Colleague profiles

Band 5 Regulatory Scientist Campaign 2021

Visit our Committed to Science website to apply now.  Applications close 12th April 2021.

Read the colleague profiles below to find out more about our roles in chemicals regulation:


Ellana Beard – Regulatory Chemist

Q. How long have you worked at Health and Safety Executive?

A. 3 years

Q. What attracted you to HSE?

A. I wanted to move away from working in a laboratory but still have the opportunity to use the scientific and technical skills gained from my degrees in chemistry.

Q. What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A. A typical day is so hard to describe because in the chemistry team we have ample opportunity to be part of multiple projects alongside our evaluation work, meaning my workday is always varied and interesting. The one constant is that every day I work on projects and evaluations with different members of my team, so there is always a feel of community, friendship and teamwork in the office.

Q. Can you give an example of a recent project you have been involved with at work?

A. I am involved in developing the competency framework for specialist regulators in CRD. This project will enable all colleagues to apply the technical knowledge and competency behaviours they have developed at work as tools enabling them to progress in their careers at HSE, which is something I am proud to be a part of.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your role?

A. I enjoy that my work is varied, I ensure pesticide products are regulated to a high standard, I also work training newer members of our team to help them develop their technical skills and also on projects such as the pesticides monitoring program that allows me to work with external stakeholders and requires me to contribute to and review important published reports.

Q. What has been your greatest achievement so far working at HSE?

A. I was given the opportunity to mentor a new member of our team, relatively early on in my HSE career, and I was really proud to be trusted to do this. It is also a great feeling of achievement when they make such good progress in their training and really start to enjoy the work.

Q. Are you involved with any networks within the workplace?

A. I frequently attend the interesting events and webinars organised by the various networks and I really enjoy learning about the various issues via the networks, who always use fun and impactful ways to disseminate the information. For example, the LGBT network celebrated pride month by putting flags up in the communal spaces of our offices and published an internal article on all the different LGBT+ flags.


Deborah Liddell – Regulatory Scientist Efficacy

Q. How long have you worked at Health and Safety Executive?

A.  12 years (Before working at CRD spent a couple of years doing plant disease research, then worked in a plant pathology lab and carried out fungicide trials.)

Q. What attracted you to HSE?

A. I have always been interested in plants and plant pathogens, so a long-term career which involved these aspects really appealed to me.  I liked the idea of being able to support growers and help ensure food stability in the UK.   Regulatory work was more attractive than working on the commercial side as I like the wide variety of evaluation work.  As part of the regulatory authority, you set the required standards and ultimately are part of the decision-making process that ensures pesticides are used appropriately and safely.  Other benefits of a civil service job also appealed- i.e. flexi time and flexible work patterns, good holiday allowance and excellent pension.

Q. What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A. My job is largely desk based, with dossier evaluation a key part of the work that I do.  The applicants compile a summary of all the trials data supporting their product.  (This summary document is called a Biological Assessment Dossier (BAD)).  They then present the BAD to us with their proposed product label.   Our job in Efficacy is to evaluate whether the data sufficiently supports the disease/pest/weed claims and to make sure that the product does not have any unacceptable effects, and also to ensure there is appropriate resistance management.  So, on a typical day at work I would be looking at the data and information in the BAD, making decisions on whether the data supports the claims, and then writing my conclusions in a summary document (called a Registration Report).   Additionally, Efficacy consider all the directions for use on the product label and facilitate responsible Integrated Pest Management and minimising pesticide use wherever possible. Other specialists look at different aspects of the product evaluation (eg, Operator Exposure look at the potential impact on the person applying the product, Environmental Fate model the likely run-off/drift, and Ecotoxicology look at the potential impact of the proposed product on the ecosystem).  This means we work with these specialists (often providing agronomic advice on the proposed uses), and the project manager to jointly form and document our regulatory decision.

Q. Can you give an example of a recent project you have been involved with at work?

A. Recently I have evaluated an application for a product with a completely new active.   I have enjoyed being able to  visit the field trials, learning about how the new active works, what the strengths/weaknesses in activity are, and how the product it is likely to used in practice.   Because it was a new active there was a lot to learn and some important decisions to make that will set a precedent for future products containing the same or similar actives.  (e.g. considering how best to minimise the likelihood of resistance developing).  I gain a lot of personal satisfaction knowing I have been trained and have the experience to take responsibility and ownership on the decisions.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your role?

A. Without doubt the best part of my work is my colleagues, it is an overwhelmingly kind, supportive, and positive environment.   There is a wealth of knowledge in my team which is always happily shared, and I find that even though I have been working at CRD for over 10 years, I am still learning something new pretty much every single day.   The ethos also places great emphasis on training and there are plenty of opportunities to represent CRD and engage with external stakeholders, including growers, to ensure my specialist knowledge is kept up to date with modern and changing practices.

Q. What has been your greatest achievement so far working at HSE?

A. I work with some incredibly knowledgeable, experienced people, I think my greatest achievement so far is feeling like I have earnt their respect and confidence in my ability!


Julianna Berrie Regulatory Scientist Toxicology

Q. How long have you worked at Health and Safety Executive?

A.  6 years

Q. What attracted you to HSE?

A. I was thrilled when I saw the job advert, the opportunity to work in a  scientific role, for a well-known and respected organisation within the Civil Service was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.

Q. What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A. I start the day with emails, getting up to date with news (both internal and technical) and planning my day/week. My day is typically split between concentrating on scientific evaluation, learning and development, and collaborating with colleagues to deliver projects.

Q. Can you give an example of a recent project you have been involved with at work?

A. Recently I’ve been working on the toxicological evaluation of an active substance (a chemical used as the key ingredient in many pesticides). The active was recently evaluated and, during peer-review, areas where additional information is required were identified. I’ve been incorporating the additional information submitted by the applicant into original evaluation. This involves in-dept scientific evaluation of technical reports, discussions with senior toxicologists and writing up key conclusions clearly and concisely.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your role?

A. I enjoy the in-depth critical analysis of scientific information. I love the fact that I am constantly learning, gaining knowledge and experience. I also like the range of projects I can work on, coving both specialist and corporate projects.

Q. What has been your greatest achievement so far working at HSE?

A. Seeing the evaluation of a pesticide active substance (a chemical used as the key ingredient in many pesticides) through from start to finish – from the very first submission of information, through a thorough peer-review process, to writing the finishing touches of my evaluation.

Q. Are you involved with any networks within the workplace?

A. Prior to working from home, I was a member of ‘cake club’ – my cohort of new starters used to meet for a chat over home-made cake every couple of months to keep in touch (now we meet via Zoom!) I’m a member of MAGNET, a diversity network for colleagues from BAME backgrounds.


Jon Evans – Regulatory Scientist Environmental Fate and Behaviour

Q. How long have you worked at Health and Safety Executive?

A. I joined HSEs Environmental Fate & Behaviour (EFB) team 6 years ago, as a Band 5, and through-graded to Band 4 approximately 4.5 years ago.

Q. What attracted you to HSE?

A. I wanted to make a difference in helping to protect the environment. I was therefore drawn to HSE’s role as an independent regulator to critically assess environmental data and to perform environmental exposure assessments.

Q. What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A. A typical day at work in the EFB team might include evaluating scientific studies in order to determine a chemical compound’s behaviour in the environment, such as, how quickly the chemical degrades in soil and what it degrades into. This information may then be input, along with a compound’s specific physical chemical properties, into specialist modelling software to predict the quantities reaching soil or water, for example. In conjunction with other colleagues, this will help determine if the exposure predicted poses an unacceptable risk to the environment or not.

Q. Can you give an example of a recent project you have been involved with at work?

A.  One emerging area is the potential use of drone technology to apply pesticides. I have therefore been involved in helping to determine approaches and guidelines regarding what the impact of this would be on the potential quantities reaching the environment. By using expert knowledge, my input on this project will ensure the potential risks to the environment posed by a drone application can be fully considered in a pragmatic and proportionate way, ensuring environmental protection is adhered to.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your role?

A. One of the things I enjoy most about my role is the variation in projects it entails, meaning no two days are the same. Whether it be evaluating scientific studies, running complex modelling software to predict the quantities of chemicals reaching the different environmental compartments or finding innovative ways of utilising new technologies to conduct environmental exposure assessments, the work is constantly evolving.

Q. What has been your greatest achievement so far working at HSE?

A. HSE has helped develop me into becoming an expert in my field, undertaking the vital work in helping to protect the environment.


Matthew Clare – Regulatory Scientist Assessment Manager

Q. How long have you worked at Health and Safety Executive?

A. Approximately 30 months

Q. What attracted you to HSE?

A.  I had a science degree and was looking for jobs in that field and was unaware positions like mine existed. The interview was the most enjoyable of the ones that I underwent, largely because the people were welcoming and friendly.

Q. What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A. I go through my emails and plan the day ahead, I prioritise the most urgent piece of work and create a filenote, which is a working document for everyone involved with the application to contribute to. I also ensure I am available to answer questions from the specialists working on the applications I manage. I devote time to planning future applications and future projects that will need completing. Similarly, I will take troubleshoot any issues and work out solutions. I am also the lead contact for the Plant Protection Product Application Management System (PPPAMS), which probably takes about 4 hours a week on easy weeks and up to 30 hours a week on more challenging weeks. This is an EU system for reporting emergency applications, amongst others, and so I spend time working with the notifications of the UK and examining the work of other member states. My days are varied depending on what I need to do when, what the needs of the branch are, and (to a lesser extent) what issues are more politically sensitive at the time.

Q. Can you give an example of a recent project you have been involved with at work?

A. Recently, I was involved in a thought experiment regarding a restructure of my team (PDT). Myself and 2 others were tasked to complete a paper looking into restructuring PDT utilising different facets of the work we complete in order to organise PDT into smaller teams. I provided a detailed proposition looking into efficiency gains across CRD that could be made by the type of specialisation that I was proposing.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your role?

A. I enjoy working with my team and that the work is incredibly varied,  no two days are the same, which is a nice bonus. I enjoy being able to shape the regulatory standard and I enjoy the scientific discussions around the work I do.

Q. What has been your greatest achievement so far working at HSE?

A. I worked with our Head of Plant Protection Products to document challenges encountered by the newer staff. This gained some attention from the management team of CRD and was turned into a larger project across all of the York site. I completed this and published my report. I was invited to speak to the Senior Leadership Team of CRD and submit my proposal to improve  IT within CRD.  This meant I was able to gain their support to take this to HSE’s ITF and again presented my case to an ITF panel for approval. I secured their support for an IT lab in York for CRD members. This was well received, and work is ongoing to improve IT for members in York as well as having follow up sessions arranged.

Q. Are you involved with any networks within the workplace?

A. I am the chair of the Information Technologies Network


Katharine Childs – Specialist Assessor (Non-Dietary Exposure)

Q. How long have you worked at Health and Safety Executive?

A. 3 years.

Q. What attracted you to HSE?

A. I have a scientific background in technical roles and I re-trained to become further qualified in health and safety. My role at HSE allows me to draw on all these aspects and skills to deliver towards CRD’s mission in preventing the adverse effects of chemicals on people.

Q. What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A. The core of my role is to evaluate chemical products to ensure they do not adversely impact human health, but no two days are the same! My tasks range from carrying out assessments to consider product safety, communicating assessment decisions to colleagues, mentoring newer team members and assisting external stakeholders to ensure that their products are safe to use. I am also involved in a varied range of projects outside of my core role with other colleagues and teams, which adds to the feeling of community and connectivity within the office.

Q. Can you give an example of a recent project you have been involved with at work?

A. I am involved in updating the Exposure section of the HSE website which stakeholders use to ensure their product complies with safety standards. This project brought together many people from other teams that I wouldn’t have otherwise worked with in my core role. I learned new skills in website content writing, and I am pleased that the result will enable stakeholders to access clear information when needed.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your role?

A. I enjoy the huge variation in my role but also the knowledge that my work makes a difference to protecting the health of workers in the agricultural industry and other populations besides.

Q. What has been your greatest achievement so far working at HSE?

A. I have recently started mentoring new team members and have delivered specialised training sessions as part of the induction process. It’s a feeling of achievement to know you are at a level to pass on your knowledge and to see new colleagues progress in their understanding of the work.

Q. Are you involved with any networks within the workplace?

A. I keep in contact with an early careers network and the Gender Equality Network. Events held by these networks are currently hosted virtually but are frequent and vary widely in topics. Recently the Gender Equality Network celebrated International Women’s Day and provided funding for interested members to attend online masterclasses and workshops.


Tom Fisher – Regulatory Scientist Ecotoxicology

Q. How long have you worked at Health and Safety Executive?

A. Almost 7 years

Q. What attracted you to HSE?

A. The reputation of HSE (CRD) and expertise. HSE has spent many years working to protect people and the environment.

Q. What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A. Normally I achieve a nice mixture of straight forward and more challenging/stimulating work. I am primarily desk based and spend most of my time providing scientific input for regulatory assessment of pesticides as an ecotoxicologist. I also spend time discussing projects with applicants, training colleagues and being a contact within the team for certain types of work/disciplines.

Q. Can you give an example of a recent project you have been involved with at work?

A. Recently I have provided written input into a research paper that is due to be published in the coming months. This paper is the output of a technical meeting discussing ways to reduce, refine and replace certain aspects of regulatory  testing. The meeting attendees were industry, regulators and charities.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your role?

A. I enjoy ecotoxicology, having spent more than 16 years working in this field I find it interesting and rewarding. In terms of HSE, I enjoy the freedom I have over planning my workload and the people.

Q. What has been your greatest achievement so far working at HSE?

A. There has been several but the one that stands out as both fun, challenging and a little bit different is that following our decision to leave the EU, I provided training for regulators from an EU member state. This was challenging as we were working together (rather than using worked examples) and the knowledge levels were variable. In addition the focus was the complex (higher tier) assessments HSE conduct and the training took place in their country.