I would become a strategic consultant, or that I'd be working on engineering and infrastructure projects. However, by sticking to science I developed the fundamental skills and traits that would open up these career pathways.

"The skills picked up in science are very practical and transferrable and being a strategic consultant at Amey has allowed me to bring the best of those skills to the table and to solve a broad range of challenges, while continuing to cultivate them in an exciting and challenging environment."

For a list of current opportunities in Amey's strategic consulting and technology team, please visit

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