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Hannah standing on a mountain in the Lake District under a blue sky

I’ve found the right place for me

Hannah Boam

Hannah is a Research Communications Officer. She tells us the ins and outs of research communications at the MS Society and why it’s such a rewarding job.

It’s safe to say I was anxious about joining my new team during a COVID-19 lockdown. But within days I knew I’d found the right place for me, and that still rings true nearly a year on.

Empowering people with science

My background is in healthcare. I started out as an Osteopath helping people recover from injuries or cope with long-term conditions affecting their muscles, joints or nerves.

That’s where I learnt about the importance of science communication. Giving someone the knowledge to understand or help their condition gives them the power to make informed decisions about their own health.

Research also brings hope. There's potential for a new treatment, a new understanding, or a new service that will make a difference. Being the one to pass on that message can be unbelievably rewarding.

This, as well as having a family friend with MS, is what led me to join the lovely research team at the MS Society.

Every day is different

Being a research communications officer brings the best of two worlds together. I could be reading a scientific paper about myelin repair, chatting to an inspirational researcher about a potential new treatment, or attending a tour of the Tissue Bank. But I also get to share the amazing work they’re doing with people with MS. I see my job as bridging the gap between those two worlds, bringing the research to life so everyone can enjoy it.

This means communicating in lots of different ways. One day I might be working with the press team on a release for journalists. And the next I might be writing a blog for our website. Or supporting a person with MS interview a researcher for our charity magazine.

Opportunities to learn

The scope of work we do means I’m building my experience in all areas of communication: website development, social media and digital channels, in-print magazines, fundraising materials and even internal communications to staff.

I feel supported to keep learning so I can do the best I can for people affected by MS. As well as learning about the science of MS, I’ve already learnt so much about how to make content accessible. And I've been given the option to complete more training such as how to edit videos.

Teamwork makes the dream work

The reason I love working here, and why it’s so right for me, is that people affected by MS are at the forefront of what we do. We’re all striving for the same thing.

By working with the fundraising team, I play a part in securing funds for groundbreaking research. By writing blogs and working with the digital team, I support recruitment for a trial that could find a new treatment for MS. By working with local groups, more people understand MS research and how to get involved with it.

That’s why I’m proud to be part of such a fantastic team.