Roche – Lizzi Pitt

PhD Summer Intern, Roche

Type of internship

I worked at Roche as a PhD summer intern. I was part of a working group put together to develop guidance for statisticians on how to analyse trials in which treatment switching takes place. I produced a step by step guide that can be used by a statistician to analyse clinical trials in which treatment switching has occurred. This took the form of an R Markdown document and has been rolled out at Roche as part of a tool-kit. I worked primarily independently, supported by a small team, most of whom were based in Basel.

Lizzi’s reflections on the internship

This project greatly developed my knowledge of both basic and advanced survival analysis techniques as well as my R skills, particularly R Markdown. It was also a great networking opportunity and a chance to experience what it would be like to work for Roche as a company.

Since my PhD project is in collaboration with Roche, it was also a good opportunity for me to discuss my project with several of the Roche statisticians which gave some useful insight. I also presented on my PhD in a seminar to a wider group of statisticians when I visited Basel. Although the treatment switching project did not contribute to my research I had some useful feedback from presentations and some conversations on my PhD topic which have generated ideas. The questions I was asked at the end of one of my presentations also highlighted to me that I need to frame my research slightly differently to better convey the main message.

I have no formal plans for future engagement as a result of the placement but I already have a collaboration in place with Roche for my PhD project. It was also made very clear to me that they would like me to keep them in mind for my future career. It was a very positive experience and I would thoroughly recommend it to anybody interested in working as a statistician in the pharmaceutical industry.

Comments from Lizzi’s supervisor:

Lizzi had an excellent placement at Roche. Working in the Statistics Department of a major pharmaceutical company, she learnt a lot about the context of her PhD project. The project that Lizzi was engaged in involved topics of considerable current interest. There will be a more direct benefit to Lizzi’s PhD research from the new programming skills she has learnt. Also, Lizzi took the opportunity to discuss her PhD research topic with members of the Department and gained some useful ideas that will provide input into her work.

I believe the interaction with Roche worked very well and Lizzi’s internship strengthened the relationship with the Department at Bath. I would certainly recommend activities of this nature for our PhD students.


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